Profiles of a Regular Man: The Full House

Karl Tiedemann says the economy hasn’t affected him so much as it has his kids, who all work in retail and can’t afford to move out.

This was previously published on Livia Gerson’s Blog on Open SalonPeople in My Neighborhood, which shares stories from residents of Nashua, NH.

When I introduced myself to Karl Tiedemann, I tried to ingratiate myself with his dog, reaching out my hand to let the muscular animal check whether I smelled okay. The dog growled.

I was hoping Karl would let me interview him for my blog, where I talk to people in my neighborhood in Nashua, N.H. about the economy and their lives. I got the sense that he, like the dog, was slightly irritated at being interrupted in his walk, but he was nice enough to talk with me anyway. Karl is a maintenance man at one of the local hospitals, where he’s worked for 23 years. He said the economy hasn’t really affected him—unlike many at the hospital, he’s held onto his job.

But the story is different for others in his family. It occurred to me as we talked that Karl might relish the time spent alone with his dog. He and his wife share their house with their four grown children, two of the kids’ “other halves,” and three grandchildren under age eight.

“They’ve got the wife on their side,” he said. “If it were up to me I’d kick them out.”

Karl himself left home at 17. By the time he had kids, he was making enough to support the family. His wife quit her job to be a full-time mom.

“I told her to stay home,” he said with a smile. “She didn’t fight me on it.”

In a way, Karl said, he thinks his kids should have been able to follow his example. But they and their significant others are working mostly in retail. It turns out I’ve met one member of his household, the mother of a set of one-year-old twins who’s working two retail jobs. The twins’ dad is one of Karl’s sons.

Karl said he’s also got a daughter who just started a job at a big box store making $9 an hour, after leaving a similar position at a grocery store. With jobs like these, he said, there’s no way for them to be self-sufficient unless they can somehow move into management.

For all that he says he’d rather send the kids out on their own, Karl downplayed the inconvenience of having so many people in one house. Yes, he said, there’s only one shower, but it’s not so bad. At least there’s a second bathroom.

“Before I bought this house, we were doing it with one bathroom,” he said. “That sucked.”

Karl said he’s also got a daughter who just started a job at a big box store making $9 an hour, after leaving a similar position at a grocery store. With jobs like these, he said, there’s no way for them to be self-sufficient unless they can somehow move into management.

 

—Photo credit: Karl Tiedemann and his dog, by Livia Gershon

Sponsored Content

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Livia Gershon

Livia Gershon lives in Nashua, New Hampshire. She blogs about ordinary people's real lives at People In My Neighborhood.

Comments

  1. Valter Viglietti says:

    The last paragraph had been already written three paragraphs before. :o

    Don’t editors read the articles anymore? ;)

  2. Jameseq says:

    Yeah Valter I saw that copying error too.

    The return of multiple occupancy, multigenerational households to the West. Except this time without the farmland or farming skills to til, and the houses are tinnny

    I wonder if we are going to future houses built as compounds or villas, or will extra rooms be bolted on to preexisting homes

Speak Your Mind