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Did you grow up in poverty? How did it affect you?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by wayloncash, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. wayloncash

    wayloncash Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 7, 2012
    Houston, TX
    While reading another thread, I noticed a reply that summarized that the hustle or side jobs is a natural reaction to poverty, a means of survival.
    Which got me thinking, does growing up poor endow you with a drive to succeed?
    (This is from 1987-2000)
    I grew up in a cabin, no central air, no t.v., no electricity in my room; a room which I shared with my brother and we slept on an old mattress on the floor. This mattress was found on the side of road as many things we owned were, my dad was a hoarder or more specifically a junk repurpose expert. Anyway their were holes in the floor and walls, a stained old bathtub, broke down cars in the yard. My dad always worked, but never made very much, and had back taxes and child support that held us down for 20 yrs.

    So anyway, at that point in my life I didn't feel that impacted by this lifestyle. But later in life I felt a kind of sympathy for myself. This happened when we finally moved to a trailer house in a larger town when I was 15. When I saw all the things all these other kids had, expensive clothes, watches, lunch money, nice hair cuts, ect.. I realizes that we were poor before this. My dad finally got a higher paying job, traveling plant work and my mom graduated college and got a good job. We slowly climbed the social and economic ladder to lower class. Lol
    This experience separates me from most people of my generation, at least in my area. I know others have dealt with the same problems, but it seems like they come out the other end unchanged if not indoctrinated that they cannot escape this poverty. My dad gave me one thing, a work ethic out of this world. I have worked a job since I was 16, without fail or any significant gaps. Now I have promised myself to never let my children live like this and to fulfill my potential to the fullest. I have a good job, work an average of 60 hrs a week, and now I am attending college aswell.

    So how about you, did growing up impoverished have a significant on the man/woman you've become? Did you pull yourself out of this pit, up by your boot straps, to become successful? Please include the era that you grew up, this interests me aswell, how things were in those times.
    Thank you.

  2. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Colorado Springs
    My upbringing was unusual in that I switched back and forth between middle/upper middle class (with dad and his second wife) and, at times, poor living conditions living with my mom. Mom had a lot of problems--alcohol among them--and just never really figured life out. For periods of time, we were pretty poor while living with her (not as poor as it sounds you were). All experiences shape you, I'm not exactly sure I can pinpoint how being relatively poor at times impacted me. We lived in a racially divided small town in Arkansas for a while, and I will say I related to kids of color a lot better than probably a lot of my white peers since I was in the same or similar socio-economic status as them. Maybe that did shape me in a positive way.

  3. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Tele-Holic

    Nov 22, 2009
    Fayetteville, NC
    It absolutely affects me: my family was poor when I was very young, moved on up like George and Weezy, then poor again.

    I hated it. People don't treat you the same when you live in public housing, even when you're ten.

    However, he reason I'm no longer poor, and in fact, comfortably middle class, is because the parents of my friends did welcome me into their lives, and it was the associations with people above my SES that allowed me to move on up myself.

    And when my kids were in high school, my wife and I tried to be as generous as possible with their friends and associates, because that kind of generosity mattered so much in my life.

  4. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 18, 2016
    Camden Point, MO
    I grew up in a household shaped by the Great Depression. Although at the time we would not have been considered poor if gauged by net worth, you would have thought the entire area was destitute by appearances . And the area was destitute until the late sixties.

    But this was on a farm so there was never a shortage of food .

    I think the only carryover in my life is that I tend to decorate my house in a style I call "Early American Poverty".

    And I still feel physical pain when writing a personal check for more than $500.00

    I did get over saving everything just in case I might need it some day. But I still find it hard to be wasteful of anything.

  5. WetBandit

    WetBandit Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 11, 2016
    I was born in 90.

    I was initially raised very similar to you OP, with the only difference seeming to be that your parents were loving and both together.

    My mom and dad were never married and separated just months after I was born. To start out I lived with my mom, in the worst housing project around this area (which has since been demolished)
    And I was unlucky in the fact the she was physically abusive, she used to send me back to my dad/grandparents in those zip up style pajamas to try and hide the bruises she'd left, and she made me go door to door begging for different odds and ends...i was no stranger to hunger.

    Eventually, my Grandparents were awarded full custody of me. We were still very poor, but I had what I needed and I was loved and tought good values.

    Currently I'm the only person in my immediate family to graduate high school. I have been a homeowner for a little over a year, and I have a great wife, 2 dogs and a cat.

    My childhood was one of the main reasons I picked up the guitar, it was kind of the voice I never had, and that's one of the reasons I have never played for anyone.

    My father owned a body shop and was a terrible alcoholic/drug user/dealer until recently.

    I could have turned out very bad, but somehow I chose not to. I wouldn't change a thing today because it's made me who I am.

    I'd like to add, that "the choice is always yours".

