We have all had our own struggles....my little rant (and a garage style mystery shop associate)

I'm 28 and I grew up in one of the poorest counties in the nation. I believe it was ranked in the top 5 poorest when I was younger, and it's still in the top 10 poorest. My boyfriend grew up in one of the top 20 poorest counties. We get it to a degree and we've heard stories about what we don't quite get... so when someone suggests I've had a cellphone in my hand since I was 8, it kind of peeves me off.

I grew up in a house where the women all learned to sew, crochet, quilt, cook, and can. My momma and grandma hand washed clothes unless they used the ringer washer, which they still have. We blasted coal out of seams where we were allowed on the property from friends or family, and we timbered out fire wood the same way. My folks and their folks still maintain this lifestyle all while working a regular job--certainly not a "state case" (well my dad is retired military and my pappy is a retired miner) We dug up roots and moss, gathered much of what we ate, grew much more, and fed for slaughter much of the rest. Grandma canned out in the yard in a large wash tub, and we took baths often in those tubs. We packed water and to this day, neither my parents or grandparents have a well and they frequently have frozen water or dried up springs. We melted snow for water, packed food in "natures fridge" ie snow, cooked on a coal/wood burner stove that both homes still use, bathed in tubs and helped each other wash in the small tubs, sewed our clothes, passed everything along until it was just rags, and then used the rags. I often catch myself calling the fridge the "Calvinator" or Kelvinator because that's the brand of refrigerators folks knew.

We picked up cans and bottles and often went to "trash piles" to go see if anyone tossed anything usable. There were times we would be without power for 2 months or longer and without phone for the same amount of time. We worked puzzles and played cards under lantern light. There was no cell phone service, there was no internet service, and there is still not much of either to this day. I have packed hundreds of logs, buckets of coal, slop buckets, feed buckets, water buckets, gravel, and so much more. I've had to help patch roofs with tarps, and I've played "gopher" many times because I'm skinny and tall and fit in awkward places during construction. We raised animals and hunted and fished. My grandparents and parents homes are patched up with scraps and are pitiful to look at but you bet they are well wired, well insulated, and well roofed. I've used many outhouses indoor and out, I've gone barefoot, I've been home remedied when necessary, and I've certainly had to do dirty jobs such as digging the equivalent of a latrine for sewage to flow out through. But somehow we all managed to bath every day, get clean clothes on, eat three filling meals a day, and go to school every single day the place was open.

My struggle wasn't hard, it was life and it worked and I recall a lot of fun memories of gathering apples, cracking black walnuts, drinking straight out of the spring, riding in the back of grandpa's 67 Chevy and ducking down while on the main roads, getting my Sunday clothes on, and more but I certainly didn't have any devices or tech until I was 19 and off to college on scholarship. Every generation gets a little bit better. But when older folks that I know have had running water, electricity, and store bought clothes on their backs for the last 50 years tell me I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have technology or power -_- it burns me up because the assumption is that at my age, I don't understand any type of struggle whatsoever and that I've had it all from the beginning. smh. I just wanted to rant. I was doing an audit and I had a tablet, a laptop, a digital camera, and a cellphone. They were all handy and necessary and we busted our tail ends to pay for them! The tablet is a $25 special, the phone came free with the minutes for the month ($30), the camera was a present ($20 going out of business sale), and so was the computer -- which is only as nice as it is because my boyfriend is a techie and his small town job often allows him to keep spare parts and pieces off of "junk"

So, I was working on an audit and the woman behind the counter harshly remarked that "'you young people wouldn't know how to light a fire to cook a sandwich if you didn't have all that technology', girls your age don't know what real struggle is." Is that a phrase people use? Light a fire... to cook a sandwich... -_- I did nothing to provoke or elicit the comment. I was simply going through devices and double checking everything I needed to do to ensure I was paid and that they weren't going to get demerits.

