“How Poor were You Growing Up?”

Here are some answers:

1) jeffkeer wrote, “I didn’t know I was poor […]. I didn’t find out until a couple years ago, but for Christmas and other holidays my mom and dad would wrap up tools and jewelry they already had that I was unfamiliar with to give to each other. Made everything feel normal. It’s probably the best thing poor parents can do for their children when they’re very young.”

2) Deathpreys wrote, “I was the only kid in the 7th grade who couldn’t go on the field trip; the fee was $5.”

anitabelle commented, “This one breaks my heart. My daughter is in 7th grade and they do expensive trips, like camping, and this year it’s the state’s capital. These trips cost hundreds. Last year, not only did we send her, but my husband and I chaperoned. Spent over $700 on the whole thing. Some of her friends couldn’t make the trip, and I used it as an opportunity to remind her how lucky she is because some parents don’t have the money to do those types of things for their kids. When I was growing up, not only did my school not have field trips, I never got to do those things with my parents because they never had the money. Simple things like going to amusement parks, going to the zoo, eating at restaurants, and going on vacations were non-existent throughout my childhood.”

GramatikClanen commented, “This makes me proud of my country. All school trips are required to be cost-free in pre- and middle school, and the cafeteria makes sandwiches for those who can’t bring their own snacks. Sweden btw [by the way].”

enjoytheshow commented, “My wife paid for three kids to go on a field trip last year when the parents said they couldn’t afford it. The field trip was for three grade levels and my wife was the coordinator/money collector. It was $25/kid (trip included lunch) and this family had three kids, one in each grade. The mom emailed her saying it was a bad year for them and $75 is just not there right now and she asked if she could just call the kids in sick that day so they aren’t embarrassed. My wife told her, don’t worry, the school would cover it. Turns out the school doesn’t cover it (blew my mind, this is a suburban school district with three gorgeous elementary schools, a gorgeous high school and about a $15 million sports complex). She couldn’t bring herself to call the mom and say lol jk [laughing out loud, just kidding] about the school-paying thing, so she just took out the $75 and did it for them.”

3) DuctTapeChainsaw wrote this:

“My mom and dad were high school dropouts, and my mom had me when she was 17. I grew up in a three-room shack with no electricity and a wood stove. It barely had running water for the one toilet and one sink. To run a light at night, my dad would pull the battery out of the beat-up piece-of-sh[*]t Ford Fairlane at night and hook wires to a light bulb.

“My birthday money from family members was my new pair of shoes every year and clothes were hand-me-downs from anyone my mom could make friends with. Rice and beans every d[*]mn night of the week. Even reduced lunch was too expensive, so my mom made PB&J [peanut butter and jelly sandwiches] and I ate cracked f[**]king wheat every morning for breakfast. That sh[*]t disgusts me now.

“On my birthday one year, my dad and I walked to the Starvin’ Marvin gas station on Ogelthorpe Ave in Athens, GA and he bought me a 50 cent Coke. On the way back home I tripped and it fell out of my hand, hit a rock, and exploded. My dad really couldn’t afford another 50 cents, but he walked all the way back and bought me another one.

“Then everything changed. My dad was working in a machine shop for a bunch of engineers; he made the items that they designed. Well, he started finding ways to make their designs better so they let him go to the design meetings, then they showed him how to use CAD and he was drawing up blueprints.

“Then all of the engineers got laid off. One of those engineers got a new job at a place called Ciba Vision, and he told the managers there about this really exceptional ‘engineer’ he knew. So my dad, with no high school diploma, was hired as an engineer based on word of mouth of other engineers.

“Our lives changed overnight. We had new clothes, a new car, bought a house, and for my next birthday I got a freaking Nintendo with one game. Holy sh[*]t, that was like heaven opening up and raining miracles on me.

“Now he’s the Vice President of R&D for a small company in Atlanta, and he has put every single one of his five sons through 4-6 years of college.”

4) BrianaAsad wrote this:

“As a very young child, my mom was a single mother raising two girls on what the government offered poor parents in the ’90s and some help from family. We didn’t live on our own until I was nearly 6, and we often had ‘pizza,’ which consisted of slices of bread, ketchup stolen from fast food places, and American cheese. I LOVED it and our meager existence. Literally, I have no bad memories of that time at all and remember it as just this adventure part of my life when Mom and me and my sis spent a lot of time together doing weird stuff.

“Then Mom finished her nursing degree, met the man who raised us from age 5 1/2 on, and started earning enough to make a living. We were never upper middle class, and we were often lower middle class, but we always had food to eat and clothes to wear after that.

“My mom worked her [*]ss off for me and my sis, and my dad came with two more kids of his own. I’ve never met two harder-working people, and their efforts really helped me grow into a person who appreciates hard work and self-made success. Our house is older than dirt and falling apart at the seams in some places, but we love it and all the memories made there are good.”

5) Shapedlikeapotator wrote this:

“I honestly didn’t realize that we were poor until I was in my teens. My sister and I always got new clothes before the new school year, always had pretty good Christmas, and never went hungry.

“We lived in a pretty rural area surrounded by woods. We always had a big garden and grew everything from greens to hot peppers. I spent many a summer having pea-picking competitions with my dad and helping him make his own hot sauce. Spent a lot of time on the bayou fishing, and during hunting season every free minute was spent in the woods hunting.

“It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I realized what my parents had to go through to provide. I learned that we had a garden to have vegetables. I always thought that hunting and fishing was just a hobby for my dad and me, but it was what provided meat for us. If we didn’t bring anything home, we didn’t eat [meat]. They always managed to trick me into thinking everything was a game.

“I remember my dad buying me my actual rod and reel. He would tie old nuts and bolts on the string and challenge me to casting competitions, who could get closest to that tree or whatever. I didn’t know that he was trying to increase my accuracy to avoid having to replace baits.

“I remember when my grandfather gave me his old Marlin .22 when I was about 10. I would spend my $5 a week allowance on bullets and just target shoot every day. My dad and grandfather would always set up new challenges and what not. I became a real good shot by the next hunting season and I was then a squirrel- and rabbit-hunting machine.

“Sorry, just realized I typed out my life story, haha.

“Tl;dr My parents tricked me into enjoying helping out the family.”

Source: mfairview, “How Poor were You Growing Up?” Reddit. 9 February 2017 <http://tinyurl.com/gnxpdes>.

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