People Are Revealing How They Grew Up Poor Without Actually Saying It (40 Pics)
When we’re kids, we all feel the same—little courageous adventurers ready to soak in the world with open arms. Children have no prejudice about the world, and no sense of disparity that only emerges later in life.
When looking back at your childhood years, mixed emotions may come up. For some it’s nostalgia of carefree days, for others it’s things that they didn’t notice back then that struck a chord. Like, eating chili beans for days in a row or taking it as a usual thing not to expect anything fancy for Christmas.
In fact, these are among the tweets that people shared when Twitter user Trevor Donovan asked people “Tell me you grew up poor, without telling me you grew up poor.” The thread is an eye-opening read about growing up impoverished as told by the little details that often stay unnoticed from an outsider's eye.
Didn’t have enough food because mother spent our money on church. Paid tuition to parochial school. Put cash in 2 collection plates & an envelope for The Bishops Fund special collection on Sundays. Paid coins to light candles. Her piety kept her kids hungry & cold
I hate religion
One Christmas, all three of us kids each got only a letter from my mom. Beautifully handwritten with her ink pen. I still treasure it to this day, 45 years later. I can only imagine how painful that was for her, working so hard but still always broke.
Making lots of friends meant you could go to other kids houses and get invited to stay for dinner. I would always sneak something to eat back home for my mom. She never asked me to do that, but I knew she was hungry.
Day 1 chili no beans Day 2 chili with beans Day 3 add macaroni to the remaining chili Day 4 add tomato juice to day 3 leftovers with paprika, it becomes goulash! Day 5 spoon remaining goulash over a baked potato How to Stretch your groceries at the end of the month
Used to pray for clothing that my mom didn’t sew. Now that I’m older I look back and marvel at how she did all of those things for us and I just see so much love.
We had a school uniform, so that was fine. But the occasional 'non-uniform day' would be horrifically embarrassing. I often pretended to forget and turn up in uniform anyway. Now I earn a reasonable amount, I still can't believe I can buy stuff whenever, like a book or a coffee or a new shirt. Part of my 32 year old head of department brain is still a poor 8 year old waiting patiently for Christmas.
Every piece of produce I ate at home, from 8-18 was grown in our backyard (and trust me we had it all). Seeds are cheaper, and weeding is a great punishment that doesn’t involve hitting your kids…
That teachers and lunch ladies are godsends. My teachers always asked me if I was hungry, had clothes, etc. The lunch ladies always gave me my lunch and breakfast for free, with extra food, because they knew it was the best opportunity for me to eat that day.
How bad powdered milk tastes after you've had real milk, and how good powdered milk tastes when you're truly hungry.
Going to bed hungry. Or purposefully leaving food so your parents could eat the leftovers since that would be their only meal... That hurts to think about, even now.
Margarine and cinnamon on bread? Cinnamon toast! Ate that all the time growing up
Packages of socks and underwear and other necessities wrapped up under the Christmas tree. Funny thing was, I thought those were the standard Christmas gifts until I got married and my husband was like, what’s with the socks and underwear for Christmas?
For fun, I would go to the city dump with my grandpa to peel proof of purchase labels off cereal boxes to be redeemed for refunds or prizes. I still have some of the dolls my grandpa got for me.
I am not attached to the concept of "liking" everything I eat. My son hates it, because I'm like "It's what we're having, and if you don't like it, better luck tomorrow." He's never had to learn from actual experience to be grateful he was getting anything at all.
My classmates used to make fun of me because I would wear the same shirt every day and my sneakers had holes in them. This is one of the reasons why we started our charity, Alice's Kids. Thanks for raising this issue, Trevor.
The guilt and anxiety in adulthood when you buy anything for yourself.
The need to not feel like you could lose everything at any minute.
Limiting your processions on the chance that any moment you may need to gather everything and leave never to come back.
Got a cold? Grab a roll of toilet paper. I still feel like kleenex is a luxury item for the Queen of Sheba but my partner has chipped away at that, apparently it's not actually that expensive.
Feeling guilty about getting Xmas presents as a child
Never answer the phone. It was always the bill collectors looking for money. Same with the front door. Go away nobody's home.
Everything around you can be a toy. My action figure collection included a stick, a mason jar, an off brand Barbie given to me by an older cousin, and a bunch of melted green army men that looked like a giant. We had the best adventures.
The only cheese we could get was the government commodities cheese ( which made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches BTW ) and the peanut butter that came with the commodities made yummy cookies
Drinking a lot of water before or during a meal makes you feel much more full
The generic isle at the grocery store. White boxes with black lettering.
My parents dumpster diving at the mall for birthday presents for us.
When you're at the end of your pay it is possible to live off instant coffee and biscuits stolen from the office tea room just so your cat can have food.
being excited to watch a Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network show at a friend's house
Picked up soda bottles from along the roadside to turn in for the deposit money.
Our Christmas toy was from the S&H Green Stamp store. New PJs & underwear completed the gifts. Fridays was soup Mom made from little bits left over during the week. It was pretty random. It emptied the frig, Sat was grocery day. She knew the price of everything in the store.
Used plain bread for hotdog AND hamburger buns. Also had a big container of powdered milk in the pantry for the kids to use.
We cut open the toothpaste to get every last drop out of the tube.
Did you have lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches? On a good day we had bologna on it, too.
Nothing was name brand. Instead of Fruit Loops we had Fruity O's
Instead of Fruit Punch we had Red Juice (gallon with a sticker on it that said Red Juice), instead of Chip Ahoy we had Captain Chipleys.
How to invent foods based on the limited amount of what you already have