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Re: Was cash tight with your parents

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Posted by JerryV on Saturday, June 15th 2019:

In Reply to: Was cash tight with your parents posted by john s on Thursday, June 13th 2019:

I was born in 1935, the lowest birthrate year of the century and the middle of the great depression. And coupled with that, my father lost both his father and his grandfather in 1915. So, my father had to quit school at 12 and go to work to help support his mother. There were no real social services in those days. My father drove a bakery truck and we never had enough money but never thought of ourselves as poor because all of my friends (in the Hunts Point area) were in the same boat. And there was no television to show us how well other people were doing. Furthermore, my father liked to play the pony (and based on other comments here, there seemed to be a lot of that going on in the Bronx). Fortunately, he did not drink, as other fathers I knew did, and some chased other women, a deadly combo and a family wrecker. It was not until I got to Stuyvesant that I met kids who had gone to private prep and parochial schools, whose fathers were doctors, lawyers and accountants. I’m embarrassed to say that I was ashamed and embarrassed in those days, even though my father was a good man who went to work every day and supported his family as best he could. I understood how tight things were and had a part-time job from 14 on. I was lucky to go to City College, where there was no tuition. (I think that this is a good long-term investment for the public, as people I know who went to one were able to contribute much more in taxes during their careers.) I would have wanted to go to medical school but there was no money for tuition and there were tight entry quotas for Jews in those days. So, I went to graduate school, where I was able to get free tuition and a small stipend by working as a teaching assistant. My wife had it even worse because girls in those days were not expected to go to college but to get a job and help out the family (her father was a tailor and I tease her by saying he was a CPA – Cleaning, Pressing and Alterations). She became a secretary but got a college degree at night at NYU. Later, after our kids were in school, she went back to Pratt and became a librarian for the NY Public Library.

Reference ID: BX87102


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