In my new novel, What’s Left, her maternal grandparents are both dead before her birth – they’re victims of a late-night collision on a rural highway. But they cast a big influence over her life, all the same.
Stavros and Bella are second-generation Americans, bridging hard work and success to establish the family restaurant, Carmichael’s, as the campus landmark it becomes.
In my new novel, What’s Left, the family’s nest egg was built by living on one income – in a single household – while everyone worked at the restaurant. The surplus went into savings and investments. Once the kids come along, their earnings also go in the pooled income, to be drawn out for college or marriage. Over time, as the family grows, the house has parents, grandparents, kids, aunts, uncles, and cousins. What a circus!
As for pocket money? Take it from the till? Some places, yes. And some places, no.
They’re about to start over, in a way, when Cassia’s father-to-be shows up.
In my new novel, What’s Left, her great-grandparents parlay a hot dog shop into the purchase of a burger-and-fries joint at the edge of campus. Carmichael’s is a local landmark, even before her family takes over. And then they start buying up neighboring properties.
Her parents’ generation boldly sets out to enlarge on that base. They even buy out a dusty textbook store next door without quite knowing how it will fit into their business model.
Large or small, family-owned businesses stand apart from other company models. Upward mobility into management may be limited for non-family, for one thing, and succession from one generation to the next can impose special hurdles – few family-owned enterprises survive into the fourth or fifth generations. And then inheritance tax issues can hit heavily, if key players fail to prepare properly. And that’s before we get into sibling rivalries and family spats.
On the other hand, they can be more flexible in aiming at long-range results or adapting to change.
In my new novel, What’s Left, these all play into the story. Her family isn’t like other employers, for sure. And it’s primed for exciting big growth.
Mrs. Richardson had been yelling at the kid the fifth-grade girl who came around to our door begging money to pay the babysitter Mrs. Richardson yelled at the grandchild for three days, and spanked her then they were crying, in different parts of the building all the while, their phonograph repeated “the angels sing, glory […]