I wanted to explain all of this to this woman (the family she's from has been well to do for a few generations) with her done up hair, shiny shoes, slick dress, and catlike finger nails all while flipping her the bird, but I just politely said that I actually grew up in a town without internet or cellphone service. She snorted and said sarcastically that it musta been real tough..

Now, again, I'm not sure what real struggle is because I was fed, clothed, and warm. I hear my grandpa tell tales that make me want to cry for him and hug him tight and the same with my grandma. And their parents had it even worse.

thanks for letting me rant folks grinning smiley

And nope, I didn't mention the rude lady in my report either.

Also, I'm not particularly great at grammar and sentence structure. Meh.


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PS the business casual clothes/suit I had on only cost me something crazy like $0.06 because I had a $20 off my first purchase coupon on a second hand thrift shop online.. and they had free shipping + 75-99% off select items that were non-returnable.

My hair was self fixed into a french braid, the makeup I wore was organic, all natural, hippie dippie items I received with coupons, from giveaways, and using ExtraBucks, and I did my own french manicure with free polish and stickers I was given.

My grandpa was a sharecropper.

I remember being 16 and using the outhouse...cooking on a wood-burning stove...slaughtering hogs...hunting deer, squirrel...eating baked 'possum, hedgehog, and many MANY meals of cold baked sweet potatoes.

My oldest son is in business for himself...my younger son lives in San Francisco, and does something in tech...my daughter is a nurse.

I think I had one manicure in my life. It's been at least 10 years since I went to a hair salon, and that was for my daughter's wedding.

I hear ya!
You should be proud of yourselves! I would much rather be stuck on a desert island with someone who knows how to prepare a "from scratch" meal over a wood fire than some broad with her "shiny shoes, slick dress, and catlike finger nails" who is likely starve to death while she worries about breaking a nail. Isn't it ironic that the person BEHIND THE COUNTER comes from a well-to-do family, yet the person whom she is mocking is THE CUSTOMER?! That fool doesn't sign your paycheck--don't waste another minute worrying about what she thinks!
I just can't believe how rude people are to total strangers....who the hell is she to make assumptions about someone she doesn't even know?
You'd never know my childhood story, and I mean NEVER, from looking at me, talking to me, or watching me with my friends or my son. I doubt I'm the only person out there who today is nothing like where/what/how she came from.
I don't assume I know @#$%& about what anybody else has experienced either.

BTW, your story is awesome! I wish I knew how to do all the things you grew up doing. Those are valuable skills!
I think that you are awesome and it sounds like you have learned how to take care of yourself from the way that you were raised. I feel so badly for what I take for granted. I guess you just do not want to believe that people are still forced to live so humbly. I really applaud you.

I have come across so many rude people, lately. I just do not understand why?? Why be mean and rude to someone that you do not even know? I would just never!
To me you sound very accomplished. My husband grew up in a similar manner, but he is 72
I thought it was kind of outrageous. It was the day before Christmas and this woman doesn't know me (although her family is fairly well to do and well known in town since they own half a dozen auto places, buildings, and gas stations) and as I was working on the audit, she cracks a snarky remark for no reason. I was friendly, as I always am with everyone I met at the place. The southern part of me is always extra nice, with emphasis on the "ice" part winking smiley I know that I had a lot of tech with me, but the small laptop was to hookup and double check documents, the phone has all of my work information, contacts, texts and calls, the camera was so that I could get nice photos of everything, and the tablet was for portability while in the building to make sure photos were uploading to the cloud and that I was receiving any feedback from work as we did the audit.

