My brother and I had it better than they did growing up.  Our parents had been poor (an ancestry that I proudly claim, often and loudly), but we would grow up middle class, even if we were starting at the bottom.  Our dad worked three jobs—a mechanic full time during the day, driving log truck and working at a gas station part time on the weekends and some nights—to make sure that we had enough.  The electric and phone bills always got paid.  We had our own house. 

When bread was on sale six loafs for a dollar, my brother and I would fall in line behind our mom, each clutching a dollar bill and six loafs, which would be put in the freezer as soon as we got it home.  We had clothes to wear that fit and didn’t have holes or missing buttons.  We were really good at shopping garage sales and thrift stores. 

In our family, underwear and socks counted as a Christmas presents, as did a new winter coat, and usually both were bought on sale at K-Mart.  Most of our Tupperware was actually recycled margarine containers, and mom washed and reused plastic bags.  The only restaurants we ate at were usually “all-you-can-eat,” the King’s Table Buffet, and even then, it was only on special occasions.  My mom knew how to sew and my dad could fix the washing machine himself.  They lived this way because of necessity. 

© Salahub 2003