Not everyone is born into privilege. These people share how their parents had to think outside the box in order to give their children a somewhat “normal” and happy childhood.
Their Father Would Sacrifice His Own Health To Keep His Family Alive
“When I was born, my family was poor. My family consisted of my parents, a half-brother, a half-sister, and me. My dad was 5’10 and only weighed about 130 because, if we couldn’t afford enough food to feed us all, he wouldn’t eat so we could.
Fast forward to when I can actually remember things, my family was not much better off, but my dad could actually eat at every meal. At Christmas, we would wrap our presents in newspaper because we couldn’t afford the fancy paper.
Then, EVERYTHING that could be reused, got reused, including Ziploc baggies, and hand-me-down clothes. I thought everything was normal until I went to a friend’s house, and the presents under their trees had shiny nice wrapping paper and bows.”
Their Childhood Wasn’t An Easy One
“These were a few things from my childhood that made me realize I grew up poor:
- Going to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t realize that was odd until I saw something on ESPN where a football player donated money to the B&G Club, and there was a segment about a Thanksgiving dinner for hungry kids.
- Walking to the church to pick up boxes of food. I thought churches gave out food in an attempt to recruit people, not because we were actually that hungry.
- Staying home alone every weekday in the summer, at age 8 and babysitting my 3-year-old brother.
- Getting a job at age 14 to help pay the rent. I knew the part where my mom forged our birth certificates to make us look older wasn’t normal, but I thought most teenagers paid rent and only the rich ones got to do after-school activities like sports teams instead of working.”
This Pizzeria Owner Became The Father He Never Had
“The pizza place near my neighbourhood would let me sit in their dining area until they closed. The owner’s name was Frank, and he would give me pizza to take home with me or a slice and a drink while I sat there. He knew I had no money to pay but would still take care of me. I didn’t like being home alone every day and night (single mom working all the time or sleeping) and would go there a lot just to have a TV to watch because we didn’t have one.
Eventually, my mom couldn’t take care of me anymore, and I had to move in with some relatives in a different state.
I went back to visit when I was on leave after completing basic training and decided to stop in and pay for a slice.
Frank remembered me, all those years later. He came out from around the counter and hugged me, and told everyone in the dining room, ‘I’ve known him since he was this big.’ We sat down and ate together, and I thanked him for everything he did for me as a kid, and he said he was so happy I stopped by and how proud he was that I became a soldier.”
Peanut Butter & Jelly Was A Balanced Meal To Them
“I never realized eating peanut butter and jelly for every lunch was strange. I just thought everybody saw bologna and cheese as a luxury like I did, and Lunchables were only for special occasions obviously. I also thought every kid shopped at Goodwill, got dollar store candy for birthday treats, had hot dogs on plain white bread and ate only generic brand cereals.
I thought all the kids had indoor camping trips with their families once a month, and the fact that you could only use flashlights during these trips was just part of the fun (and not because we were late on the electric bill).
My mom handmade a lot of our Halloween costumes and all of my Barbie and doll clothes. I thought I was special with all of these unique doll clothes. It never occurred to me that it was just cheaper that way. I dealt with a lot of things that were super-glued or patched up because we couldn’t afford new things. My first Barbie came from the bushes in my backyard after the neighbor girls threw it over the fence and never came back for it.
Dining out was the biggest treat in the world. Even though it was almost always buffet places like Golden Corral. Specialty places like Olive Garden and Red Lobster were out of the question unless someone else was paying. My best (and only) friend was the child of divorced parents, so she was as financially destitute as I was. I honestly didn’t know any of this was odd, because my friend was going through it too.”
Read the full article here:https://www.tickld.com/wow/2406691/people-who-grew-up-poor-share-what-they-thought-was-normal-growing-up/