My First House on McGee Avenue, Berkeley, California

11. Korean Vet Buys House - 1952

After I was honorably discharged from the army I took a test to enter the University of California at Berkeley's College of Engineering. After I was successful I moved to Berkeley to go to the University. The Army would pay $140 a month under the GI bill but that wasn't enough. I decided to buy a house to live in and also to rent out bedrooms to get more money. I found a small two-bedroom house for sale. It cost $6,000 to buy and the monthly payments were $60 and the yearly property tax was $60. A professional baseball player owned it. The people who were living in it had lived in it for 22 years paying rent all those years. It was a good lesson for me.

After I bought it I didn't have any furniture and little money. I went to the Berkeley dump and found a discarded table and a chair. I went back and found an overstuffed chair. The dump people caught me and they charged me $3 for the chair. My next trip was to Goodwill to buy some used beds. They cost $4 for two beds. I had no stove to cook on. But when I looked in the garage there was an old stove quite rusted. It was both for gas and wood and had a connection for water so it could make hot water. I spent $2 for some rust paint to cover the rusted part and was in business. A few more trips to the dump completed my furniture purchases. Bernice and I sold that house for $12,000 some four years later to move to Hayward.

Our House on McGee Avenue