Poor or Rich

When I think of my youth, I never thought about if we were poor or rich; it was simply not an issue that arose. Today, when I think of the issue, I know of things that some would use to define it. Our family would be defined as poor, but that may simply be an issue of when I grew up. Things such as running water and bathrooms as part of the house were not there in my early years. Simple things as paper towels were considered a luxury, used only very rarely. Sheets were not worn out when they wore thin in the center. My mother simply tore them in half and sewed the two halves together with the worn parts on the outside.

My father died at forty-nine when I was only twelve. My mother returned to teaching to support three teenagers for than less than $5,000 a year. Before my father’s death, he was frugal by upbringing. After his death, my mother had no choice but to scrimp to keep us moving forward as a family. Like I wrote at the start, I never thought about poverty. I simply knew that I got what I had to have and did not believe that we were anything but a family. I was too busy doing farm chores and my school work.

Clearly things have changed since those days. Inflation has changed the understanding of the value of what we have and what things are worth. For those of us that were raised by parents who lived in the shadow of the Great Depression, spending money was not, and often is not, part of our makeup. I have always tried to carry on the frugality of my parents. My kids would probably just use the term - cheap. Whichever term that is used, I hope that at least part of me has worn off on them. I hope that spending a dollar bothers them some at least so that they think twice about it.

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To read the entire column pick up the July 18, 2018 edition of the Brunswick Times-Gazette.