I Am Poor, and Very Afraid

I too am afraid of being poor. I grew up in an upper middle class South Texas family and never "wanted" for anything. I was in college during the materialistic Reagan years and my boyfriend at the time (husband now) grew up with a mother who was as liberal as they come as the state president of the League of Women Voters. We did not buy into the yuppie values and instead ran away to San Fransisco to follow the Dead. We lived off of falafel and bartered for everything and eventually ended up living in a commune of sorts and had our 1st child. As our baby approached her 1st birthday, I was desperately homesick for my large family. We packed our meager belongings into a trailer and headed south. We held onto our hippie values as many of our deadhead "friends" graduated from college and went to work for the same corporate pigs we all made fun of. Never did it occur to us to plan for the future, go back to college or try to better ourselves in any financial way. Devastating things have happened to us: My husband was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease in 2002, right after graduating Culinary school in Portland  and getting a job as a kitchen manager of an upscale deli making $45,000 a year. He was told to get out of the business as it was very stressful and he would end up on dialysis very quickly. Fast forward 20 years; My husband is unable to work as the result of a  severe, debilitating panic disorder,  and I make $13.00 an hour as an assistant director in a childcare center. We had to file bankruptcy in March and we live paycheck to paycheck. Our younger 2 kids know what it means to eat a jelly sandwich for dinner 2 nights in a row because we are 2 days away from payday. They know what it like to take all the change found in the car, couch and random places to scrape enough together to buy gas. Yes, I made my bed and now I lay in it. I should have realized somewhere around the turn of the century to get on my company's 401K plan. I can't now. That extra $? It goes for food on the table. Am I bitter? Yes, sometimes. More though I am afraid of where we will be when I can no longer work. We are $100 away from homelessness every week. Sadly, we are not alone. I just keep taking care of my family as well as i can and hope nothing catastrophic happens to us. I am 40 and I feel 80...such is this life of ours.

wifeofbipo wifeofbipo
36-40, F
7 Responses Jul 27, 2008

You were very honest. You seemed to take responsibility for the situation you are in right now. I am glad to see that you are able to tell people the true story of how you ended up this way.<br />
<br />
Some of us ended up in a bad situation because of personal choices. It's not always the circumstances that forced us to be, but we made a series of choices to reach those circumstances. <br />
<br />
With that said, get all the help you can get and make for yourself a better future.

Are you on public assistance because if you are not then you should be. It's okay to be on public assistance if you really need it, that's what it is there for. Whatever you do try to advance forward even if it is just a tiny step hear or there. And whatever you do DON'T SLIP ANY FURTHER! It sounds like you and your family are at the edge of the abyss and I assure you that if you fall in and do actually become homeless, then the hardships that you are currently going through will seem like paradise to the newer and seemingly iron-clad hardships that would come with being homeless. That's truely the abyss of U.S. society and very few people walk out whole if at all.

race2amb, you must be in a very good position to be able to say that people can choose not to be poor. It reminds me of my friend, a gifted singer, who believed that with singing lessons anyone could carry a tune. Not so true. My husband has been out EVERY DAY without fail for the past 3 months looking for a job. He responds to every ad, online or in the papers. He does follow up calls and visits. He cold calls companies even when there are no jobs posted. Yet here we are, poor as dirt. What wrong choice is he making here? I can only assume with those ignorant comments that you are a spammer, looking for fools to email you in order to collect their addresses. Shame on you

I strongly believe that most people choose to stay poor. The reason why I came to this conclusion is because I represent a company that have create a business model that would eliminate poverty from the world for only $6. Most people sit and wait for hand-out instead of looking for ways to liberate themselves from poverty. I can't stand pity parties, I am telling you NOW, if you are truly tired of being poor, and you are willing to spend $6 to liberate yourself. You must be willing to follow 4 simple steps. I have very broke in the pass, because of this opportunity I will be broke (or poor) no more. The choice is yours, if you are ready to change your circumstances let me know. Feel free to share with anyone who would like to get on the road to financial freedom. If you are serious about never having to do without, e-mail me at race2amb@gmail.com (subject: be more no more) and let's work together to abolish poverty throughout the world.

and i bet your a republican

I think these stories are terrible. It makes me appreciate living in the UK. Here, the state will provide benefits to help people who are unemployed, disabled, or sick. They will pay your rent, within reason and give you enough to eat and heat your home. You are very unlikely to be put out on the street here. Also they will give your children free meals in school and there is free medical and dental care. Of course we pay a lot more tax than in US, but there is a price for everything. Most countries in Europe do similar things for their citizens, and if you are in another<br />
European country for some reason and need health care there are recipricol agreements with most of them.

Wife and Dwight: Both of your stories have touched my heart!<br />
<br />
In the 70's, I had a few years when the money was very lean and payday couldn't come fast enough. I learned to stretch a package of hotdogs into 3 meals, so we could have some type of meat to eat. The big garbage bin behind the grocery store offered many fruits and veggies that weren't spoiled. The bread store trash bin offered many good bread and pastry items, even if they were stale. I was of the group that did "dumpster diving" for food for survival. <br />
<br />
A program called "WIC" (Women, Infants, Children) supplied my daughter and I with milk, juices, cheese and cereals. <br />
<br />
My daughter and I had a bed with sheets and blankets to sleep in, hot and cold water, a old B&W TV that worked, a car to drive and a nice basement apartment with cheap rent, that we called home. We were happy and that is what counted!!

I grew up in a lower middle class family and my father worked hard. We never went hungry or wanted for anything. We weren't rich but we got by. I knew poverty in my teens when I met a girl I was serious with and we decided to move in together. Actually we had planned to get married but my wife was at the age where she needed consent and her mom nixed the idea. It was the early 70's and "living together" was more than frowned upon. I had only begun working and was fresh out of high school. We rented an attic apt. in a city and we had nothing. We slept on an old mattress on the floor and the rest of the furnishings we scrounged from the garbage. There wasn't a working fridge in the apt., so we had to keep perishables like milk on the ledge outside the window. (oh, this only worked in the winter). When we wanted to know what time it was, we looked out the window at the bank clock down the street. The place had bad wiring so we were unable to use an air conditioner and there was never enough hot water coming up to heat the radiators so you roasted or froze depending on the season. We had no phone except one that I had tapped into my neighbors line and only could dial out. (When he wasn't home) Things came slowly and now we have all of those luxuries. I commented to my wife that we were always poor and now the rest of the world has caught up to us. Funny thing is we were happy back then and just rolled with the punches. Going through such privations bound us together into an unbreakable bond that has endured for more than thirty five years. I pass the old building at times, the neighborhood went down the drain and I cant imagine living there now. I still look up at the attic windows when I am sitting at the red light and the memories come flooding back. When I told a co-worker the story he was calling me "Gilligan" ... as in no phone, no lights, etc. I have told my wife over the years that if there is an afterlife I will be there living in the place where I was happiest. Hello to all my friends here on EP.