Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different?
Okay, I know this scenario exists. Wrong side of the tracks, Skid Row, uptown, downtown, the Projects, Millionaire Mile, and all the other names we give to places to make it clear what’s what on the dollar scale.
It just doesn’t matter to me.
I grew up for the first ten years of my life in North Minneapolis. Some people wouldn’t want to admit that. It’s not exactly a posh neighborhood these days.
Then we lived in a suburb of Portland, Oregon for a year; moved into the city itself and rented three places that I loved, all for different reasons. When I was 14, we moved to St. James, Minnesota. Little farm town. The wealthy and the poor were there, too. I had friends all across the spectrum.
Sure, I knew there were divisions. I knew there were places I’d never go, clothes I would never wear, possessions I’d never have. I became more aware of such things in high school, as most of us do, but still it didn’t matter much. I did well in school, did lots of extra-curricular things and had a very diverse group of friends.
College? Things became a bit more pronounced there. I had to work. Many other students didn’t. They got to be involved in things I could only dream about. Still, I had a great time.
Marriage, kids. A big church where financial standing didn’t matter a whole lot.There was one family, very well-to-do, who opened their home and yard often to a wide range of people from poor to not-poor, and we all had a great time together.
I’ve really never suffered or worried over not being from the right side of the tracks. Maybe I lived a protected life. I know terrible poverty exists, and I know not everyone has a story like mine.
Just to clarify, we were very poor when I was a kid. There was nothing extra. Hand-me-downs were the standard, with no attention paid to labels. We’ve worked hard, studied hard, and done pretty well, as you can in America. At least, you could. I don’t know if you still can.
Still, I’ve pretty much lived happily ever after.