Growing Up Poor

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Growing up Poor
I did not realize until about the 5th grade, what being poor was all about. From kindergarten until then, kids didn’t really pay attention to what you wore to school, what type of home you lived in, or what your parents did for a living. What mattered was how nice you were, that you shared your toys, and took turns on the playground. Fifth grade started a whole new chapter in life. It started with a new school with both familiar and unfamiliar faces and with that, new challenges that included trying to fit in with your peers. Not until I started getting questions like, “You get free lunch? How?” or being stared at while standing in the ‘free lunch line’ as it was called in school, did I realize that I was different from a lot of my friends. I wasn’t in the same “class” as them, I was poor. Every year, my sisters and I struggled with this inside and outside of school and every year, seemed to be a different struggle. The car my mother drove that used to be a lot of fun to ride in, was now too embarrassing to be seen getting into or out of. My sisters or friends and I, would sit in the very back of our old wood trimmed station wagon and wave to the cars behind us or make silly faces. Back than seatbelts weren’t mandatory. Every August and January, my mother would take us shopping at the local thrift store and it felt like Christmas when you found a name brand article of clothing that didn’t have a stain or small hole in it somewhere. Only after overhearing other kids talk about shopping at certain stores or going to the mall did I realize nobody else went there unless they were poor and certainly didn’t discuss it.

The fun trailer that everyone loved to go to for sleepovers or birthday parties was now becoming the eyesore of the neighborhood. I loved the times I was allowed to get off the bus at a friend’s home because I wouldn’t have to be seen getting of the bus at home. felt better being able to get off the bus at...
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