Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I am sadden by all the folks around our country struggling to make ends meet. I just watched a story on Yahoo! about a family of six struggling to make ends meet after the husband gets laid off.

Piles of bills. Not enough money coming in to pay the bills. Growing up my story is not different from this family. Except we did not have bills.

I've written about growing up poor. Here's the recap: Immigrant parents with little to know grasp of the English language and five little kids about a year apart. We lived in cramped apartments until I was in 7th grade when we moved into a 900-square foot little house (which I still love and have dreams about still living in to this day).

Tiny. Little. Rooms. Here's what my parents did. My mom worked as a seamstress for a mom and pop operation with no health insurance at minimum wage (~$3/hour). My dad worked as an outboard mechanic for $4/hour (he drove an hour each way to get to this job). At nights, my dad would clean two laundramats from 11pm to 1am. Most nights, my older sister and I would rotate going to help my dad depending on our homework load. I would be tired at school the next day.

In addition to all this, my parents cleaned a huge restaurant and bar at 5am on the weekends and take us with them. I remember being really good at vacuuming underneath the booths. Messy and gross under there. In addition, my older sister and I would be watching our younger siblings.

We always had enough to eat. We didn't feel insecure about our place in helping our family. When winter would come, my folks take a few nights out to the month of November to go squid fishing off the pier. We would freeze and eat squid during the winter months. I still can not get excited about squid to this day having to eat so much squid as a child.

But, we all pitched in. We struggled but we had no debt. Where am I going with all this? Back to the story, it just reminded me of how hard my folks worked just for us to survive. They still work as a seamstress and a boat mechanic, but they have saved up. They own their own home- free and clear, drive safe paid-for cars, and they get to travel. I am proud of them.

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