I grew up in good ole farm country and moved three hours north to a small town on the outskirts of a few hubs. smiling smiley We celebrated Christmas without devices because they just do not work at Grandma's house. We all sat, ate, talked, and played card games for 7 or 8 hours. They live on a one lane road that was paved almost 40 years ago and never touched again. They have a gravel and dirt drive with an old 67 & 78 Chevy in the back yard and a couple of cats outside to catch vermin. They're still the kind of folk who only dress up nice for church & funerals and of course "goin' out". They were happy to get a new bath tub installed after having the same one since 1962 in their honeymoon house. smiling smiley

What gives folks the desire to just smart off to strangers? I suppose she would have been sweet as cream to me had I any power of her job -_0


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/25/2016 05:26PM by clinen11.
LeslieKay, I agree. So much self-absorption, nonsense-absorption, etc. I agree with prince, too! clinen, you've brought yourself into a better lifestyle, yet don't seem to scurry after unnecessary things. Contentment is something I greatly admire in others. I am truly blessed, but I sense you are, as well, with your disposition and good attitude. May great things happen to you in 2017.
We're happy to have our little 650ish sq ft, wi-fi, cellphone service, hourly jobs, and cats smiling smiley I don't usually have people over because we're so cramped and simple but we're both working and no longer on farm land like our families. Still, I definitely say YES when there is fresh cow butter, duck eggs, bantam eggs, hen eggs, canned goodies, milk, buttermilk, homemade "pone", homemade jams, and garden produce to be passed my way grinning smiley

That's pretty awesome, clinen. I once lived on a sailboat. Not nearly as glamorous as it sounds and it wasn't very comfortable to sleep on, but I saw a lot of amazing things. I ate a lot of fish that year, LOL. I love fish but that year I grew a little tired of it.
Haha. Often, glamorous isn't what we're in it for smiling smiley I imagine it's kind of like living in an RV. It's nifty, but cramped and different and limited.

For sure. How I got there was the sad and hard part, but I survived and overcame the obstacles that led me down that path. I did have a comfy childhood, unlike you, but I learned what it was like to live meagerly as a young adult. I am doing well now and am happy. Glad you are too smiling smiley
Grammar comes with practice as well as sentence structure. I have to watch myself. When I am tired I fall into Spanish grammar and structure in English. Leave out subjects.

You should share more experiences more often. Wear them as a badge of pride. Better yet, help those of your generation deprived of experiences such as you had growing up. It does seem to connect one to the past.

I've been discussing setting up a primitive camp on a couple of my farms in Costa Rica. I like programs that show young people learning skills such as noodling. I remember my summer of noodling. No one told me about using a stick to make sure there were no snakes up the hole.

Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there.
Richard Feynman-- letter to Ashok Arora, 4 January 1967, published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) p. 230
I am 63 years old, and also grew up very poor...my mom was on welfare because our dad took off on the 4 of us kids. We all made it through, but I can SO relate to many of the ways in which you grew up. I think you are wonderful...all you have gone through has made, and will continue to make you an even more wonderful and resourceful person. You will DEFINITELY make it in this life NO MATTER WHAT life throws at you! I wish I knew you personally! God bless you!
clinen11, there will always people who feel the need to be snobs. My grandmother always told me that those type of people were to be ignored because they were projecting what they felt was lacking in their own lives. .

I attended a private and what is still considered a prestigious high school. The popular girls had parents who were mucky mucks in the tire industry, owned car dealerships, etc. I was never a member of the popular group. I'll never forget when I was laughed at for trying to run for office in my high school. I was devastated with the ridicule from the girls who's parents lived in the mansions on the way to school.

My friends told me I should have told everyone what my parents owned, because the parents of the rich kids didn't own what my parents had. I said no. Class is based on your confidence, your willingness to work hard and volunteer work. It was not and never is supposed to be someone owns more than you, lives in a fancier neighborhood.

You have skills that people would pay money for in big cities. You have a work ethic, that responsible schedulers need and reward.

Let me put this in terms that may or may not make sense. A few years back, I was waiting for my tires to be rotated. I was knitting socks. A couple of young ladies, who's verbal grammar was atrocious made some snarky remarks. The gentleman sitting across from me made a point of saying I wish I was doing something productive other than reading the paper. I responded with if I could grab the Wall Street Journal from your hands right now, I'd be reading it. We smiled and giggled. The two young ladies thought we were old and continued to text and play games on their phones.

