I’ve been reading this post on being poor.  It’s partly an explanation as to why a lot of people couldn’t evacuate from the path of hurricane Katrina.

It’s strange, but there were bits in it that brought tears to my eyes, because my family had been in that situation in the past and it brought back some memories that I thought I had forgotten.

I thank my luck that I’m no longer in that situation, but tonight, when I’m at work, I know that I’ll see signs of poverty at some of the houses that I go to – and that this post will make me think about it a lot more than I normally would.

An excerpt,

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends' houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won't hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.

Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn't have make dinner tonight because you're not hungry anyway.

7 thoughts on “Poor”

  1. I can add to that:Being poor is having to leave your two small children sleeping whilst you slip out at night to poach rabbits so they'll actually have meat to eat for the next few days.

    Being poor is sending said children to school in winter with rabbit-fur mittens made with hides you tanned yourself from those self-same rabbits, fur on the inside.

    Being poor is going foraging the hedgerows for rosehips to make rosehip syrup because you can't afford fresh fruit or fruit juice and you desperately want to make sure the children get enough vitamin C.

    Being poor is foraging for wild mushrooms, nuts and berries – not for fun, but because you need to so your children will eat.

    Being poor is handwashing your children's clothes in the bath on a daily basis because the washing machine broke down, you can't afford to replace it and you can't afford the laundrette. And you're doing it with home-made soap because you can't really justify the expense of commercial detergent or fabric conditioner.

    Yup, I've done all the above. Almost unbelievable in modern Britain, isn't it? But there you go.

  2. You're right – it does bring a tear to the eye. And sadly I don't think people in power relate to that, because few will have been there themselves.Arkady – I bet your kids are lovely, resourceful people.

    I don't know what to think about Katrina – it seems hard to believe that it's totally a race issue, or am I being naive? The difference, if this had happened to e.g Hollywood, is that rich people have the confidence and connections to kick up a fuss and get things done. And more rich people are white, or more white people are rich!

    Being poor is refusing invitations to socialise/go anywhere, with a well-used excuse.

    Being poor is living on your children's left-overs, and smiling modestly when people say how slim you are.

    Being poor makes you personally stronger, but socially weaker.

    Have just started reading your blog and your compassion is heart-warming.


  3. being poor is have hand me downs that have 29 other names on them in school biro.and you think you gone to heavan when your mate dad offer you a lift, as it the first time you have been in a car.

    i have to do the top one. thank god for Working family tax credit

  4. Oh boy. Thanks for the link Tom, I'd never have found it otherwise. I've added a long comment there, won't repeat it here. Fellow-feeling is in short supply these days – makes it doubly valuable when you come across it.

  5. Being poor is being in 30,000 of debt at 24, having an income of 0, and still the NHS thinks I should pay for prescriptions… even though I have worked for them for free for 3 years…

  6. Get a form HC1 Help with Healthcare Costs from your local Jobcentre.They'll probably insist that you're not eligible – they say that to just about everyone first time round. Appeal.

  7. Poor – don't mind it myself having been there and now know what to do if I'm there again (still shop at Netto instead of Tesco – some things don't change) But now I've two precious daughters, how do I tell them what to do right in life rather than make my mistakes all over again?

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