- "It's not fair that my parents make me use a cell phone that only has a 4 megapixel camera."
- "I have to share a bathroom with my sister."
- "My mom won't let me have a ferret."
- "The cable TV in my bedroom didn't have HBO."
- "My cheapskate dad bought me a car that can't even play MP3s on the stereo."
- "My laptop doesn't have a webcam!"
I assured them that I had no such stories, but it was true that they had no idea what hardship was. However, since they wanted to direct it back at me and I always keep my laptop with me, I decided to treat them to a little slideshow.
I have been scanning all our family photos in my computer over the last few months and had the evidence I needed with me, so I didn't need to look very hard. I hooked it up to the class Smartboard and showed them photographic evidence of the real hardship I had experienced as a youth.
For the kid who thought he had it so hard because he didn't have HBO in his bedroom, I showed him what life was like before cable. We had a TV, but we used it like an end table. We would sit in front of it for hours pretending we were one of those rich families who had things like television reception.
|Cousin Tabatha, Kyle, me|
They weren't always in our size.
Hand-me-downs from the 70's!
|Trevor trying to stay cool|
We didn't have crazy luxuries like air conditioning either. Sitting in an ice filled cooler in front of a fan was a good as it got.
|Trevor hoping the dog doesn't fart again.|
This picture was for the benefit of the girl who thought she was being mistreated for being forced to share her bathroom with her sister. We would've loved to have a bathroom and would have happily shared it with the entire family. We didn't concentrate on it much since we didn't have several of the other conveniences kids today are accustomed to.
|Kyle was never ready for bed|
Kyle had to sleep in a box because my parents refused to waste money on frivolities like beds.
|Trevor would scoot down the stairs if not weighted down.|
Trevor slept in a clothes basket when he was a baby. We had to put heavy books on top so he wouldn't crawl all over the house.
|In chest: me Closing it: Trevor|
I would get shut in a chest each night. Once I brushed all the spiders out, it wasn't so bad.
It wasn't always this way. Eventually, the day came along when Dad announced to us that he was going to build us each our own room. We were so excited. He got to work on the construction and soon presented us with our new living arrangements.
|Me, checking out my new place|
Here was mine. I had to share it with the mouse traps and the paint, but it was all mine.
|Trevor being ungrateful, as usual|
This was Trevor's. I thought it was unfair that he had so much more space.
Kyle's really didn't change much.
|Red the Cow. Tried to kill my grandmother once.|
Next, I addressed the girl who had been whining all through class about not being able to own a ferret. My first pet was a cow and we eventually ate it. None of them could admit they'd ever had to eat one of their pets.
One of the girls piped up, "Well, at least you got to have a pet!" This was true, but I tried to illustrate for them what having a pet meant when I was a kid. We didn't just have pets. We had to take care of them.
Before I was even out of diapers, I had to feed the cows every morning.
|Stupid dog turned over the bowl again|
After the cows were fed, I had to make sure the dogs had water.
|Trevor: 25 feet off the ground|
This cat wouldn't stay off the neighbor's roof
As the years passed, I was happy to get little brothers to share in taking care of the animals. Trevor always went after the ones that wandered off to bring them back home.
|The choke hold rarely worked,|
but Kyle insisted it was more humane.
Kyle took care of exterminating the ones that got sick.
I just didn't have the stomach for it.
I just didn't have the stomach for it.
Animals weren't the only things we had to take care of. My parents piled the chores on us as soon as we were able to walk. While kids today complain if they have to take out the trash, we had much more for which we were responsible.
|Me learning my way around a hoe|
There was gardening to be done.
|Trevor and Kyle enjoying the smell|
The lines had to be dug out when the sewer backed up.
|Kyle doing some dirty work|
We had to clean Dad's catch each afternoon.
|The neighbor would use our lawn mower,|
so we made his daughter work for us.
Harvest the rice patties.
|Trevor was always best at tuning out the crying|
Babysit the neighbors'kid
|Me emptying the hair filter|
Clean out the pool.
|Me taking measurements for drywall|
Remodel the bathroom
|Me biting Trevor's fingernails|
since I wasn't allowed to use scissors.
When younger, having to take care of little brothers.
|Dad and Me|
Bring Dad his beer after a long day of fishing.
|Me and Kyle|
And finally fix dinner, so we could clean up, get to bed, and start again in the morning.
By the time the bell rang signaling the end of class, I had the kids convinced. It took the entire class period and I didn't cover any of the material that their regular teacher had left in the instruction book, but I think I taught them a valuable lesson that day. I have had 40 years to work on my sob story. I do it so much better than them.