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I was born poor but didn't know it because every one around me was poor and there was no TV then to show me how the other class lived. By ten we achieved being middle class because my mother went to work.  I have been considered rich twice because of who I married.  I was a single mother as an RN for ten years between marriages.

I worked as a private duty nurse starting at 26 for the really really wealthy in San Francisco.  From them I learned their coded symbols and particular paranoia's.  I was literally passed from rich family to rich family because of my skills which was not just nursing but the ability to step up and do what needed doing when it needed doing no matter what.  I learned that being poor.

The first guy I married was third generation upper middle class.  He never worked a real day in his life until 32--a lot like W.  His father was a general as was his grandfather--a lot like McCain.  His uncle was in Nixon's cabinet.  And of course he was a republican as was the family.  Both his father and grandfather went to Texas A & M and both were excellent scholars and athletes.  Both like Ike worked very hard to become very competent.  The father was one of FDR's aids at Yalta.  He also was an occupational commander.

His son, my husband, was raised on the local economy of an Asian country in Penthouse accommodations with a huge compliment of maids etc.  This was totally paid for by the US government and his father's salary was completely divided between IBM and Shell Oil.  When the father retired at 65, those stocks made him rich.

My husband was paid by the family to go to school.  They considered it an investment more important than having a job.  My husband had no skills and could neither use a hammer or a screwdriver.  Like Phil Gramm he did not want to go to Viet Nam so he got a wife with child.

While he went to school, he like W, had terrible grades and no ambition.  He did want things like a mink bed spread.  Finally, he decided he wanted to be doctor but having no grades etc. he had to have his father find a way.  Turns out one of his father's college roommates was a medical college president who not only admitted him but granted him a 4 year scholarship 1966-70 when medicare was being implemented.  As a sophomore in medical school he spent that summer in Texas studying practice management which was essentially how to make millions off medicare.

When we finally got a divorce, he wanted to sell our child in a private adoption and split the proceeds.  Since she was a girl, she had no value.  Another big republican trait.  Most of our arguments were about you promised to obey.  That is the nutshell of that marriage.

My second husband was first generation American who was raised upper middle class because his Jewish father from Romania invented and patented  as an uneducated window washer the levers and pullies and platforms for outside window washing of skyscrapers.  His mother worked in her father's dry good store.  Neither had substantial education.  When they married, it was arranged.  The father was 35 and the mother 16 because that is how long it took to get a house and car that was paid for then.

My husband was valvictorian of his high school and a lot of other extra curricular scholar programs.  His education was also an investment but being the best was a given because of the quota system for Jews in the major universities.  He was a CPA/Tax attorney at 25 making major money.  He formed an investment groups of Jewish veterans in LA and they build over 100 major apartment complexes in LA through the 60s and 70s which made each in every one of them rich.

My husband had three children -- all highly educated hippies who lived very interesting lives.  None of them worked at all until over 30.  All of the education was paid for and each had extensive world summer travel experience. They all speak well.  None of them can do anything in the way of actual skills. They were raised with live in maids etc.  Two became lawyers and one a psychologist.  None of them have been able to live like their father and none of them can do for their children what was done for them.

Traveling in these crowds unless you have a really serious trust fund and you are making a salary, you are working class rather you think so or not.  Almost everyone in this crowd including lawyers and doctors making 350,000 and technically in the 1%.  One financial mistake of significance, your fault or not, one major health break down in anyone and the odds of your surviving is not good.  And the system will not help you much and friends have been taught how to be social assets not lifetime commitments.

People in this upper middle class are struggling to give their kids the education they know is necessary and keep them in this class.  We paid 8500 for preschool in 1985 and 20,000 for middle school in 1995 that is annually tuition only no other expenses which are considerable.  If you have elder parents in assisted living etc., and most have, that is another major expense.  In this group, although it looks cool, it feels like a squirrel wheel and you are just running and running to stay in place.  In the 80's every one bought into the free market every thing.  Most of these people took huge blows in the stock market crash of 1987.  Those that climb the ladder know how bad the down the ladder is but do not have the time nor the ability to even think about saving any one but themselves.  The appeal of objectivism justifies this--if everyone takes care of themselves no one has to take care of any one else.  Only those who start really poor know this is a crock which is why major Hollywood stars who started really poor and working like carpenters like Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks stay democrats.

Now one of the things common to self made men in LA, is that they do not require their kids to learn any skills and these kids were raised on Big and don't think it is FICTION.  They think if they know some one to give them a position--it will just happen and all work out.  Think horse show attorney as head of FEMA.

