Monday, July 25, 2011

Family History Details from a 60 Year Old Tax Return

My parents' first joint tax return was filed in 1951, for the year 1950, which was the year in which they were married. I ran across a copy of their 1040 form from that first tax return, which provided the address of their first apartment, at 436 Huron Avenue in Sandusky, Ohio.

Here is a picture of 436 Huron Avenue today. Mom said that in that first apartment, they had to share bathroom privileges with another couple who lived in the same building.

Below is is listing of the places where my parents were employed. Mom was a typist at the Periodical Publishers' Service Bureau. Dad listed three different places of employment: National Distillers, Barr Rubber Products, and the Apex Electrical Manufacturing Company.

As often was the case, Mom told me a lot more about her first job, than Dad ever did. At Periodical Publishers, she made life long friends. Her co-workers attended her bridal and baby showers. After many years, Mom went back to work for Periodical Publishers for a time, following the death of my dad.

It is not clear to me how my dad could work three jobs in one year, but he always was a very hard worker! He definitely spent several years at Medusa Cement, and later as a plumber and a pipe fitter, but in 1950 he did not put in any time at either the cement plant or as a plumber. Though Apex has been out of business for many years, the company provided jobs for hundreds of Sandusky area residents in the 1930's and 1940's. Below is a picture of what remains of the Apex building in 2011.

Charitable giving was always a part of my parents' lives. In 1950 they made contributions to St. Paul's English Lutheran Church, Red Cross, Community Chest, Salvation Army, March of Dimes, Disabled American Veterans, T.B. Seals, and the United Fund. They were able to deduct fees for medical expenses, sales and gas tax, and license fees, including their drivers' licenses and marriage license. Dad was also able to deduct his union dues and the cost of his safety shoes.

The final total of taxes paid by my parents to the United States Internal Revenue Service in 1950 totaled $342.46. While I so enjoyed traveling down the roads my parents traveled on in 1950 to view their former apartment, and see the location of a couple of their former places of employment, I still have so many questions that I wish I had asked them! Though they were saving for a down payment on their first house, did they ever go out to eat or to the movies? Who did they have over for company? I know that they often visited Mom's paternal grandparents, and maternal grandmother, since they lived in the same city. What did Dad do exactly at his three jobs? Who were his pals at work? Though many questions remain, it gave me joy to look at that sixty year old tax return, and think about my parents' hopes and dreams for the future from their first year of married life.


PalmsRV said...

Who knew the IRS could be so helpful!


Dorene from Ohio said...

I was really surprised by that myself!

Linda Gartz said...

Wow! I thought mine was the only family compulsive enough to keep its tax returns. Mine go back to 1939--and yes -- all are a trove of family details. My dad also had several jobs around this time -- but in 1949. I learned what my childhood home cost, who loaned us money, where my dad worked, how the house became a rooming house to keep us afloat -- and what every thing cost. I love seeing that you have this treasure as well. If people only knew!

Dorene from Ohio said...

Mom didn't save everything...but I was delighted that she had saved this!

Apple said...

Lost of little treasures in one document. Interesting to see what was deductible 60 years ago. Also interesting to me was that it was typed. My grandmother typed everything but my mother rarely did.

Dorene from Ohio said...

Mom worked as a typist, but I sort of think they may have had it prepared by someone else. Isn't family history the most fun hobby?