Life as a struggling family trying to live in the real world. This is how most life really is when you live in the world today. Life when I was growing up was hard not just for me and my family. I remember my earliest memories are of hard times with my farther working so many hours that my father was hardly ever home. My father had a delivery service for a general food store when I was a child. I remember one year it snowed twenty four inches of snow my father had to walk through all this snow in nearly twenty below temperature to just get the little bit of food our family could afford to eat.
Life was always a struggle growing up my father made about one hundred dollars a week we live in a three room apartment four the six of us. I remember we were so sick all the time when we were young that my father had to work as much as he could just to try pay all the medical bills that were constantly coming due. I remember Christmas would come around and there was so little money that my family hardly ever had a real Christmas. I remember one year it was around Christmas time my parents had put aside about one hundred dollars to shop for our Christmas then my older brother knocked a pot of boiling hot coffee water over his stomach. There went our Christmas, the hospital bills ate that money up and more. I remember the painful look on my fathers face when he had to tell his children that there would be no Christmas this year.
I remember my family did not have ten new out fits for all four of us kids to where to school. My father did paid one hundred and twenty dollars a year to send us to Catholic school. I remember I was about seven years old coming home from school one to see my poor mother wearing a pair of men`s shoes just so her children had clothes to wear to school. I remember time when my mother actually had to make spaghetti sandwiches for us kids to take to school. Times were so hard for my family when I was growing up that we could not afford to stay in this apartment any more. I remember we packed all our belongings up and my father bought this tent where we all went camping for more then a year.
My family and I spent the summer and half the winter in this camp ground. there was six of us living with this big collie in one army tent. We were stuffed in this tent like luggage all trying to sleep. I remember we lived on pork and beans for months to eat. I remember we were so poor us kids had to run around the camp ground in women`s pants half the time because there was so little money. I remember the terrible smell that use to come from the out houses when I went to the bathroom. I remember we would go days without being able to take a shower. That tent smelled really bad at times with all of my family in one tent. I remember the fun times me and my brothers had playing football with other kids at the camp ground.
I remember it was late October when my parents decided that me and my mother along with my youngest brother would take the bus up to my mothers parents in Canada for a four or five months. I remember that we were eating potted meat on the bus just trying make the more then three day and night ride from Chicago to Vancouver Canada to my grand parents. I was so sick from riding on that bus for three straight days and nights. I remember when we arrived at the bus station my cousin was there waiting with a cab to take us to my grandparents apartment. I remember my brother and I ate and slept for almost two days straight. I sure was glad to get out of that tent and into a clean bed. I remember it was the first time I had a bed and room where there was nobody in the same area.
I remember this was the first time in about six months since I had clean clothes and food to eat that was not peanut butter or pork and beans. My grandparents were not rich or even middle class but they are the best grandparents a young kid could ever ask for. My mother was always going without something so that her children could have better. My grandparents made sure that my brother and I had some new clothes and good food the time that we were there.
I remember it was about four months before my father had found a place for all of us to live so we had to take the bus back to Chicago. My father had rented a hotel room at this hotel for thirty five dollars a week.I remember my older brother telling me how that had slept on bakery baskets for the whole time we were gone in the freezing cold truck.I remember finding out that my father had to put our collie to sleep because our dog had become to wild while staying at the camp ground. I remember she was so bad that if we rolled over on her tail while we were sleeping our dog would bite us so my father had to have her put away. I felt so lost for the longest time this dog was part of our family.
I remember when I first went into room a how small it was for all six of my family to live. I remember the four years how my mother and father worked so hard just make sure that us kids had one meal a day to eat before going to bed at night. I ate so many potato chips for lunch because chips were a nickel and pop was dime. I went to school at Emerson school for my sixth through eighth grade. I remember working with my father after school delivering groceries I was thirteen years old going to school and working with my father after school til around midnight just to help keep money coming in for my family to eat. I remember all the early years there was no holidays for us we had gotten so used to not having money to afford to spend money on holidays that we almost never thought about holidays. For me and my family holidays were just another normal day. I remember we were so poor that me and my family never went to a doctor or dentist from the time I was seven until my father became sick when I was nineteen years old.
