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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. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 18, 2016
    Camden Point, MO
    I have done some work in Central America and Mexico. Just a complete different level of poverty . But the worst part was the absolute dividing line between economic classes there.
    Doug 54 likes this.

  2. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 14, 2013
    Both my parents grew up poor. My dad put himself through college and worked his way up in the steel industry. We were middle class who visited the relatives on Sundays. I worked in the mill as a young man but not because I had to but because my dad wanted me to understand. My wife grew up poor in Arkansas. Her dad flamed out early, so she was raised by her mom, who never expected having to feed three kids herself. It wasn't grinding, but it was close to the bone every day. My wife learned that you get only what you work for yourself, that the wolf is always in the neighborhood when it's not at your front door, and that the shoe is always ready to drop. Down side is she doesn't really trust people, which she admits, and she's the more aggressive saver. But we get along great because we combine her gratitude for me and my profound respect for her. Our kids won't face poverty themselves -- which means, they're going to face a different kind of challenge: avoiding the decay of the virtues and work ethic of their predecessors. Familiar stories.

    Great thread.

  3. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 15, 2017
    Harvest, Alabama
    We grew up lower-middle class thru the 1960's, as we were Army kids, traveling around with the military Dad and his long-suffering wife.

    In the mid-1970's, our pop hauled-ass to be with some gal he had been banging on the side, and left our mom and us pretty much broke.

    Our mom was a laboratory technician at a small local hospital, and didn't really make all that much money.
    Us kids all got jobs, and I mean right away.
    We worked at our jobs all thru Jr High and High School, and contributed to mom's ability to pay the utility bills and the mortgage on the crappy little house we lived in.

    We all bought our own clothes, and brought home groceries, and we chipped in to put gas into (and tires onto) the used Ford Maverick we all shared.

    I must say, I spent more time at my fast food job than I did at High School.
    (I was really good, and hard-working, so they made me a 3rd Manager of sorts.)

    In the end, mom had a good enough life, and we all saw to it that her mortgage was paid off, just a bit after we all went off into the world.

    I think that struggling to survive and to make ends meet made all of us kids stronger and more self-reliant than most of the people I have met over the years.

    I appreciate the things I have, because I worked hard to pay for them, and I have earned them.
    And I don't ever forget how bad things can turn, if you let your guard down for even a moment.

    I take food and clothing to the local homeless, on a monthly basis.
    Whenever I meet somebody down on their luck, I will buy them a meal.

    I'm gonna shut up now.


  4. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    My dad always told stories about moving every 6 months or so, he told them in a humorous way, but one Sunday he decided to drive around town and show me all of the places. Some of them were a little dodgy, a few were in pretty rough sections of town. Obviously they were keeping one step ahead of the rent/bill collectors. My Grandfather eventually got a good job but it required moving "down South". So they loaded up the '48 Ford Woody ( a nice car at one time but it was by now 10-11 years old.) They made it and after a few moths Pop had socked a little away, so he decided to treat the family to a trip to NOLA, in conjunction with work assignment. His boss got wind of this and pulled some strings, and got them booked in at the Monteleone. Now Pop dressed like Leo Fender pretty much every day of his life, he didn't own a suit, just a coat & tie, which he hung in the back of the '48 and off they went. About a block from the hotel he has a blowout, the old Ford limps in.. the valet comes out & never missed a beat. "leave that to us sir" The luggage is unloaded, Pop is handed his tie & helped in to his coat. A few days later, they leave; the Woody comes up from the garage, looking like a million bucks, or at least 250 large; it was washed & waxed, the tire repaired, the interior vacuumed out. The Valet hands Pop the keys "you were a little low on oil & water, she's all topped up & ready to go". "What do I owe you?" "nothing sir we do this for all our guests.." He gave them a modest tip, and drove home. Every year for the rest of his life he sent a Christmas card & a box of my grandmothers cookies to "the garage at the Monteleone" I'm sure they had no idea who he was, but I bet very few other guests did such a thing, it made a lasting impression on him,and he always treated service employees well and insisted that I do the same. Some times it truly is the little things..
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017

