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Van Horn Advocate


Monday, Sept. 8, 1997

The Way I See It

By Rick Smith

Extended families work
together to make living

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In the early years of this country what we now call extended families
were common. An extended family is one in which several generations live
together under the same roof. In early America it was commonplace for
grandparents, their children and their children's children to all live

When the U.S. was young, and until the industrial revolution, extended
families were needed to run the family farm or family business. It took
everyone working together to make a living.

With the dawn of the industrial revolution the extended family broke up
for the most part as younger members left the farm and went to the big
city to take factory jobs that paid well enough to support a small
family of just the mother, father and a couple of children.

For many years the American dream of the good life was very attainable
for even middle class workers. A man could get a good job and support
his wife and children very well.

However, things have changed in recent years. Now it often takes both
husband and wife working to support their family. For some people even
that is not enough and some statistics indicate that extended families
may be becoming more common again.

Last year some four million children lived with their grandparents. That
number was nearly double the amount of children living with their
grandparents in 1980 (2.3 million). About 2/3 of the children living in
their grandparents' home in 1996 lived there with at least one of their

That's only about six percent of America's children living in such
extended families, but the number seems to be growing. Of the 2.4
million families headed by grandparents with their grandchildren living
with them, nearly half were families with both grandparents present and
almost all of the rest were headed by grandmothers with no grandfather

About a third of the children living with their grandparents live there
without either of their parents, one third live in their grandparents
home with their mother and about one third with both parents.

Almost half of the grandparents heading up such extended families last
year were 50 to 64 years old, about 20 percent were 65 and older and 30
percent were younger than 50.

For most of middle-class America the days of a one-parent bread-winner
are gone. Children are taking longer to leave the nest, and some who
leave return after finding it tough to make a living.

More and more single mothers are turning to their parents for help. Even
some two parent families must look to their parents for help.

America may be returning to extended families for the same reason our
ancestors lived in them. For some, it takes the whole family working
together to make a living.

Editor's Note: Rick Smith is the Pecos Enterprise City Editor & Staff Writer whose column appears each Monday.

Your Views

Article about deputy reeks of tabloid journalism

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To the Editor:

I am writing concerning last weeks article published in the Enterprise
on the death of deputy Floyd Estrada. What's the point?

Is the Enterprise so rift of newsworthy issues that it must run front
page character assassinations on a man who served the citizens of Reeves
County for twenty years? It reeks of tabloid journalism. Did this
article serve any useful purpose, contain vital information or human
interest, ease the grief of his family and friends? No.

Journalist, as all other professionals, should take responsibility for
their work or lack thereof. It's not hard to understand why the writer
of this piece chose not to take credit or responsibility by including
his or her name.


Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing.

Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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