My memory may be a little hazy (my siblings will set me straight), but I think Dad retired the first time when he was about 55 and sold his fuel oil business to his cousin. He puttered and figitted and looked out the front window for awhile, then started working again. I know for awhile he drove an oil tanker—had to join the teamsters, which was a big family laugh since he was anti-union. Then he was a security guard for awhile at one of the Rockford hospitals. I recall him telling some stories, but not enough of the details to report them.
Then he started another business, Agri-Bolt, selling equipment parts to farmers for their large equipment. A box of bolts would be installed in the barn for easy access and Dad would periodically stop by and refill it, then bill the owner. Eventually, probably in his 70s, he gave that up too. He would walk 5-10 miles a day and help Mom with her guest home on the family farm, but he’d run out of things to do.
When he was about 80 (or maybe 83) he noticed an ad for a salesman for a bolt company, so he applied. By that time, it was illegal to ask a potential employee his age, so they hired him. They found out his age because it was required on some other type of form to list his birthdate, perhaps insurance. 1913. And then he got employee of the month (or year) for being highest in sales. Years later I was visiting him when a young man stopped by to see him—the owner of that business who still kept in touch after he’d retired from that job.
Sometimes I think he worked just to prove a point that anyone can get a job. . . even an old man.