Her Parents Never Let Her Know Just How Poor They Were

I was around 8-years-old when my dad got laid off. I remember that moment distinctly because my mom collapsed in my dad’s lap and would not stop crying. We were already poor at that point, but that was a breaker. For the next 3 years, me and my 2 other siblings lived mostly off bread and peanut butter.

I collected pennies starting at age 4. By age 9 I had around 2100 ($21 worth). I loved the collection and would count them all about once a month. One day my mom sat me down with tears in her eyes. She told me how sorry she was, but wanted to know if she could have 100 pennies to go buy bread. I remember thinking that the store had decided to only accept pennies.

As bad as it was, our parents did an incredible job of hiding how poor we were from us. We were too young to notice a lot of it, and they never took their financial stress out on us. When I was 12, my dad, got a good job and we were old enough that my mom was able to start working. My mom started as a lunch lady, became a teaching assistant, then went to college at night at age 42 for four years to become a full-time teacher. To come from where they were to where they are now is still an incredible inspiration to me.

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