FOR Ronald Hoppe and his wife Sally, hard work has always been a way of life. Growing up in Old Town, Chicago's tough ethnic crucible, Ron learned the Protestant virtues from his sea-captain father, an immigrant from Denmark; he learned to cram pennies into jars and projects into leisure time. By driving his Royal Crown Cola truck long hours, sometimes from 7 in the morning to as late as 10 at night, Ron earns $17,700 a year in wages and commissions and has bought his family the $27,000, two-story house that they share with his father and stepmother on the city's...

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