Re: The poor in America - How do they live?
By all of today's standards, my family was poor. Both Mom and Dad worked. At times the textile mill was on 'short time'. That meant from 15 to maybe 30 hours per week. The wages paid were considered a lot lower than the pay in larger cities. The mill was the only industry for many years in the town of Hillsboro, TX. I was born in '42 and Mom and Dad owned a 99 acre farm with a pear, peach, persimon, and pecan orchards about 9 miles from Hillsboro. We had a flock of chickens, several hogs, and around 15 to 20 head of cattle. Dad drove 9 miles each way to the mill weekdays and in season, peddled fruit to the country market in Waco, TX, on weekends. Dad sold the farm and bought a house in Hillsboro in 1944. He continued to work at the mill. After my sis was born in 1946, my mom stayed home to raise us until we were about 2 and 5 years old. We had bought another house just down the street from Dad's sister and her family. We stayed with my aunt while Mom went back to work in the mill. The mill was only about 5 blocks from home. We no longer owned (or needed) a car. They walked us to Aunt Ethel's house, then they walked on to the mill. In the evening, they came by and got us and we went home. Although we lived inside the city-limits, we had a large garden, a cow and calf, 2 to 4 hogs, and about 15 to 20 chickens. We never went hungery. A lot of the garden crop was canned and stored in the pantry each year. It took about a year to get the old house fixed up inside and painted outside. AND, a small bedroom turned into a bathroom. We had an 'outhouse' about 50 yards from the house that was used until the bathroom was finished. Although we lived on the 'west side of town', and were considered poor; I never thought that I was deprived of anything that I needed and got a LOT of things that I just 'wanted'. I remember several times that the mill was only operating 2 1/2 days a week and things got a little rough. Even then we always had plenty to eat and decent clothes to wear. I married when I was 20 years old; my wife was 16. We saw some really hard times as far as keeping the bills paid; but we never were hungery. We always managed to keep the bills paid enough to keep the creditors away. We married in '63 and managed to get by. In 1978 I changed jobs (again) and we were able to make the payments on all the debts for about 8 years. When my employer filed for bankruptcy, and my last 3 pay checks 'bounced'; it got pretty tight for a few weeks. I borrowed some money from a friend and used it to start working for myself. I worked 10 years before getting disgusted with the long hours, on call 24/7, and doing most of my own bookkeepping. I sold my stock to a competitor and about a month later went to work for him in '95. In '97 our oldest daughter died of cancer. She was still living at home. I continued to work until I retired in 2004. We had a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, mobile home and an acre of land paid in full and all of the other debts were paid. Also we had replaced the major appliances during the last 8 or 9 months. Everything seemed to be working ok. The youngest daughter had married and had a son, and our son was still at home after graduating from highschool. Yes, I've seen some hard times a few times during my life; but never considered myself as being 'poor'. After my wife died on '06, I moved here to Idaho to be near my son, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. I'm 69, some health issues, on social security, AND NOT GOING HUNGERY!!!!!