  5. bobspez

    bobspez Tele-Meister

    I was raised by a divorced Mom in a number of different studio and one bedroom apartments. We never owned a car until I got our first car a few weeks before graduating high school. For many years we slept in single beds on opposite sides of a studio apartment. I did really well in high school because living in a downtown studio with no TV, studying was my main entertainment. When I started college my Mom hocked her jewelry to pay my first semester's tuition. I lived at home and drove to class and with a bunch of part time and summer jobs worked my way through college. In those days a public university only cost about $300 a semester in tuition and another $100 for books. I never really felt poor, just out of money. My Mom had been a war bride and had spent WWII in Germany working in munitions plants with her two sisters. They experienced the fire bombing by the US planes. Living in the worker's baracks she learned how to scrounge for food. She knew how to make crepes for dinner with just an egg yolk, flour and water and fill them with cinnamon and sugar. She knew how to make imitation tea by burning some sugar in a pot for color and then boiling water in it. My Mom always told me I'd be better off dead than not graduating college, and I believed her, so I graduated. When I was about 50 I told my Mom that I had achieved just about everything I ever wanted in life (a job I loved, a wife, three kids, a nice home and a nice car). She told me, "that's because you never wanted much". My Mom probably had PTSD her whole adult life, because of her war experiences. She killed herself at the age of 85, by checking into a hospital with a DNR and refusing to eat.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017

  6. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Tele-Holic

    Nov 22, 2009
    Fayetteville, NC
    Just so we're clear: I had to go through there to get to here, and here's pretty damn good.

    I'm married, a father, grandfather, property owner, educated (sort of), and if you had asked me when I was 13 what job I wanted when I grew up, Special Operations Non-Commissioned Officer would have checked most of the boxes (is it too late for astronaut and cowboy?).

    The equation has more than balanced in my favor.
    KyAnne and boris bubbanov like this.

  7. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Dec 12, 2004
    Like several here, had a parent or parents who grew up very poor.
    My dad became a dentist. Such a sweet generous man. No looking down his nose at anyone. Nothing fancy about him. He taught one x a wk at the dental school too.


  8. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    Astronaut.. yes
    supersoldier71 likes this.

  9. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    Simply put, yes. Deep poverty. How it manifested for me was a huge chip on my shoulder especially to neighbors where I grew up. Being treated like scum because I was raised by a single Mother that spent too much time at bars. I went into business for myself by 23 and was driving Mercedes and 4WD custom lifted Suburbans back into my old neighborhood. I loved rubbing their noses in it!!! and then some... After all, no good would come out of me and I would be in jail or die from an overdose as far as they were all concerned.

    One neighbor that moved in when I was 14 or so fed me, gave me work, and treated with love and kindness. And some tough love. I was blessed with these folks being brought into my life.
    And still am thankful for all they did and where they nudged me.

  10. telleutelleme

    telleutelleme Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 15, 2010
    Yep. Had a profound affect on me. My dad was illiterate and because of it he had a strong inferiority complex. As a result he took everything out on my mother who was smarter and better educated. He took me away from my Mom in San Francisco at age 3 and we rode freight trains to his home in Alabama. His parents were sharecroppers and lived in a log house with no plumbing or electricity. My mother came back there a couple years later when she could afford it and they started a 6 year trek back to California, basically following Route 66 and getting work where he could. His old 27 Pierce Arrow car broke down in Grants New Mexico and we stayed there for a few years. Finally arrived in Petaluma, California and they split. He went somewhere else, we went to my Mom's relatives and she played single parent until I graduated High School and joined the service.

    Being poor is hard on people and relationships. I spent Christmas 1959 in Santa Cruz California with my father. He was "remodeling" an old 1940's motel that had been abandoned. He had stolen power from a nearby pole and was living in one of the rooms. For Christmas dinner he managed to talk a trucker who was carrying frozen food and had stopped to rest into selling him a frozen dinner and frozen pie for $5. Our Christmas dinner was cooked on a hot plate. My older brother came and got me and that was the last time I saw my father.

    Fortunately my parents divorce and the service changed my life. I actually went to High School without moving in the middle of every school year. In the service I ended up being part of an aircrew and got to travel the world; including a year is SEA. I learned respect, authority and part of something cohesive. I got out and used the GI Bill to complete my education, found a good job and began my career. I am 100% a product of my experiences.

  11. Electric Mud

    Electric Mud Tele-Holic

    Jan 26, 2017
    SW PA
    Rich kids lack vision and have no imagination.
    I grew up poor, but I had it better than my parents. And my kids have it better than I did. And I guess that's what IT is all about.
    KyAnne and WetBandit like this.

  12. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 4, 2014
    Arivaca AZ
    Nope Military brat. Not rich but not poor either. Carried on the tradition. My sister and I went Air Force the 2 Boys Army. Father was Navy ; none of us wanted anything to do with the Navy:twisted:
    boris bubbanov and william tele like this.