  6. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    I grew up middle class but that sounds exactly like my father-in-law. He grew up poor in the third world -- barefoot and dirt floor poor. He became a doctor (now retired) and he's a millionaire, but you'd never know it.

    For example, for their 50th anniversary, the kids paid for a family reunion in Vegas. On the way home, we were all in the airport and had lunch there. My father-in-law had one of those sad, dry, turkey wraps you can find in any airport. He ate half, and instead of throwing the rest away he looked at it and said, "I am going to have the rest of this for lunch tomorrow". So he wrapped it up and sat with it in the departure lounge, took it on the flight to Vancouver, through customs ("Anything to declare?" "Half a turkey wrap"), through the Van airport, waiting for our connecting flight, on the flight, arrive in Kelowna, drive an hour to get home, finally put it in the fridge... All I can say is yikes!
    KyAnne, wayloncash, Stubee and 3 others like this.

  7. WetBandit

    WetBandit Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 11, 2016

    Trust him, he's a doctor lol.

  8. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    Both my wife and I were very poor as kids growing up. After all these years I suppose I'm pretty much over it, but my wife is a food hoarder as I've remarked about on this site before. We have three pantries and she keeps them all full. I don't even want to think about the money we've thrown away on groceries no one got any good out of.

    If you've never experienced real poverty, it's kind of like trying to imagine not being able to see. I have gone more than three days without eating when I was a kid more than once. Once I actually fainted from hunger and was rescued by a fourteen year old angel who lived in the camp that I lived in. Our furniture was sometimes wooden boxes scrounged from the trash. My wife was from a family of nine kids and two adults, so that was a lot of competition for any food that was available.

    We've been okay money wise for many years, and I tried to insure our children didn't experience a lack of anything they NEEDED, not wanted. I tried when possible to provide for their wants. Those people who dropped out in the 60s and 70s to experience what it was like to be poor were damned fools in my opinion, and that's the only one that matters to me.
    Jerry J, KyAnne, Tonetele and 4 others like this.

  9. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    All I can say is, you ain't ever been hungry! :D
    KyAnne, Tonetele and william tele like this.

  10. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    How bout' poor but honest?
    Dad was a 5 striper in the USAF.
    He had Mom and us four kids.
    He fixed TVs and appliances on the side.
    He never made any money till he got out, after his 20 years.
    He went into business for himself with another USAF friend, and did fine.
    I left at 18, but I went to work (part time) at 12.
    Anyways, we were poor, but never felt poor.
    I'm poor still, but I still don't feel it.
    I feel rich and blessed.
    I'm mostly healthy, I play music for a, ahem, living, and I have wonderful friends.
    I'm loaded now!

  11. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    If you've never played for anyone start NOW! It's an exhilarating experience, it's like flying with Merry Poppins! Seriously, it's like the difference between playing a video game against the computer, or a live opponent. There's just nothing like it. Play for your wife, play for your neighbors, finally play in front of an audience even if only at an open jam. You won't regret it, and it will bring another dimension not only to your playing, but to your life as well.

  12. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    I guess the thing is, and you've written about it with your wife's food hoarding, where is the logic?

    My father-in-law combines being generous with being cheap. At a restaurant, no one but him can pick up the bill -- he'll arm wrestle you for it if he has to. Then walking back to the car he'll complain about what everyone ordered, "did you see that? Surf'n'turf? No one needs to have lobster and steak on the same plate!"

  13. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 11, 2006
    Greater Boston
    The first 10 years of my life were in Eastport, Maine. We lived in a cabin and had to use an outhouse. We got our water down
    at the natural springs. I recall my father and uncle filling up large glass jugs and that water was used for cooking, bathing and
    anything else. We didn't own a car, let alone a TV or air conditioning. I recall sitting around a small radio most nights and my dad
    and uncle would pick guitars while my mom played piano. Yes, we were poor, but we were happy.

    Things changed when my dad landed a truck driver job in Boston and we moved. Our first apartment was like a castle to me and
    having a bathroom for the first time was a luxury we weren't used to. The downside was that my dad didn't have time to play guitar
    much with long work hours and my mom got a job too. That led me to start playing guitar. They say everything happens for a reason...

