I grew up in Perfectville USA, a quiet town with great schools and neighborhood after neighborhood of beautiful houses with manicured yards and pretty cars parked safely out of sight in their garages. Now drive past all those houses and you get to my street, one single ugly street just within the city limits where the immigrants, the single moms, and the poor people rented old dirty houses.

There were dandelions instead of lawns, broken down cars no one could afford to tow away, and sheets hung up for curtains. I love this street. This is where a small group of kids would come home from school where they were made fun of for wearing thrift store clothes, or for speaking with an accent, or for smelling bad because your family couldn't afford to take showers everyday. But there were no worries here, no embarrasment, because we were all the same.

This was the neighborhood where kids really knew how to play. We had to use our imagination, and the open space around us, because we didn't have many toys. Some had no tv's, so they would come over and watch cartoons on our tiny rabbit eared black and white tv. We ate in each other's homes, and had real home cooked meals from different parts of the world, meals that other kids would turn their nose up to and head to McDonald's.

That neighborhood is gone. Developement has taken over, taken away that one dirty spot, and now the town is perfect.

deleted deleted 26-30 29 Responses Aug 28, 2008

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I have realized over and over in my 65 years on this earth just how blessed I am for family and friends to stand by me no matter what state I am in. I grew up on a farm. We grew our vegetables and had chickens, cows and pigs for meat. We did not go shopping for clothes very often, as my grandmother made all our clothes and we wore hand me downs. We were taught to stretch our dollars and make it last. Learning to manage what I had has made me a better wife and Mom.

Look ahead to the future love, the world moves on xxx

Miley xxx:)

Oh my God I thought Poverty was only in India. Anyway glad that all of you are doing fine

well..most of us in the Philippines live like that..every poor family have more than 3 children so they gotten poorer..with no job available to fathers and mothers who didnt have proper education and haven't been able to be in the 7th grade and there are not much public schools to cater all the incoming students of poor families...but being with the family..having a great time with friends and being closed to them and treating everyone well is enough to make you happy..Nice story I might say..You let me feel how happy you are on those days and how sincere you are for loving that kind of life..We have a saying here "That a person who don't looked back on who he used to be,will never get to who he want to be"..I bet God is giving you blessings now for loving what He gave you before


Well written! Thank you for sharing, and apparently alot of people can relate - along with myself. I changed homes alot, throughout different members of my family, and I can remember in 8th grade I lived with my sister and her husband, and FINALLY we had plenty of food and a house to live in - BUT my brother in law was sexually abusive, so that home turned out to be a negative experience regardless of the financial stability... I do agree with what was said above about how kids like us were fortunate because of poverty because it taught us how to appreciate things.

I loce your story and can identify with it so well. I really wish more could have enjoyed what we did.

Ironic that everyone loses, including the rich, when too few children are taught the creativity and hard-work it takes to make-do with less. Entitlement and absence of personal responsibility is the downfall of our society. Analogous are those perfect lawns, whose pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer toxins are ultimately washed far and wide to poison the earth..., while the dandelions in my yard make a nice salad or wine, in addition to being pretty nice flowers with fun flying seeds! :)

This will amaze you all....

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?" "It was great, Dad." "Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked. "Oh Yeah" said the son. "So what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."

With this the boy's father was speechless. Then his son added, "Thanks dad for showing me how poor we are."

I have a dandilion lawn ......... and I love it ! It's green, it's all natural and if a kid tears out a chunk while kicking around his ball ....... I really don't care. It will grow back in three days.

You won't find a 1500 dollar propane BBQ in the backyard either. Instead, you'll find an old propane BBQ which was pulled from someone's junk pile, cleaned up, repainted, and refitted to use charcoal.

It cost me a total of 7.00. It turns out steaks tastier than any fancy propane BBQ could ever do.

The 50 dollar steaks from the restaurant near by can't come close. ( I had one ..once !)

I grew up with very little. Had loving parents and learned to respect others. Also learned to make due with what I had. There is nothing about my life's past that I would change.

i wish i had a lawn made of dandilions

I grew up there too. Many times I was hungry, and I was the one picked on about thrift store clothes. Comin from this environment, I believe, makes you strong. It also makes you an observer of life. I also think it makes you appreciate all the things you have managed to accumulate from the sweat of your labors.

