Some might say that from the outside looking in I grew up poor. But I would argue, that growing up, I had nothing to compare my life to, so everything was normal and fine as I was concerned. I had a great life growing up, we had food, clothing, a house and love. I thought of others with less than what we had as poor, but I never made a point of it, to tell them such. I knew that it would be rude. No matter where you look there are people with more and with less. Perhaps we didn’t have the latest and greatest clothes or toys, but we never had any of those things, so we weren’t missing anything. My parents worked hard to provide for us and raise us right. Everything we knew about life we learned from them. We had no real concept of being poor. We thought that we were pretty well off honestly.
Every thanksgiving we had turkey and every Christmas we had seafood. My mother knew how to cook and bake. My father worked very hard at multiple jobs, all to provide for us, their children. My parents collaborated and worked together, so all we knew was that. The majority of kids that we were friends with, basically had the same life. So, no matter where we went, everything was normal. We weren’t barraged at school or on the television about how poor we were. Life was normal and the odds were in our favor, life was ours for the taking.
The only people we knew were our relatives and other families in our small town. We didn’t watch a lot of television, if we did it was cartoons. We weren’t harassed with social media or glimpses into other people’s lives. Plus, we weren’t handed the idea that we were born with less because of my parent’s income. We were happy and we were loved. We were provided for and protected. Our summers were filled with adventure and excitement, every new discovery was a bicycle ride away. Our winters consisted of building snow forts, snow ball fights and making some money by cleaning off walkways and driveways. We were blessed and we were rich as far as we understood it.
Then again, we were kids. We didn’t know or understand the sacrifices or struggles our parents dealt with, trying to provide and support us. Our parents never talked business with us kids, if we asked them, they would tell us that it is very rude to ask such personal information. That was good enough for us. All of this helped to push us out into the world with open minds and open hearts. We were ready to take on challenges to carve our own way in the world and we weren’t hindered by years of reinforced mental block. No one ever told us that we were poor or that we were below the poverty line. Because of that, our perceived lack of monetary stability was never an obstacle for us kids.
I know now that my parents worked harder than I have, to provide for us. But maybe that’s what adults did back then, work hard because they had a family to support. No victims and hardly any persecution, just hard-working folks doing what they can. Proud and strong, families working and remaining together.