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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.

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  1. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Meister

    368
    Jun 7, 2011
    clinton, ia
    My 95 year old grandma keeps a closet full of toilet paper. During the Great Depression that stuff was really hard to get and she still has a fear of running out of it so she's always kept a stockpile even to this day. I've seen this type of behavior in people in my line of work. One who grew up living under a bridge not knowing where their next meal would come from. Now this person is an adult, has a home and a job and is also morbidly obese. They gorge uncontrollably. Another who cannot throw away any food even if it's rotten. If we take their spoiled food and throw it in the dumpster out back, they'll dig it back out after we leave. Even though they have plenty of fresh food in their fridge. It's just a permanent fear ingrained into them.
     

  2. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    I grew up in a poor neighbourhood in a wooden house like JJ Cale's or Elvis'. No air conditioning, no TV till my teens and we used to get our milk on credit. Dad worked hard as a linesman but drank a lot of what should have been for food. Shared a bedroom, so did my sisters and Mum and dad had their room.

    We would be told off if we did not turn a light off, limited time in the shower and ate everything mum cooked. You get the picture.

    We all four of us kids ended up financial successes and we were driven. Education was a must- mum again. We've all seen the world and all were able to retire before 60.
    Emotionally I am not a success. I spent too much of my younger years relentlessly chasing a career and dollars. I think we all did.
    My wife left me at age 57- I don't blame her. Now, a few years later, I can clearly see the most important things. Top of my list is loving and caring for others.
     

  3. hotpot

    hotpot Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 15, 2013
    Lancashire UK
    Coming from a working class family growing up in the late 50's early 60's we didn't have the proverbial pot to pee in.

    We lived in social housing (mam & dad still do, dad is 90 & was born in that house & still lives there) I remember toys were hard to come by, you made your own catapults/soap boxes.
    If you wanted a bicycle you had to save up for one a second hand out of your newspaper round money.

    I remember always going to 'jumble sales' for charity clothes & shoes, everything was hand me downs & patched up.

    We had a hot bath once a week from buckets of hot water off the open fire (bath water shared, last one in got the mucky water :D and as lice / nits were rampant back then after getting out of the bath our gran used to nit comb us over a piece of newspaper :eek:

    Dad worked as a clerk in the local cotton mill & mam worked part time jobs between bringing us up, we never went hungry although even in the 50's in the UK rationing was still in place & the only meat we ate was offal.

    Most of our meals were liver & onions/Cow hearts/Ox tail, ham shanks etc.
    We never once ate out in restaurants diners or cafes.

    We didn't have much in material things, we never had a telephone or car, even when I left home at 18 things were still the same.

    I left school at 15 as did my brothers & we never kept our wages to ourselves, our pay packets was put on the table on pay day to help run the house & we took a couple of quid for ourselves.

    Although we didn't have much we had a great childhood.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
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  4. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
     
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  5. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    You, sir, sound like a rich kid. T.V. in a bedroom and air conditioning.
     
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  6. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Tele-Holic

    Age:
    56
    880
    Jun 7, 2017
    GCDB
    Thats kind of my point, you can work hard, provide these things for your family; if you do a close read you will notice these were items others had thrown away.. my dad always picked things up from bulk trash "gotta road test this car.." and then fixed them, often selling extras to make a little side scratch. We actually had very little money but we appeared OK. But there was no way we were accepted by the "rich kids" or their parents, as we continued to live and speak in a working class manner. There is more to escaping poverty than having money or things. This is why so many people backslide in to drugs & crime after getting into or even graduating from college, and perhaps even landing a "good" job. Took me 30 years to get my degree, and 15 more to figure out I would be better off working for myself, just didn't know how to play the game. I do now, but have little stomach for it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
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  7. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Jun 27, 2005
    Montclair, NJ
    Our family circumstances were modest. Poor at times, but nothing comparable to many of the folks I grew up with in rural NY state.

    The whole thing shaped my views from early on. Part of it was strictly personal ... learned quickly that asking for things in my family didn't feel right. So I tried not to, eventually didn't. Started earning my own money at age 8, had a paper route right through til college, odd jobs also, then part and full time jobs from age 14. That need to be self supporting, independent, came early and stayed.

    It was more than just me and my family. As a paperboy, I went in and out of other people's homes all the time. Saw how others lived. Went back and forth daily from ordered, clean neighborhoods to others less so, to classic rural poverty - no heat, no plumbing even - and down low trailer park life. The smells stick with me most. How a really dirty, barely habitable house smells. The indescribable stench of way dirty diaper kids running around an overheated house. Sweaty, unwashed bodies in the summer. Clothes permeated with wood smoke in the winter. Farm kids reeking of manure coming to school, no time to change clothes after milking.

