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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