DO NOT! I mean it DO NOT!, allow anyone to make you feel you're not better than they are.

PS, I buy all my clothes on clearance, thrift shops or make them. Saving money is a good thing.

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning; the devil shudders...And yells OH #%*+! SHE'S AWAKE!
I would also like to add that you have a skill for writing in that you really put yourself into what you wrote. I found it so interesting to read all that you went through growing up. Someday I hope you consider seriously writing a book about your upbringing....I can see it even as another "Waltons"-type show....I found it so interesting! And you will be able to survive when others cannot. You are special.
You are more self sufficient than the majority of the population. You will always appreciate and enjoy things more than the average person. Most people would rather judge other people instead of improving themselves. You are miles ahead of most.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away
I definitely learned a lot growing up and there is much more I could stand to learn. I love hearing the stories of my grandparents and parents (mom+stepdad) but they also make me sad. Sometimes I have little dilemmas and it's amazing the ideas my mom and grandma can come up with off the tops of their heads. I hope that I can be that witty at their age(s). I'm not big on hand washing if I can avoid it these days, but I still love to sun dry my clothes and blankets.

I'll admit I'm addicted to my tech these days. My mom bought me a Kindle after me begging her not to spend the money and I love it! I didn't think it would be as nice as a book, but I'm enjoying it too much. I've read 12-14 books this month, alone. I also find myself on YouTube a lot. It's great for when I want to learn new crochet patterns, macrame, or clay designs for my crafting. I've also been working with a wood burner and trying to learn to wire wrap. Coworkers call me a modern day hippie or a young grandma tongue sticking out smiley

Oh, and Bantam grinning smiley You may hear it called a "bainy" or a "banty"

My mom realized that she had made a poor choice with my biological father and I was her only one. The same thing happened with my boyfriend. He's an only kiddo too.

clinen, LOL, I had to read what you wrote about hand washing three times to make sure I understood it correctly before the lightbulb went off and I realized you were talking about clothes. At first I thought you were saying you didn't like to wash your hands, blahahahahahahaha!
smiling smiley I'm great about washing my hands. It's hand washing the clothes that I don't care much for. I usually hand wash the undergarments after they have piled up and nothing is left to wear! I'm happy with the indoor washing machine. I'm also happy to have an electric 220 stove.

There are people who don't like handwashing though.

I'm used to seeing grungy hands around here. Coal miners, laborers, and mechanics are notorious for grabbing a bite when they can sneak in a break and who has time to wash their hands on a 30 minute lunch break?

There's no way that someone as intelligent as you would not be washing their hands. That's why I had to read it three times to sink in. And I know people who don't like to wash their hands, too. It creeps me out when they invite me over for dinner, LOL.
When my first cousin and I go out anywhere, she loves when she lets me push the stroller because I'm so blunt with strangers. I will put the canopy up over him (he's only a few weeks old! He's new, don't get him dirty) and when someone touches the stroller or tries to dive their face into his canopy, I have no qualms asking them when the last time they washed their hands was or what the last thing they held or touched was. I know he needs to get some germs and build up his immune system, but not through grandma's disgusting fingernails or kitty litter hands. I'm mean. grinning smiley

Positively, absolutely not mean! When my SIL was pregnant it was all I could do not to slug people that tried to rub her belly.
When my niece was born, I was even more fierce.

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning; the devil shudders...And yells OH #%*+! SHE'S AWAKE!
@clinen1 1 wrote:

(he's only a few weeks old! He's new, don't get him dirty)

Have you read "The Glass Castle" by chance? It's more of an autobiography about how a woman came from beyond meager means to living in a penthouse in NYC. It was a great read and sounded similar to your story. Good on you for holding calm when the cashier made those comments. We all have stories, how can someone guess ours from one glance?!

Doing what I can to enhance the life of my family! I LOVE what I do smiling smiley
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