Okay so there’s a theme this week in a lot of peoples blogs and it has to do with a great articles that have been written by some great women with incredible strength and resiliency. Thanks to red, daisy, revanche.
This is not a contest to see whose childhood is worse and more heartbreaking but a way for us to open up to our readers into understanding our inner workings and maybe understand us more and why we are the way we are with our money and in some cases with all aspects of our life. I’m going to break this up into pieces. Or your going to feel like your reading a novel I’m also going to do a lot of point form because I’m not going to be able to go into great detail in order to try to keep this to a short story and not a novel (not going to well)
Okay here we go, after reading some of my friends stories I realize that I was not as poor as I thought I was, but we were definitely not rich in any standard of the word. I’ll give a brief synopsis of my parents upbringing and then I’ll primarily focus on my childhood because that’s where my ideals come from not my grandparents some maybe but the main context of my values in regards towards money were and are developed from my childhood.
- Grandparents on mom side. Grandma was a War Bride from Scotland married my Grandfather after her first husband was killed in the War (very shortly after being married) then moved to Canada. She never worked outside of the home (as far as I am aware) and raised my mom’s 8 brothers and sisters. My grandfather was a war vet who had issues w/Alcoholism/health and was never able to work at a steady job. Which required my mom’s family to move frequently. My mom’s family was raised in poverty, with no real stability. She was used to living off the land, hunting/catching their next meal, etc.
- Dad’s family my ma-mere and pa-pere were a contrast to my mom’s family always believed in a hard’s day living my ma-mere worked out the home for most of her adult life as a cook/cleaner etc, my pa-pere worked in construction, mining and was a talented carpenter. So my dad was raised to work, however he was also spoiled well as much as his parents could do so. (the only boy, baby of the family) They were not rich, but they were not suffering and did not raise my dad and his 3 sisters in poverty. I don’t really know much about their childhood except they raised on farms in Quebec so they know about working hard for a living and passed that onto their children. (mamere cooked from scratched, made clothes etc)
So yeah I had one extreme to the other. Most of my childhood my Dad did well had a full time job as a miner they had a rough time when I was 2 yrs old and attempted to move to another province that move didn’t go well dad lost his job and they moved home. Most of my parents problems had to do with choices that they made, they definitely bought into the buy now, pay later scenario as most people in the late seventies/early eighties and because of it struggled but not enough that we ended up in scenarios like mom.
I knew that we we didn’t have a lot of money growing up compared to my cousins, my friends. At a very young age I learned that you buy what you need, not what you want. But that didn’t stop my parents from putting things on layaway or paying in installments or blowing whole checks on stuff just because they wanted it. Anyways till I was about 8yrs old my childhood was relatively normal. I had a roof, food and gifts under my tree. Not as many as my cousins or neighbours but I knew that I was loved and that too me is way more important than material things.
That changed though when my parents split they did so 5 times over 4 years. This definitely changed our money situation my mom didn’t work outside of the home she collected social assistance, my clothes were hand me downs or bought at extreme low cost, brand names weren’t in our dictionary, groceries were not plentiful at all times but we had food, I never went hungry or without thanks to friends, family, salvation army and food banks.
Dad at this time started to have his own issues both with his finances as well as his health. When I was about 11 yrs old my dad got severely injured from working at the mine and that’s when life changed. Our finances went from mildly comfortable to difficult to say the least.
My dad went from making mining wages to living on Father’s Allowance because at the time of the injury the mine was stating that my Dad didn’t get hurt there that he actually injured himself at home anyways this started the years as what I like to to refer as my Dad’s fighting years because honestly since then it seems like that is all he has done is fight for something or other.
My brother and I had just decided to live w/my Dad when this all happened me and Mom were not getting along was an understatement due to some of her own choices she had made. Anyways dad started fighting and thank God that his Lawyer did not ask for payment till settlement was reached.
Anyways during this time several things occurred it was discovered that my Dad’s injury was worse then actual diagnosed and required surgery. After this surgery my Dad was no longer able to be employed at the age of 28 yrs was told he would not work again. It was like a cyclone that hit because after that damage my Papere was diagnosed w/cancer and my Dad left to look after him off/on for a year. We were left w/sitters and mom. They say it comes in threes because at that end of that year afer all the stress my Dad suffered a heart attack/breakdown and went away for treatment.
So yeah my Dad is fighting for his pension and after my Papere’s death he was willed the entire estate, but his family contested that so he started fighting to get that portion. He ended up walking away with a tiny share of that which at the time he used to buy a truck we didn’t have a good working vehicle at this time so my Dad thought it was a good investment. A brand new 1992 Chevy black truck it was gorgeous (sorry side tracked)
So these were the rough years were still living on assistance at this point, my mom chipped in when she could she had gone back to school and was working relief as a Development Service Worker, but she was still not making enough money and was living geared to income.
So my teenage years were hell to say the least, I did not fit in, I did not have the clothes, couldn’t go on the trips, eat out like my friends, movies, special events etc, no one had a clue how rough we had it at times.
The worse years were my last years of high school I don’t know why they got worse over the others but my Dad finances went down the tube worse then they were before we had times when we didn’t know if we would wake up and there would be hydro or gas or phone or food. My dad used to get loans from his family to tide us over but they got tired of helping he even attempted to get odd jobs doing stuff as much as he could physically handle.
He had one odd job where he worked for an Arab man manning his coffee counter running errands his restaurant/his wife as well as doing odd jobs around his house. My dad has skills in carpentry/computers so he used those when he could. Those were okay times because we would get food brought home to us from the restaurant and frozen yogurt whenever we went to visit Dad at work.
When I became old enough I babysat, that’s all I was allowed to do my parents didn’t want me growing up too fast that all they wanted me to focus on was school hard to do when your told all the hardships that they are facing with the finances, as a kid I wanted to help I was willing to go get a job to contribute but I was not allowed to.
I babysat my last summer before college. then I left where you would think life got easier right, wrong.
Part 2 contd in next entry.