My father had a bad heart and bad lungs from years of smoking that he could not work any more. I remember the first job I ever had out side of part time work doing odd jobs was at the very same hotel where we were living as a desk clerk. I remember this job paid two dollars and sixty five cents and hour. I was able to afford my own clothes and food for the first time in my life. I was so proud to have this job I was really making money of my own so I did not have to depend on my parents for food or clothes. I had to work my sixty hours a week and take care of my father at the same time. I remember the first time I ever bought new clothes and shoes I was so proud that I had worked to have so new clothes for the first time in my life. I ate so much while working the next four years that I was finally nick named the cow by my family because I was so fat from eating food that my family usually never afford. This was how I became over weight for years ahead.
I remember as the years went by My father and mother were living in the house that my older brother had bought to rent as apartments but then the hotel where we were managing was sold and we were both out of jobs so we all moved into the apartment upstairs where once again I had to live off my fathers social security. I remember by know my father was constantly on oxygen all the time in those days. My father was getting sicker by the year. I remember the for several years that followed times were so hard just trying to survive as a family . Then my older brother got a job managing another hotel in the city so my brothers and my mother went to help out. I was at the house trying to help my father out because he could hardly breath by then.
I finally had a my first job working construction when my oldest brother started contracting from a real estate company. I spent the next five years learning every trade that I could in the construction business. I was making more money then I ever thought I could because I was working one hundred hours a week. My love life could never get going because I was always working. I could never commit to having a another person in my life . This was not because I did not love the women that came and left my life. I was so in love with this one girl but I was always working so this woman called me a machine. I simply let this woman walk out of my life. I remember what it is like to struggle to live as a kid. I remember the seeing the pain in my fathers face when there was no holidays for us as children.I remember the look if my mother having to wear men`s shoes so that her children could have some clothes to wear to school.
I remember the loss I felt when some woman would walk out of my life. I was so driven to have all the things that I could not have when I was young. I was so driven to make sure that I could eat or where any thing I wanted. I would work countless hours to have every thing that I wanted this is what happens when you grow up poor. I wanted to have more personally. I just did not want to have a family that would have to do without. I was so driven to have that even when I hurt myself on the job I would not even go to a doctor. I once almost cut three fingers of my left hand when a six foot level struck my left hand while it was laying across a metal floor plate. I put splints on the really bad cuts and went back to work. I once had a car crash into the back of my legs. My legs were swelling up like a football. I had the blood drained of my legs and never went back to the doctor. I have had countless injuries over the years yet I have never gone the the doctor. I remember my father working all day with third degree burns on his shoulders from boiling hot water. I remember once my father broke his shoulder when we were at the ball field then went to the doctor to have it set. The very next day my father took off the splint and went to work because he had a family to support. I can not even imagine the kind of pain he must have suffered through to go to work . I learned very young when you are poor you live with injuries that most people could not even bare.
These are some of the things that I learned being poor when I was growing up. I believe that no one should have to go through most thing that I have seen or lived. I learned to have to much drive to work and not enough to take the time to love and live. I do not go through one day where the pain from over working my joints do not hurt and swell from to much work that I have done.
I could write about the hard times that me and my family have gone through. I am not saying there was not a lot of good times and fun for me and my family.I am not writing this out of self pity. I am writing this article to inform people about what being poor is really like. I missed out on learning the good times of spending holidays with your family. I really am a self educated man on the cost of being born into a poor and struggling family. My family and I have stayed so close through all this and much more.
I hope that this article will help people to understand why I want a better way of life for all our people. I believe that if democracy is really going to work it has to be for all people no matter race religion or sexual preference. I believe that no child should have to go without the basic daily needs. I pray that this article will change the future for so many families that are going have to see their children go without. This is why I believe that our country must come together for all our people. I really do believe that people can put aside their differences to make life in our country fair for all people I believe that every child deserves a chance to have a fulfilling life.
As always I write with respect.