My Story


My life is one example of Comfortable Middle Class, for white people, born in United States during 1950s and 1960s. Dad, high school educated, worked as a mailman and mom stayed at home to raise us.

This is not a racist comment. It is a sad truth, that 50 years ago, being white made it easier to start and remain in Comfortable Middle Class. Progress has been made in race relations, but far from enough.

During childhood, I craved attention and got it by earning good grades at school. Only later did I appreciate importance of education, hard work and obeying rules as critical to staying in Comfortable Middle Class.

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Earned a degree in government 50 years ago. Year of community college then finished on campus. High paying summer jobs from friends of my dad and winning a car paid for college education. Graduated loan free. Call me lucky.

Raised in Indiana and moved to Washington, DC after graduation to find a Comfortable Middle Class job. There were few jobs, requiring a college education, in town where I grew up.

It took 6 weeks to find a federal job. Again lucky.

My second degree in city planning, a few years later, was possible because my college educated wife had a job and I worked part time as a cab driver. Graduated loan free. Found another job with federal government.

Maybe, I should change my middle name to lucky.

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It is difficult to stay in the Comfortable Middle Class. Family help is often needed. My status as a life long member is because two loving wives supported me during long periods of depression.

Two college degrees used to guarantee a Comfortable Middle Class life. No longer. At age 40, my Master’s degree in City Planning became useless, because too many people had that degree.

How did I recover? Unusual story. I was an excellent typist and knew how to format typed documents. So that’s what I did. It paid well. I made $12 - $16 an hour 30 years ago.

Studied at night and took college level courses in database management - one of many jobs in IT. After a few years, I had a new career with a stable Comfortable Middle Class income.

One way to drop out or fail to join Comfortable Middle Class is addiction. This can be alcohol, drugs and now opiates.

For whatever reason, I have only a few drinks each year. With no interest in drugs. This is not a strength, but simply who I am.

Living in Comfortable Middle Class requires luck,
effort, education and ability to change.

Written By: Dennis Wilmeth
Published: 3/30/17


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