The Gambler By Gerald A. Kasten

By Gerlad A. Kasten

 

I was a young ambitious kid envious of a rich man I knew.

 

So one day I asked him, “Chester, what is the secret of your success?”

 

‘Fear,’ He said wryly.” “The fear of inflation, the fear of  not

 

getting what I wanted. I thought of every angle, every pit fall that could

 

arise, and then knowing what to expect, I went for it.

 

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, It wasn’t…taking chances

 

was entirely against my nature and my up bringing, but if I

 

didn’t `go  for it’, I would have my initial investment…but

 

little else. And that would also be a disaster. Here’s why:;’;

‘My wife andI was raised in the economic depression of the nineteen thirties

 

So at an early age we learned the importance  of  having money for survival.

 

Our credo was: if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. That was all very

 

well..for a time, but then we discovered that we were falling

 

behind the times. For example: Once we opened a ‘Programed

 

Savings Account’, that at the end of the proscribed time of seven

 

years, we would have $7,500. At that time a Cadillac cost $7,500.

 

 

Wow! When we get through saving, we could buy a Cadillac!

 

Not so. After the seven years of sacrificial saving, the $7.500

 

could only buy half a Cadillac.

 

We were disappointed, not because we wanted a Cadillac, but

 

because our blood money depreciated so quickly. However, we still

 

were  $7,500 richer, so we bought a secondhand Henry-J with  the

 

sweep fins. The poor mans’ Cadillac.

 

We were living in a large hard to get rent controlled apartment.

 

We were happy and rich. After all no young married couple

 

that we knew had a car, and five-thousand dollars in  the bank.

 

However, something was bothering me way back in the  depths

 

of my mind. Inspite of my regular salary increases and our frugal

 

money management, we were still slowly falling behind. Itw

 

exacerbated when our child was born. Then the large rent controlled

 

apartment became much smaller. My promotions and larger,

 

but my salary was just barely keeping pace, and somewhere along the line

 

our credo of `only buying what we can afford’ became just a theory

 

not a practice.

 

 

Now we had to think of the baby. The humid sunny summer days and

 

hot humid nights demanded that we have to escape theNew York City

 

summers. About that time I received a promotion that came with

 

an increase in salary, and five weeks vacation, . So with prudent money

 

managment and my increased salary, along with a mortgage, we bought

 

a small  vacation house in the Southamptont beach area onLong  Island’.

 

For a while we were very happy with our station in life, but that feeling

 

became  short lived when  a rumor that a lay-offf was coming very  soon..

 

Then the horrible thought entered my mind,. What if I lost my job!,

 

the whole house of cards would collapse.

 

However, dispite the specter of disaster, we enjoyed the house immensely.

 

Our son enjoyed the cool nights, and the cleandy sandy beaches.

 

It was truly an investment that was worth the frugal management

 

hat was required to keep the good  ship lollypop afloat.  I didn’t figure the

 

expense  of commuting to New York Everyday. The need for two cars      Then

 

once again our `what if’ discussions arose, because It wasn’t long before we

 

realized we needed more oom in the city. the apartment was too small.

 

So more ‘what if’ discussions were required, but this time we had an ace in the

 

hole. It was the painting that I bought at an art auction inEast Hampton

 

One  afternoon we happened to wander into the  auction  from

 

the furnishings of an old mansion that was to be remodeled.

 

I saw the painting. I was  fascinated  by  the figure of a cavalier. His bright

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