Being Poor, and Unaware

Jim Parton
5 min readSep 20, 2023
Author (center) family photo and sisters

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.Abraham Lincoln

My “middle sister” recently visited us in Iowa as we celebrated her birthday. She and I have had a close relationship over the years, and I miss her the minute her taillights are in the distance. We live about 12 hours apart but visit each other at least once a year. I am turning 70 years old soon. She is a bit older.

While she was here, we played “Remember When” as we always do. This had me reflecting on our childhood. I’ve always wondered why I never recall knowing or even feeling that we were poor. I never had a worry about being fed, about not having something others had, or even worrying about what would be next. I credit my mother for this. She never let us know if she was worried, so I suppose we didn’t worry. But I know she did enough worry for all of us.

We grew up in Southern Oklahoma in the fifties. My mother had all five of us by the time she was 25. Our father was a high school graduate and worked trucking jobs. They got married in High School and started having babies. We moved often due to following the itinerate nature of crops and job opportunities in hauling produce and wheat or other agricultural products.

My little stressed-out mother made the best use of country cooking possible. Lots of pan gravy, and lots of chicken that we raised. Canning everything from the garden and vegetables that friends and neighbors shared. Taking in ironing and working in a laundry provided her a bit of extra income, and none of us worked without contributing to the “family pot” for my mom to shop with or pay bills.

“To be a farmer is to be a student forever, for each day brings something new.” -John Connell

As a child and now as an adult I have been blessed to have never been jealous or envious of others and what they have in life. I know my mother must have been under a tremendous amount of pressure because my father was most often gone, working on the road as a trucker. Even now I seldom stress about money and seem to be content with what my husband and I have accomplished in life, and with our “lot”, I suppose.

I have always known where every dime I have come from, and how I came to have it. I worked to put myself through college, with support only…



Jim Parton

Retired Teacher and Funeral Celebrant. The gay and married dad of three grown children. I have always been fascinated by the human condition. Come read with me.