Did you grow up poor and if so what kind of things do you remember?
For example: We ate Raman Noodles a lot
In many ways I did not know how poor we were until I went places! As a kid we laughed, played, and danced to our favorite music artists. I suppose we weren't "dirt poor". We always had a house to live in, a car to get to places, food to eat, and clothes to wear.
However it wasn't until I was an adult I that I discovered champagne brunch, going to see plays, designer labels, "real vacations" (not just trips to stay with other family members), living in a house with more than one bathroom, owning more than 2 pairs of shoes, 1 suit....etc
It really didn't dawn on me how much less I had until one day I was staying in a 5 star hotel and noticed a group of little kids running around the pool playing, that's when I realized how different my own childhood was compared to what they are being exposed to at their age. We'd had a "blow up pool" or we took turns spraying each other with a water hose. I may have stayed in a Holiday Inn once as a child due to bad road conditions.
However as is often stated: "ignorance is bliss". I never thought of myself as being poor because everyone I associated with were pretty much living the same way as me. Going away to college and traveling really opens one's eyes!
I grew up very poor. My mother was young when she had me. I lived with her and my grandparents for the first few years of life. My mother married and I was adopted, so we moved around from apartment to apartment.
One of my earliest childhood memories is of living on the 3rd floor of a small apartment in an old house. There was no yard. The children that lived in the other apartments were older and played outside in the driveway. I was not allowed. I watched them playing with Barbies outside from the window in my 3rd floor room.
I had very little as far as things. I had hand-me-down clothing. My mother enrolled me in dance classes, but mismatched blue tights with a black leotard. The children picked on me terribly so I refused to go back.
When my half-sister was born, my mother moved to a trailer. I had friends in the trailer park. We made our own play food using an old pot, water from the hose, and rocks.
I also remember being flea bitten. Underneath the trailer was sand, so we had an infestation of fleas. We had very little shade. My mother didn't want me in the house, so often made me stay outside. I have fair skin. One time I remember being burned so badly, the emergency room had to cut my clothes off. I had large blisters on my shoulders and arms from the sun I was exposed to without protection.
I was eventually removed from the home and adopted a second time. By this time, I was no longer treated as a child. I was expected to be more grown up. So, I would say growing up poor robbed me of a childhood.
But, ultimately, it created the personality I have today. I never forget where I came from, and I am always looking out for those in need. Thankfully, my children have never known what it means to go without. I have a Barbie collection for my daughter today because I never had any of my own.
In the 1950s I remember outhouses and taking baths in an iron tub in the kitchen. I remember getting our first black and white TV when soap operas were 15 minutes long. My mother saved her ironing for when they were on. I didn't really realize we had less than others until middle school when I tried hard not to wear the same outfit again in the same week. As an adult, I realized we weren't really poor after I became a teenager. My parents just couldn't stop worrying that we were, so we lived like we were. The good news is they retired very well off, so I guess they made the right choices.
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