Growing Up Rich

My childhood home was just four rooms heated by a big black stove in the kitchen.  We had no phone, no car, and a pull chain toilet in the basement.  Money was tight and there had to be enough left each month to pay the rent.

I spent my days in youthful endeavors.  Playing baseball in the field where the high school now stands.  My dad, a laborer, walked to work every day regardless of weather.  I cannot remember him ever staying home.  My mom typed envelopes evenings for the local fuel oil company to earn extra money.

At suppertime, my mom would stand on the back steps and ring a cow bell, calling me home.  Every kid in the neighborhood knew what the bell meant.  Responding was not an option.  I would quickly ride my bike home, wash my hands, and join the family at the table.  The food was not plentiful, but was prepared with love.  I never went hungry.

When I was in my teens, my dad took ill and could no longer work.  He spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital.  Mom got a job at Woolworth’s and I got a couple of paper routes.  My earnings were split with my parents.

Neighborhoods were tightly knit then.  Bad news arrived home before you did.  Fruits of backyard gardens were shared and a helping hand lived right next door.

School clothes, always clean and ironed, were few in number and they were just that.  School clothes. You took them off when you got home and pulled on some old jeans with iron on patches on the knees.  Shoes were passed down from my brother, their lives extended by glued on half-soles or cardboard, cut to shape and stuffed inside.  But mostly, I wore my high top P.F. Flyers.

Christmas meant a cut tree in the living room with strings of large colored lights.  Our stockings were hung on hooks behind the black stove, to be filled overnight with oranges, apples, candy, and maybe a toy.  We were allowed to take one gift to bed with us to be opened in the morning before getting up. We thought we were the luckiest kids in town.

Sitting here now, reflecting on my childhood, I think how hard it must have been to make ends meet, but meet they did.  I think of all the things my folks must have gone without to make sure that their kids didn’t..  We learned early the value of a dollar.

I think of the life lessons learned, like respecting my elders.  My folks taught me not only to know the difference between right and wrong, but also to practice it.  Their values became my values and have stood me in good stead for over a half century.  But their greatest gift of course was the love and guidance they provided.

I realize now all my memories are good ones.  My folks gave me everything it was important for me to have.  And although I didn’t realize it then, I understand now how lucky I was to have grown up rich.

About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at poormanspoet.wordpress.com to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Growing Up Rich

  1. kathy Norris says:

    Love

    Like

  2. I an reblogging this. That’s how good it is. I could see it all, such is your gift of telling a story.

    Like

  3. Reblogged this on Trucker Turning Write and commented:
    I spotted this on a fellow blogger’s site.
    Read it for yourself.

    Like

  4. Sue C. says:

    Great testimony of love and he was blessed for sure. Thanks for sharing Frankie.
    How’s the running going? 🙂

    Like

  5. Cheryl says:

    Rich indeed. Thanks for reblogging Frankie, so we could all share the memories.

    Like

  6. So beautiful. So sweet and open. You were lucky indeed.

    Like

  7. laurie27wsmith says:

    I enjoyed this Bob. My childhood paralleled yours, minus the working father. Due to WW2 mine wasn’t the nicest man in town. We never went hungry, I know mum did. Hand me downs were common, that never bothered me except I had to wear my elder sisters knickers and socks. 😦 If we had the love then I think it would have been better. All we had was abuse on all levels. I envy you your immense wealth Bob.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s