I recently had a little debate with my dear mother about my family's financial situation while I was growing up. I had brought up the fact that we lived like poor folk and she vehemently argued that we were not poor. I agreed that we were in no way living in the depths of extreme poverty but that we did do a lot of things that are common for poor people to do. I had the best childhood ever. I literally spent everyday outside exploring the ponds and rivers and wild Montana forests, so please do not think I am complaining. But we were poor. To bolster my argument I have prepared some evidence that will help you the reader decide if we were poor or not.
Exhibit A: The Single Wide Trailer
Home sweet trailer
Undoubtably the single most important piece of evidence in proving our poverty. This is the "house" that I spent the good part of my first year in, my parents lived in it for several years total. For those of you who are not familiar with trailer speak, a single wide is a trailer that is 14 feet wide. It is, in essence , the poor mans trailer. You could easily fit this whole trailer in our garage.
Exhibit B: Lack of clothes and food.
Right out of Huckleberry Finn
My brother does not even have a shoe on in this picture for pete's sake. Im pretty sure he is wearing a cast but there has to be something to put on that thing. Literally everything I wore as a child was a hand-me-down from my brother Cyrus and later I even wore hand-me-ups from my little brother Jeff. I cant think of a picture that makes two kids look more like hobos. Just take a good long look at Cyrus in this picture. We ate those fish. Do you know how I know? Because they are dead and thats what you do with dead fish. Would I even think of eating a 6 inch fish at this time in my life...No. But that is what you do when you are poor, you eat anything and everything that you can get your hands on.
Our dinners usually consisted of a hamburger patty cooked on the stove with a slice of bread for a bun. On several occasions I ate grape-nuts cereal with water instead of milk. For dessert we would eat chocolate chips. If you have ever eaten a ketchup sandwich, you were poor at one point.
Exhibit C: Homemade Everything.
Seriously, gayest costume ever.
I seriously doubt that if Cyrus could have picked what he wanted to be for Halloween, he would have picked a flamboyantly homosexual cat. But that was a cheap costume. A little black paint, some fake nails, ears and Walla! You have a complex for the rest of your life. If these homemade costumes are not enough to convince you check out these little numbers that we were forced to wear...
How we turned out straight is beyond me. Actually I think these little outfits are pretty funny and I cant wait to make my kids wear crap like this. But did we have money to afford new clothes? No. Take a look at my dads truck if you want more proof from this picture.
Exhibit D: Improvised toys.
No, I did not love sweeping, that's my toy.
Every Poor Kid's dream toy
Nice toys are expensive, so why waste money on toys when your kid loves the dustpan? My parents were lucky to have some pretty imaginative kids because we turned everything into toys. When I was in kindergarten, my favorite thing in the world was to smash rocks against each other so I could see what they looked like inside. No Nintendo necessary here, just give me two rocks and I was ecstatic . Me and my brother used to spend hours throwing a tennis ball back and forth on the couch and we loved it. It was like friggin Christmas. Man, we were poor.
Exhibit E: This picture.
This one just speaks for itself
If that isn't the picture of slight poverty, I don't know what is. My Grandpa Cyrus was classic.
So there you have it. My mom says that we had plenty of money but that it all just went towards paying everything off. I guess those payments on the 1971 Oldsmobile were pretty intense...haha. But I don't really care because if there is one thing that I learned from my childhood it is that you don't need nice things to be extremely happy.