    That stuff plays in the background of my thoughts, always on. It keeps me empathetic, aware of other's lives, how lucky I am to have whatever money, health and happiness has come my way.
     

  8. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Tele-Holic

    Age:
    56
    880
    Jun 7, 2017
    GCDB
    I have a friend who is the same, great job, lives in a big house, drives a nice car raised a fine kid; grew up dirt farm poor, and sounds it..I mean really, rough to "make a longshoreman, blush" Some how she keeps it under control at work a few years back she had to do a presentation at a conference, I saw the video, like a different person. She lived with neighbors of mine after her dad kicked her out at 14 they have no idea how she does this, its like a switch, I guess its no different than the "code switching" that is part of some cultures, however its done, it's important, and I wish I had a answer for you.
     

  9. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    CK Dexter Haven - I accept your points. We too worked hard at university and one of my family re- built the Panama Canal- check it out on youtube.
    My point(s) were simply that you did not starve, nor go without food, see Toto's Dad's post. In Australia you would have been considered wealthy in those times. That's all I'm saying.
     
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  10. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 14, 2008
    Manheim Pa.
    I did not grow up poor financially nor were we well off financially . The poverty that I was perpetually exposed to was of the human type . To this day , I have issues allowing myself to being vulnerable to anyone .
     
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  11. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2013
    Michigan
    Man, so many thoughts are swirling in my head after reading this.

    My first reaction was that it's amazing how close we still are to a level of poverty I had only ever known from books and TV. Yes, I have family members who grew up without a car (their house was a block away from the patriarch's place of work, a block away from the grocery store, and a few blocks from the bus stop where the kids went to school), and yes, my own father was born in an uninsulated basement without a house overhead, but it's always stunning to read these accounts. My mom's family was raised on a farm - Grandpa was a sailor in WWII, and worked odd jobs to pay the bills; they'd grow their own crops to eat. My dad's family, as I mentioned, lived in a house that was built up around them as they could afford it...that grandpa was too young to fight in the war, although he did lose a brother in the Pacific. They'd hunt and fish for food, year-round. Both families were products of the Depression, so I've seen a lot of the "weird" scrimping, saving habits in person (Grandma, to this day, has a closet full of toilet paper and paper towels that she'll pass out to her grandkids), but I never truly lived that lifestyle.

    While I was born into (slightly ironic, I suppose, given the home my dad was born in) a home without a basement; a simple, small, slab-on-grade kit home from the Depression era; we never went without. We were squarely middle-class, and when we moved to a more upper-middle-class area so us kids could go to school, we were still on the "bad" side of the train tracks. Growing up, we always had shoes from Target, pants from the hardware store, and T-shirts from all the vacation bible schools in the area (as opposed to the other kids who could afford Nikes from Foot Locker, or fancy jeans from Old Navy or Aeropostale). We hunted, fished, and farmed for pleasure; not out of necessity. Sure, we had the smallest house in the neighborhood, but I learned enough about fixing it that I was able to parlay that into a job (which reminds me, I gotta pack a lunch and hit the road in a few minutes).

    What I'm trying to get at is this: I've been watching this thread and wanting to post my own story for a few days now, but my story simply doesn't hold a candle to many of them I've read in here. I've never been unappreciative of my upbringing, and reading all of your stories makes me a little more grateful for what I had.
     
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  12. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    Poverty is not a joking matter d .....d.
     
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  13. GEISHAII

    GEISHAII TDPRI Member

    Age:
    65
    15
    Aug 11, 2017
    Amsterdam
    The fate of the family I was born in had a lot to with WWII. My late father, born from Dutch parents and living in Germany married his German wife, my dearest late mother in 1935 near the city of Cologne. At the end of the war my father fled from Germany to Holland with his brother hoping to create a new living for the family in Holland but initially that backfired. Although having Dutch roots he was not very welcome and instead was penned up and denied to re-unite the family right away; that took about 3 years. So in 1948 my mother with my eldest brother and three sistes, all suffering from under-nourishment and one being seriously ill came to Holland. They had lost all but some small furniture that came by train. To make matters "worse" three more children were born, me the youngest of 7 in 1952.
    In my youth we hardly had anything to play with, clothes, shoes etc. all were something we had to treat very frugal.
    But my dad was someone never to give up, he was a strong man.
    Gradually he fought his way back up on the ladder and became a well trained and specialist technician.
    So from the mid sixties, my eldest brother and sisters already self sufficient, we were able to say that we had weathered out the drought.
    Big thanks to my parent for being so persistent and doing the best they could, also learning us to be grateful for what you have, and fight for your own future.
    The latter is a priceless gift.
     

