Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Being poor

In my childhood I experienced many wonderful things. Living in a two room Quonset house with one electrical outlet at the base of a light fixture, an outside toilet and heated by a combination wood cooking stove and furnace. The two rooms were separated by a blanket. When we moved to an apartment in town with a real flush toilet I was really impressed. Shopping for shoes and most of our clothes was done at a variety of used clothing stores and there was more than a few trips to the warehouse where the government gave us some surplus food: powdered milk, flour, rice and cheese. On rare occasions there was a can of peaches for an added treat. Travel to just about anywhere in town was by bus. My folks worked hard at low paying jobs, spent money frugally and eventually we got our own home just outside of town. Back to being heated by a kerosene space heater and flushing the toilet with a pail. Hot water for a bath was heated on the stove. We knew we were poor but it was our life and we embraced it. Being poor was nothing to be ashamed of because it gave us motivation to do better. My folks did everything they could to avoid any help from the government unless it was absolutely necessary because they figured the government should take care of those that couldn't take care of them selves. It wasn't easy but we eventually became a bit better than poor. All the while we enjoyed what we could with what we had, where we were at and I don't recall feeling sorry for ourselves, blaming our situation on anyone else or expecting someone else to take care of us. We knew we were poor and knew what we had to do to better ourselves. We weren't saints but just plain, hard working people. Being poor was no picnic but we made it and improved in the ways that we could.

I listen to a lot of people my age that say when they were growing up they didn't have any money but they enjoyed life and really didn't realize they were poor. I knew it. It made me better instead of relying on others.
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