When it comes to class, different situations can seem like entirely different worlds. Many of us grew up to learn that household items we took for granted were seen as luxuries by some of the kids we sat next to in school, and other kids had things we thought were luxuries that they never appreciated. In that vein, Engine Books founder Victoria Barrett asked Twitter users who grew up poor to share examples of these items.
Former poor kids: what are some things you have in your house that you *never* had as a kid, things your not-poor friends would never consider luxuries?— Victoria Barrett (@victoriabwrites) January 20, 2020
Barrett, who seems to have experienced childhood poverty herself, shared some of her own examples.
A few of mine are Kleenex, band-aids, ziplock bags, and paper towels.
— Victoria Barrett (@victoriabwrites) January 20, 2020
Another one for me is an actual bedroom. With a closet in it. Also a car! That works! And another car that works in the same family!
— Victoria Barrett (@victoriabwrites) January 20, 2020
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 21 percent of all children in the U.S., totaling 15 million kids, live below the poverty line. Additionally, based on research into how much families actually need to earn in order to afford basic expenses, they estimate that 43 percent of all America’s children live in what they consider to be low-income households.
It can be hard for people who have never experienced much financial stress to understand how hard it is on both parents and children. The divide between the rich and poor in this country has gotten so bad that some of the rich think that a million dollars isn’t a lot of money while people in poverty can’t afford band-aids.
Barrett’s post caught on quickly, with thousands of people sharing their own examples. In fact, Twitter apparently labeled the writer as a bot for trying to like so many of the responses.
Twitter has decided that I'm clicking the heart on your replies too fast and I must be a bot, so if I don't <3 your tweet, know that I see you and feel you. https://t.co/Xt22uLyrmi— Victoria Barrett (@victoriabwrites) January 20, 2020
She also retweeted many of the heart-breaking replies, as well as praise from people saying that the thread will open your eyes. Whether you need a shot of empathy or to feel validated, it’s not a bad idea to look through some of these:
Truth here.— Susanna Donato (@susannadonato) January 20, 2020
For me it’s security. And butter. https://t.co/PZmBNXrtsB
i have a $20 candle and if my grandparents ever found out i spent $20 on a candle you would never hear from me again https://t.co/aIASJekM7E— blocked by david simon creator of the wire (@runolgarun) January 20, 2020
It's winter and we still have bedrooms we sleep in instead of mattresses on the floor in the living room (of a house, ps) because that is where the wood stove was and heating the whole trailer was $$$. https://t.co/EWe9767i2P— Tupelo Hassman (@TupeloHassman) January 20, 2020
A washer and dryer, clothes that are not hand-me-downs, nice stationary. Phone. More than one pair of shoes. A house. A car. https://t.co/AQiFu0a2w5— Dr. Elena Mikalsen (@WF_writerEM) January 20, 2020
Hangers that didn't come from the laundromat/cleaners.— jenifer daniels 🕊️ (@jentrification) January 20, 2020
32+oz of anything. https://t.co/oKL0jHYDW9
Recently learned most people don't hoard basic hygiene products like a doomsday prepper. In case they're broke two months from now. https://t.co/oPWSwx2Ay7— Tristan Durst (@rednecksatan) January 20, 2020
Juice boxes. Kleenex. Brand name cheese that isn't yellow. https://t.co/JEL2Ibhy7n— Angel Luis Colón (@GoshDarnMyLife) January 20, 2020
Ha, fresh garlic. I had never seen it until I was 16. https://t.co/aFKX192k8X— Candace Shaw (@candaceshaw) January 20, 2020
Fresh fish! I thought I hated fish, but it turns out I hate those breaded fish sticks that you heat up in the oven. https://t.co/aFKX192k8X— Candace Shaw (@candaceshaw) January 20, 2020
I had no idea that people used ricotta in lasagna until about 10 years ago. Cottage cheese was the cheap option mom always used. https://t.co/XhfI8yxGGK— Christine B (@SHDChristineB) January 20, 2020
So many. Ziploc bags, any skin care that wasn’t bar soap. https://t.co/Mg8tuVRHP1— Jennifer Pashley (@pashtastic) January 20, 2020
MARSHMALLOW CEREAL https://t.co/gFXKy2xgLD— Lindsey Hurd (@lindseyhurd) January 20, 2020
Paper towels, curtains, environmentally friendly things like reusable bags, fruits and vegetables not in cans, protein shakes and veggie burgers (being a poor vegetarian meant being malnourished) halfway decent hair products, lotion, a separate lotion for your face, bandaids
— Ross (@queer_hellenic) January 20, 2020
Qtips. Kleenex. Hand soap right next to dish soap. Pillows. Dog treats. Matching socks without holes.
Enough food to last weeks. Shit like that is definitely a tell. The fact I keep a sleeping bag and camp pad in my car, that I bought because I can sleep in it if I need to.
— Lauren Hough (@laurenthehough) January 20, 2020
The right shoes. A 🚗 that would start most mornings. A dad. Someone to ask if I’d done my homework or brushed my teeth. Cereal without roaches in it. A house… But I had a mom who raised 3 boys on her own, working 3rd shift overtime at a factory because she ♥️d us. So. 🙂
— Everett Sizemore (@balibones) January 20, 2020
SODA bottles. They were displayed on top of the fridge and not to be touched unless we had dinner guests.
Same for the color tv. Only when guests are visiting. Otherwise it would stay off and covered with a blanket.
— ALT-immigration 🛂 (@ALT_uscis) January 21, 2020
That my car will start.
That my toilet will flush.
That I can refill my meds.
That my card will be accepted.
That no one will come and take it all away.
— Tony @ Setec Astronomy (@tony_bridges_el) January 20, 2020
Snacksss omg. Not eating the same thing over and over until you get sick of it. Having the option to eat healthy. Eating out at non-chain restaurants. Clothes that fit (harder being plus sized as a kid)
— assata shakoochie 🌱 (@sailorfemme) January 21, 2020
Only using ziplock bags once. My mom washed and rewashed ziplock bags over and over until they got holes in them. We kept them in a pumpkin jar on the counter. Didn’t know this wasn’t the norm til I got older
— Sarah writes SPOOKY stories 🎃🍁🧛 (@therosebride) January 20, 2020
Silence—no TV blaring, no one yelling, no babies crying. Peace—no one is angry or stressed because of our home. Safety—no sense of danger or insecurity. Those intangible things stand out more than the material objects.
— Erica Waters (@ELWaters) January 20, 2020
Also, this is not a “thing,” per se, but having pets that you’re able to care for responsibly, spay/neuter, and tend to their veterinary needs. I think back at my childhood and it makes me want to cry.
— Martha (@marthakimes) January 20, 2020
Extra of the basics like shampoo and soap so that you don’t have to ‘make it last’ until someone gets paid.
— Kat Macfarlane (@KatAMacfarlane) January 20, 2020
My wife couldn't understand why I only eat cereal dry, and when I explained that growing up we never had liquid milk in the house she got really quiet. I don't think she fully understood just how poor I was growing up until then.— Too Big To Fail (@Too_Big_To_Fail) January 20, 2020
Stairs. I was convinced that only mansions had more than one floor.
— Stacey Filak, recovering from ConFusion (@staceyfilak) January 20, 2020
— Amy Dickinson (@AskingAmy) January 20, 2020