  14. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    I disagree. Laughter will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no laughter.
     

  15. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    That's what I gathered, from representing a lot of indigent folks with few possessions. Some found a way to carry a smile on their face and it seemed some times to carry over to better health and better luck. I handled cases for folks from all walks of life, and I was impressed by how some despaired of extreme poverty, and others found a way to cope with it.

    We were strictly middle class, both sides of the family. My Paternal Grandfather was the type of guy who put every dollar he had, into trying to save the local Bank operated by his best friend, in the Depression, but eventually the Bank failed and he lost every dollar but he still had his job, always, and he bounced back rapidly and was always viewed around town as the guy in always in control of his life. The loyalty to his friends in the middle and upper middle class that he showed, were eventually repaid and then some, and the country would've had to entirely collapse, for he and his family to have been in desperate circumstances.

    I've only had a tiny taste of what scorn might be placed by those well off, on those without and I apologize in advance if it seems trivial or disrespectful, and it goes like this:

    The TV blew up in 1962 and my parent decided, no more TV. We'd go to movies, have parties, buy the extra car, more vacations, go see the Symphony Orchestra on membership, and buy all the Champagne my parents wanted. When my brother and I asked for amplifiers and guitars, my parents made it happen.

    But I remember several times (not just once) I'd try to befriend a new kid at school (or I'd be the new kid, as we moved a lot) and these other kids and I would have a normal conversation about sports and racing cars and movies, but eventually the other guy would shift the conversation to the TV shows. Eventually he would get an admission out of me, that we had no TV at home, and he'd reflexively look down to see if I had holes in my socks, or any shoes at all for that matter. Just a little taste of this bitter medicine, made me appreciate what a lucky SOB I actually was .
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
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  16. WetBandit

    WetBandit Tele-Holic

    Age:
    27
    921
    Oct 11, 2016
    37804
    I'll add a bit, because alot of others have pointed this out as well.

    As I stated earlier, I had to go hungry fairly often until I was around 8 or 9yrs old. At the age of 5 I was going door to door for bread or other things to eat.

    So now til this day I have a horrible fear of empty cabinets and an empty refrigerator. I really start to panic if my fridge has too many gaps in it.

    And as far as toilet paper and paper towels....my grandmother keeps a huge stockpile in her bedroom stacked up right by her dresser.

    One more weird problem I have is, I will NOT open somone else's refrigerator...ever unless you tell me what you need out of it specifically.

    I don't mind one bit for others opening mine though.

    This sounds like a thread topic maybe I'll post it.
     
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  17. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Can you rationally address with yourself -- "I am not going to hungry" -- or is it uncontrollable? This has come up a couple times in the thread and I am curious.
     

  18. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 18, 2009
    Hogtown,KY.
    I was raised by parents who were children of the Depression. Everything was saved. We didn't have everything,
    but my mom tried her best. I remember i had to go to school once wearing a pair of her jeans because i had
    outgrown mine & she had to wait until she got paid to buy me some. She sacrificed a lot,more than i appreciated
    at the time. One thing that was stressed was trying to better your situation. She invested in a set of encyclopedias
    and a dictionary. Remember this was pre-internet. I lost myself in those just trying to learn as much as possible.
    Even if you just have a just a high-school education,if you speak well & just being polite to others around you,it
    makes a difference & people will take notice.

    Poverty can do two things to a person. It can grind one down or it can light a fire under your a$$! :cool:
     
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  19. WetBandit

    WetBandit Tele-Holic

    Age:
    27
    921
    Oct 11, 2016
    37804
    I don't freak out when I see the bare spots in the fridge, but I do make it a point to go to the grocery store pretty quickly.

    I've gotten much better about it the older I've gotten. When I was 16 and still living with my grandparents I came home from school and opened the fridge to find it nearly completely empty. I was hungry at the time, and that really spun me into an emotional wreck.

    My grandmother heard me in the kitchen and asked me what was wrong and why was I sitting in the floor and I told her the fridge is empty...

    Turns out the fridge had stopped working and she took everything out and to the neighbors fridge until we could get a replacement.

    But from that day on she always kept the fridge stocked for me.

    I owe that woman the world, but unfortunately I'm unable to provide that.
     
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  20. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 18, 2009
    Hogtown,KY.
    I may catch hell for saying this,but a lot of poverty is caused by people's poor choices.
    Alcoholism,smoking,drug use,having children without the means to support them,etc... :cool:
     
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