  13. Frontman

    Frontman Tele-Holic

    Jul 10, 2014
    I spent the first years of my life living on the reservation. My grandmother was an Indian (native-American in PC speak), and my grandfather moved his family to the southwest to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a cowboy.

    Our home was a concrete structure with concrete floors, no carpet or tile. Summers were hot, winters were cold, meals were infrequent. The locals (Navajos) were very suspicious and superstitious, and had little to do with us. My grandmother was an Acoma, from the same region, but the old Acoma town even then was almost uninhabited, with no power or water. Different tribes are as suspicious of each other as different races were in different parts of the country, and being mixed-race, my brother and I did not fit in at all.

    Life in those days was tough. Long drives on bumpy dirt roads in cars which were difficult to start, and continuously got flat tires. The closest store being a very long bike ride away, and selling nothing which we could afford. We rented a 13" black-and-white tv from this store for $13 per month, and when my mother stopped paying for it, the store didn't bother to come and collect it.

    My mother eventually remarried, and we left the reservation.

    Life outside the reservation was less boring, but no less tough. Lots of moving around, living in motels, changing schools. School was tough, my clothes were usually old, and none-too-clean.

    My mother and stepfather eventually found better work, and we lived better. But they could never afford a new car, and were not always punctual in paying their bills.

    I never went back the reservation, but my brother did. He developed a drinking problem at a young age, like many others in the area, and it eventually killed him.

    I no longer live in poverty. I live in a multi-million dollar condominium, and ride around in a chauffeur-driven car on those occasions I that go out. My daughter goes to a private kindergarten which costs $250 per day. On the hotter days we can go to the vacation house in Yamanashi, a beach house is being built in Kamakura, and will be finished next May.

    Though I grew up at the bottom of the social ladder, I never believed that I belonged there. I always thought of myself as a superior person. I had a lot of confidence, even though I had done little to earn it. As I grew up, I did many types of odd jobs, a few years in the Army, a few more years in law enforcement. But I never fit in those places. I always maintained a personal aloofness and a feeling of independence. I did work on my own even when employed full time. I found that if I needed money to buy something I couldn't afford, I could find something to do to make the money. And I never had to resort to doing something illegal.

    I read in the past that if you aspire to be a particular kind of person, you should associate with those kind of people. When I moved away from America, and came to Japan, I did just that. I met my future wife, who came from a very wealthy family, and most of my new friends were "ivy league" types. Being around these people motivated me to succeed in a way which I might not have otherwise. I started my own business in Japan with next to nothing, and it has grown into a respectable concern. There is no limit to what I can do, or how much money I can make, except for time, which is always in short supply.
    Matt G, Toto'sDad, KyAnne and 3 others like this.

  14. 24 track

    24 track Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    I grew up with parents that were the product of the tag end Victorian era that were thrust into the reality of the second world war during their informative years (both my parents served)
    the need to hoard what you had because there WILL come a time when you will need it and availability will be scant. was prevailent in our house hold, add 5 kids to the mix and a job where dad was making less than 300.00 every 2 weeks things were tight always.
    a lot of this attitude rubbed off on me but with a difference , I see multiple uses for items that were not intended for my specific purposes yet i can modify them to make them work for me , I loved to go to our local dump to pick up items and re purpose them into usefull ,functional objects , my guitar rack was 2-2x10 cedar planks 8" long cost me 5.00 and 2 hours to make. the Vesa mount for My Imac was concieved by some scrap piece of aluminum I had I found a way to fly the Imac with out modifying it
    P2021539.JPG P2021540.JPG

    this all a product of my up bringing and not having a pot to P-$$ in.

  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    I tried this and other methods for years with my Mother.
    She grew up poor and through the depression, then went on to become a single mother in the '60s with no career or job skills.

    Regarding the food and general hoarding, refrigerators and freezers in the basement, fridge held shut with bungee cord so it wouldn't pop open from the pressure, and she went to a church supper once a week and arrived early to haul as much as possible from the food pantry.
    I seriously pointed out that there were actual poor hungry people who needed the food that she was never going to eat, and that I would later have to pay money to dispose of at the dump.
    She had a couple of grocery stores saving bad produce "for the chickens", even after she no longer had chickens.
    Hoarding is pretty much a sickness, and I reckon some are more seriously afflicted than others.
    Sounds like my old Ma had it a whole lot worse than TD's wife, and I have it too though not really with food.