I grew up there too. Many times I was hungry, and I was the one picked on about thrift store clothes. Comin from this environment, I believe, makes you strong. It also makes you an observer of life. I also think it makes you appreciate all the things you have managed to accumulate from the sweat of your labors.

So far I've spent part of my life financially American style poor - upper poor mainly, and part of it middle class mostly lower middle class with the occasionally snippet or glimpse of more.

Some of it is depressing - like worrying about health care, dental care, dentures reallly do look better than gaps in the old folks mouths, ....and how to make the most of oneself with severe fiscal restrictions. In some ways its worse in a city where money has more direct and overt power and crime is often present when there isn't much money which is not true in the countryside where it doesn't make a difference the same way....the trees and the animals don't give a rat's butt whether or not you have cash...but the cops and the shopping malls really do....I have been able to be poor but happy at times but at other times it was a real stressor. Also, I like having more money better but I have been hurt the most by another person when I had more money - one of the same people who gave me the most money also harmed me the most severely which gave a bad vibe to the whole thing...I agree with the peopler who prefer community to the lack of it...but I don't hate the wealthy either....class antagonism and misunderstandings are a drag....that's my opinion.

I lived for a while in Pensacola, Florida. At first, I lived with friends on the "white" side of town. It was quiet, everyone stayed holed up in their houses with the windows shut and air conditioning on. Lovely houses, nobody's home.

Then I moved to the "black" side of town, the side that most of the white people were frightened of. Everyone was always outside, congregating and laughing. Kids played in the streets. Even the prostitutes were accepted. No social status, just acceptance. There was a real sense of community there, and I was very happy there.

I love your story. It spits in the face of the capitalistic ideology of this country. Children are becoming overweight, programmed drones by the indoor activity, pretending to play real games on their Wii, living out other people's lives on terrible tv's sad.

A wonderful story, TT.

One of my favorite storytellers is Earl Hamner. He created the television series, "The Waltons," and wrote many of the episode scripts. His is the mellifluous and textured voice of the show's narrator. The series told the story of one Depression era family; poor in finances, but rich in love and character. I had the rare privilege of exchanging emails with Earl last year. He'd enjoy your narrative, TT. In fact, with your permission, I'd like to send it along to him.


People who go through being poor have a different appreciation for what they have in the world. I'm trailer trash, btw.

Sweet story. I grew up poor too, but we were country poor people. And I lived in the south where "racial diversity" was something we were told about in school, and our wildest dreams of it were black and white people who lived near to each other and rode the same bus...We didn't even have hispanic kids until after I was already out of school.

Well, the hose had to work. That little dog kept peeing on my dog's head. It is so mean. It stands in the street and just stares down cars. The bigger ones are so dumb and confused. They usually walk away. It's the little ones that are mean!

21B all up in the hizzieee! I have to change my avatar, I look like such a nerd, lol!

I'm visiting the ghetto now! I've got the yard hose ready to spray stray dogs...the projects still have their Saturday sermons on the basketball court...I saw the funniest thing. All these kids were playing with basketballs and skateboards (where I am from the people are so ghetto here that they call each other racial slurs but the families are still close friends. So many mixed races here).

So one of the kids nearly falls off his skateboard as his friends where throwing basketballs. Because he didn't fall face flat, he pulls his shirt over his head and starts dancing crazy. They all start wooting and cheering. OMG! That was me and my friends! Except we got our bikes stuck in gutters...and fell out of trees seeing if we survived or not...I love the ghetto!

This is a great story. You embraced what you had (which was real) and didn't place value on what you didn't. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Teehee.. i love the nickname.. i sound like an island rapper.. Ice Tea aint got nothin on 21B, ya hurrdd.. lol.. been watchin too much MTV =)

Wait...I'm confused...are you talking about the same neighborhood or two different ones?

so i guess according to society you were poor. but in truth, you were more rich than the perfect town. you appreciated what you had, you know the worth of everything you get now and not take em for granted. i always thought i was poor, but up until my dad told me his story, i changed the way i looked at things. Great story TIny =)


What a touching story?

One of the best stories I've read on Experience Project. Excellent work Tiny. :)

It's true I remember when I was a kid and we were poor then my dad got a good job and we had money, but no more family.

I was smiling all through this story. Nice!

That was my neighborhood too! But it's still the same when I go back to visit. Everyone grew up and bought the houses next to their parents. So the grandkids run back and forth from house to house. The shopping carts are still scattered. Some kids still use them for make shift basket ball hoops, ha!