These are the first middle class kids to grow up essentially with no chores, no duties, no responsibilities, and no consequences.  They are why we are falling apart as a country because a great look even on a rap sheet will get you job offers modeling for major companies of corporate propaganda that anyone can do it with the right clothes and accoutrements.  So if you need a credit care to do it--it is a great investment.  You like your country is so exceptional there is no way you can fail.

If you are born poor, you have learned to make do.  To cannibalize clothes, food, and furniture to make things work.  You have learned to endure and get over gossip, slander, and discrimination.  You are always looking for opportunities.  You live in communities where every one knows one false step will get you.  After all the cops patrol your streets to give tickets not to solve crimes.  If you are my generation you read a lot because it was cheap and it was effective.  If your generation no longer reads well, your thinking is both narrow and stressed because you no longer have time to think.  That is the major difference between then and now.  It is why I am not desperately poor and why my grandchildren may be.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting story. One of my parents came (7+ / 0-)

    from a dirt-poor farm family.  The other came from an upper middle class family that had lost almost everything.  When I was a child, we had plenty of airs and pretension, but not much money.  

    I've supported myself since age 17, never inherited a dime, and never got a dime from my family for college.  I had the highest test scores in my high school, but I had to work as a carpenter to earn enough to pay for my own college at a state school.  

    So I appreciate your comment about Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks.  

    At this point I have a good income and some assets.  But I could not possibly stop being a Democrat.  And I still have to work hard every day.  I'll never be able to retire.

    So many things have fallen apart in the United States that I think it's probably much harder nowadays to start with nothing and make a successful career entirely on one's own.  I would not have been able to do that without reasonable student loans and reasonable tuition at a good state college.

  •  I grew up poor and working class (5+ / 0-)

    My husband and I have worked our way into the middle class. Overall, my background has been an advantage to me, you always know you can survive. Growing up in a union household, I've never trusted my corporate employers and that attitude has served me well. Always amazed at how upper middle class people think you care so much about their opinions.

    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - President John F. Kennedy

    by laurel g 15942 on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 10:18:45 AM PDT

    •  I keep wondering how generational this is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, JamieG from Md

      and that those raised on TV are more susceptible and those raised by few and major corporate TV are even more susceptible.

      It looks to be that PTB believe it or you would not have the resurrection  of the Neocons and Banksters publicly stating that they are doing god's work.

      This is something that is being played out right now and I have no idea who is right as far as the numbers go.

      •  I think that what was available on TV has an (4+ / 0-)

        effect. When there were only 3 channels, we had a much more shared cultural background. Most of us knew what happened on All In The Family that week and it provided topics and viewpoints for conversations.

        When TV devolved to 24 hour cable channels and 'reality' shows scrambling to provide content and grab ratings, that shared context largely dissolved. And the conversations and common explorations of values disappeared.

        Just some observations.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
        ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

        by FarWestGirl on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 02:55:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The little girl your husband (5+ / 0-)

    wanted to sell. How's she doing?

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by JamieG from Md on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 11:28:07 AM PDT

    •  That is not a comment nor a diary but a book. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, flowerfarmer, JamieG from Md

      I am still working on it.  We have not spoken since the day my youngest daughter died.

      My husband left when she was two.  She never even got so much as postcard or phone call for 8 years.  He moved to Chicago.  He refused to pay child support etc.  He said to me go on AFDIC that is what I pay taxes for.

      Maybe the biggest mistake I made was never telling my daughter anything about her father.  I left her to figure that out for herself.

      Every summer she spent one half with the paternal grandparents and one half with the maternal.  She never really liked either of them which was justified.  But she got her clothes for school etc. by doing this.  Also horse lessons and camp etc.  I figured that experiencing the good, the bad, and the ugly was part of learning about life.

      He reappeared in her life at ten and became a Disneyland Dad.  Still unwilling to pay child support so she could go to better schools etc.  Suddenly, this beautiful thing was mine.  I will not pay you to keep her but I will have you declared and unfit mother and take her back.

      She went to live with him and went to Castalia School for girls in Atherton.  the oldest all girl school west of the Mississippi.  She lived in many ways a dual life there.

      I would not enable or watch so I moved to LA.  He never remarried and died of cirrhosis  of the liver  at age 50, the last 5 years on dialysis.  He became a complete alcoholic during her high school years.

      Supposedly, she is happy as she has what she wants.  I have also seen that children pretty much always choose money because our society says that is everything.  Her life with me as a single mother was tough.  I also said as long as you live with ne you will abide by my rules.  Her father said she could be mistress of his house at 13.

      and so it goes.  and that is but a drop in the bucket of this story.  I am still working on fixing it not writing a book about it.

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