    Regarding growing up poor, sorry to say but my old Mother who is no longer with us used to steal the meat and cheese but pay for the starch and vegetables. Used clothes, buckets catching the water in the house when it rained, hell I was an adult when I found out that normal people bought nails by the pound, instead of pulling used ones and straightening them for reuse.
    We literally never bought anything new other than food, socks and underwear.
    I remember cutting a used muffler out of a car in the junkyard, and years later finding out that a new muffler was only $25. Pretty funny in retrospect.

    But reading through this thread I see many harder childhoods.

    I guess I learned a whole lot of stuff, but missed a whole lot of other stuff.
    KyAnne likes this.

  16. wayloncash

    wayloncash Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 7, 2012
    Houston, TX
    I read the replies and applaud those of you that have built yourselves up. Very interesting stories.
    I agree, the decisions you make and the thoughts you have dictate who you are and will become. I think it's awesome you didn't let this adversity trap you in a perpetual loop of depression or worse.
    You got 8k, shoot I hope that's not a standard of living cause my savings aren't very good. I do have a healthy 401k and I am working on Roth IRA. But not much cash money.

    Also, I understand what you mean about social service. Some scenarios, just a little help could mean the difference between a slight downturn and losing everything. Jobs come and go, economy is up and down, inflation continues; a little stability in times of need could save whole families from falling apart.
    WetBandit likes this.

  17. WetBandit

    WetBandit Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 11, 2016
    I have a bit less than 8k, that's enough to take care of us if I were out of work for a few months.

    I also have sick/hurt insurance that will pay my mortgage for 3yrs if something were to happen.

    But as far as my "rathole" I think I have around 600 bucks that I could buy some gear with. Thinking about pickups for my SG.

    And I feel very fortunate for all of that.
    wayloncash likes this.

  18. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    Something that has not come up much, is what I think of as socio economic "profiling"; the line from Paul Simon's My Little Town defines it perfectly. "In my little town I never meant nothing
    I was just my father's son..." and that's all you would ever be in the eyes of those "above you". Teachers, policemen, shop keepers all saw you as "that". Making it worse was the encouragement by your family to "not get above your raisin'" I was the first in my family to go to college, ONE teacher encouraged me, the others..well not so much. My family was also less than thrilled, My mother thought you could "buy" your way in to the Middle Class through hard work & designer clothes; she never understood that there were also social mores to be learned and practiced, little things that when absent label you as "not one of us". It took me a long time to understand the dynamics of college and the white collar workplace, you could work hard, but that wasn't enough, you had to learn to control your temper, make nice to the right people, be pleasant, but not take first thing you were offered. I was raised to the tunes of "stand up for yourself", "don't let people push you around", "be a man", and the ying to that yang.. "any job is a good job". Of course when ever their "betters" challenged them my parents folded up like a cheap pup tent; teachers routinely beat me, and my "slow class" companions.. They guessed we "deserved" it. I can remember being screamed at by "mom" of a M&P radio store for touching a clock radio, while her husband looked for a tube for my amp. "I know what your father does..and you can't afford that", I shared this at dinner my dad said "she's right". As I alluded in a previous post, this didn't sit so well and for years I was put right back into that "blue collar buffoon" pigeon hole, as I told people where to get off, in less than professional language. Some times I think money is the least of the challenges when trying to improve your situation.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
    WetBandit likes this.

  19. 24 track

    24 track Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    I couldnt resist!

  20. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 18, 2016
    Camden Point, MO
    I think you are absolutely correct ! The money side isn't the hardest to overcome. I have a good friend who was an employee for a number of years. He had a child almost a year ago and the mother of this child is an absolutely superb mother. As he is also a superb father. They both spend every available moment with their child encouraging her development and it really shows in how this child is developing.

    The mother is bright and articulate and has a fantastic work ethic. But she can't keep a job. Unfortunately she has a very bad problem with her language, every other word is simply foul when she gets excited or stressed. Not her fault, it is simply how she was raised. She gets a new job and advances rapidly because she is just a super capable person but the first time she gets stressed she just can't seem to keep from launching into a vulgar tirade.

    Realize that I work in construction and am not exactly a prude but what comes out of this young lady's mouth is just horrible. Every time I am around her with her daughter I tell her not to use that kind of language around my adopted niece :). And she says she knows but just can't help it.

    I just wish there was some way I could help.
    telemnemonics likes this.

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