Monday, April 25, 2011

P is for Poverty -- Day 16 of the "A to Z Blogging Challenge"

Still catching up.

I am an expert on poverty. Not in the statistical or "official" sense of the word. I have lived it. I have lived it. When I was growing up I didn't really think we were poor except when Daddy's union was on strike or there simply wasn't any work. We always had a roof over our heads and there was always food on the table,even if it was the precursor to food stamps, commodities. At the time I didn't know how hard it was for my parents to provide these things at times. I do now.

Looking back I realize that until I was 6 my parents owned their own little house at the edge of town in an area called Rock Creek. Rock Creek got its name from the fact that it was lower in elevation than the rest of the town and if you dug down a few inches you hit solid rock. I don't know how they ever dug the cesspool we had. The house was one bedroom for the seven of us. My oldest sister got married when I was two and my second sister got married when I was about five. A few months later we moved to a new house, the other side of the cemetary from Rock Creek. Fortunately our landlord/mortgageholder was very understanding. He knew that Mama and Daddy would always pay when they had the money. I think Daddy paid off the house with the money left over from Mama's life insurance when she died.

As for there always being food on the table, it was often beans and potatoes or vegetables from my second oldest sister's garden. To this day I can't stand green beans, even fresh ones with new potatoes, which was a favored staple in our house in the summer. Everyone else loved them, but I always hated them.

Daddy did his part, too. When he was out of work he made a lot of trips to the dump and scavenged metal for recycling. Unfortunately, this meant that our yard often looked like a junk yard, which was in keeping with the house to our west. It was owned by an old man of indeterminate age by the name of Mr. Keck. A lot of people were scared of him, but he was never anything but nice to me. His yard and house were a maze of junk. I don't think he ever threw anything away. I remember the inside of his house as a dark, dank maze of miscellaneous "stuff." I remember once when I was about 16 I asked him for some yellow paint to redo my room and within minutes he handed me a half-dozen partial cans of paint in various shades of yellow and white. I combined them in a clean trash can and painted my room with it. It came out great!

Ok. I seem to have strayed from the topic of poverty. I guess I'll have to write another blog later about my bouts with poverty as an adult.

No comments:

Post a Comment