  14. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    I grew up in the '70s in what I have since heard referred to as "want to be middle class" conditions; its more of a mind set than a economic reality. My dad was a dealership GM tech when that job was still known as a mechanic. He was a methodical worker who's take home pay declined sharply after "Flat Rate" became the pay structure for this work. My mom had a violent temper that affected her employment opportunities, she was constantly in and out of secretarial & bookkeeping jobs because she shot her mouth off at ever slight perceived or real. Unfortuantely she passed this on to me, and it's been a real struggle to get it under control. She had a rough upbringing, in a working class household lead by a abusive alcoholic father, and never got over it; it didn't help that she refused to go to councling, Adult Children Of meetings or any thing of that nature. She badly wanted to be Upper Middle Class, and constantly berated me to choose "better people" to hang out with, hassled my father to move into sales, ( a job for which he was totally unsuited) and was just totally unhappy and sucked the joy out of any undertaking, her favorite saying was "What makes you think you can do that?" usually followed by "Thats not for people like US.." obviously she was conflicted , and probably Bi-Polar. (she could be very charming when she wanted something from some one) My dad was a quiet guy who just sorta stood by a took it. He did pass on a ability to salvage, and repair things, my parents were "house poor" they had (at my mothers insistence) bought a house that they could JUST afford, when both were working full time and there was little money for anything else, we never went hungry, but that was often due to help from relatives, & neighbors. So most things my father & I had were cast offs from others, as my mom burned thru any extra money like water, a habit I also have. Still we survived, and actually lived in reasonable comfort, my dad repaired Tv's for us ( I actually had a TV in my room in H.S.) radios, a nice stereo, a window air conditioner (we would all gather around the A/C in the kitchen to jam when I could convince friends that the "crazy woman" was not home) and numerous cars. When the bottom fell out of my career 15 or so years ago, i was able to draw on the skills my dad taught me, and craft a good life with out much money.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017

  15. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    There are certain communities that, to an outsider, might even look a little communistic or socialistic. I grew up in a rural agricultural environment. The majority all had pretty much the same lifestyle...with the exception of some of the doctors, dentists, auto dealer etc.

    The thing is, nobody was allowed to wither. There was help if you needed it. When my father died, the town showed up with corn pickers and trucks to harvest the corn crop...just like in a movie. The local COOP provided the fuel, the wives helped mom cook and feed them.

    When nobody has anything there are no Jones's to compare yourself to. My best friend was the dentist's son and I appreciated so much that they always had me over for supper and to watch their new color TV with UHF...UHF, man! That was like four more channels than the two we could get!

    Anyway, instead of developing envy for anyone you were just grateful that they would share. And everyone did. I don't know if that little town was the reason but I turned out to be somewhat of a Polyanna and it helped me get through a lot.
    KyAnne, hotpot, wayloncash and 7 others like this.

  16. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Come to think of it, it was communistic or socialistic!
    william tele likes this.

  17. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    See now, that's the real problem, you're looking for logic in something that is illogical. Damn man, I thought your knew things! :D

    You did hit on something there though, I like grabbing the bill, and if my wife is out with the girls she does the same thing. Neither of us complain about what the people ordered though. I worked for a guy who was a multimillionaire that lived through the depression and served in New Guinea during world war two, he was a study in contradictions. He would wear his tee shirts backwards after he wore holes in the front of the neck of them to keep from buying new ones. He once got a notebook out of the trash and complained I had only written on one side of the pages! Conversely he was very generous with his employees. He gave me a 500 dollar a month raise within three months of going to work for him, and doubled my salary after a year. He eventually not only paid me very, very well, he taught me things that allowed me to make almost as much money in deals I made as I did working for him.

    Sorry buddy, but logic and poor people don't have anything in common. :cool:
    KyAnne and william tele like this.

  18. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    You're right...but don't tell 1960 that!:)

  19. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    The TV's we had and fixed were casts offs from the early 60's that had no UHF dial (one actually had a hole with a plate over it that said "for UHF tuner " ) Man..UHF was a huge deal, Batman & Green Hornet reruns were on UHF, I use to occasionally go to work with my dad in the summer, hit Main Street in the AM; stare at the Fenders & Ludwigs, in the music shop window, rent a Slot Car for 15 min (25 cents!). at the hobby store & then go to his aunts house for lunch and a afternoon of color and UHF. People often ask me if I'm bummed I don't have cable etc. Cable? I can get 22 channels for free off OTA on a COLOR TV I bough at a yard sale for $10 + my little converter box I got with my "digital changeover" card. Capt. Kirk in color on Sat. night? I'm livin' LARGE
    KyAnne, boredguy6060, drlucky and 3 others like this.

  20. Mechanic

    Mechanic Tele-Afflicted

    My mom and dad grew up poor. Dad we think was illegitimate and handed off to uncles on a ranch in Colorado. Mom was born in rural Utah. Both picked themselves out of that hole by working hard saving their earning, investing in SoCal real estate, and working my sister and I cleaning their apartments. Sis went on into physical therapy, I'd loved turning wrenches from day one, hence my handle. Sis love scholarly pursuits, I loved racing, building cars and go carts. But I read a lot as did mom and dad. They gave me that work ethic within to succeed at what I wanted to do. I didn't want college but to build and fab and repair cars, truck, transit busses, and lastly light rail and heavy rail. Dad taught me basic machine shop practices. Mom taught me to read early on, both taught me research, reading for pleasure and investing in a future.
    KyAnne, drlucky and Toto'sDad like this.

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