U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 09-07-2017, 05:59 PM
4,443 posts, read 2,616,298 times
Reputation: 10358


My father was born in 1934. He started working atcdelivering two different newspapers at age 8. Hes still alive, keeps every little thing, even when broken, worn out and or expired. He had the same Norge (memba them?) Refrigerator from 1966 to 2004. It was bought on credit to establish credit in order to have credit before buying a house.
Worked through high school and then a stint in the military before landing an engineering job at a Fortune top 10 company. Served to age 55, took an early retirement window offered.

The only things he ever financed were the Norge, the house and two vehicles. He kept/keeps his vehicles for at least 15 years and has only owned 4 vehicles in his 83 years. He still drives his 1993 vehicle. He doesn't expect to buy another vehicles ever.

He only ever had one Christmas tree while growing up with a single mother of two. When he married my mother she insisted on having a Christmas tree. He gave us all the things he absolutely never had or wasn't available as he grew up. His first tv was with my mother.

Mother was born in 1942, a definite war baby, while dad was a depression baby. Mother had a strong mother who was widowed with 4 children when my mother, the youngest, was 5. Grandmother lied about her age by a decade to get a job at a factory to raise the 4 kids , so both of my parents grew up in single mother Jones at a time when it wasn't really thought of.

My father sent to college on the GI bill, and my grandmother saved the survivors SS for the kids To go to college. So both had 4 year degrees.

My mother was struck with a devastating disease at the role age of 23. Her life was spent largely confined to a wheelchair, and I as the oldest took over her household job at my young age of 9. Mother passed away due to complications from the disease many years ago, rest her tormented soul. Dad has never wanted to remarry.

Dad's into was "make due with what you've got to work with".

Dad fills his days with hobbies now, and is ready anytime his number is up. He's in good health now though memory problems due to normal aging are beginning to take it's toll.

I'd tell you about my in-laws, but may save that for another post, when I'm not so tired of typing, lol.

Thank you for this stroll down amnesia lane.

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 09-07-2017, 10:28 PM
Location: State of Denial
1,914 posts, read 962,322 times
Reputation: 10216
My father was born in 1923 and was raised in a large Midwestern city by loving parents. He grew up in the depression, but his father always had a job so life was not bad. His mother was a homemaker. He graduated from high school, served in the Navy in WWII and attended college on the GI bill but was not able to finish. He moved up in his company and enjoyed his job. We lost him many years ago.

My mother was born in 1925 and raised on her grandparent's prosperous farm in the south for most of her childhood, moving to a larger southern city just before high school. As just about everything they needed was raised on the farm and because there was a nice amount of cash coming in, she said she didn't even understand the depression until she studied it in high school. Her father always had a good job so she grew up fairly pampered as the only girl. Her mother also was a homemaker. She had no interest in going to college but had a very successful career in her field. She is still a lively old bird and will probably outlive us all.

My parents were frugal but not averse to spending money to have fun and give us kids good experiences. They believed in education but didn't push us as hard as they could have. They were good, loving parents who raised us with discipline but not excessively. They were involved in the church, community and our activities and were well-respected in the community. Our friends liked to hang out at our house.

We all turned out well, so whatever they learned growing up and passed on to us must have worked.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-08-2017, 03:39 AM
Location: Tucson Arizona
3,905 posts, read 1,658,699 times
Reputation: 10249
born early '20s, mom in NY, dad in SF. Both working class families, struggling through the Depression.

Dad's parents were from Italy, and he grew up very old-school. After I married, he mentioned in passing that I was "no longer a (his last name)." Not in a mean way, he just considered a wife a part of her husband's family.

Mom resented the %$^&! out of having to take care of her younger sisters, so she spoiled my older sister and treated me like dirt, transferring her childhood resentments to me. She was very into appearances; strangers loved her, her brother's kids loved her, her own kids not so much.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-08-2017, 07:41 AM
5,823 posts, read 10,159,161 times
Reputation: 4536
Father born 1930, Mother 1936.My mother had me young (not yet 19) Divorced early. Both died recently. Both were socialites.Lived above their means, travelled a lot. They were affectionate with me each in his/her own way, but were basically unable to raise a kid (too irresponsible , too selfish). I ended up being raiszd by my grandparents. Later in life, I scarcely saw them. A bit sad.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-08-2017, 10:06 AM
256 posts, read 477,570 times
Reputation: 565
Originally Posted by allenk893 View Post
Curious from the seniors here what era your parents grew up in, how were they raised, and what were they like as parents themselves? Do you see any similarities with how you parented?

I was reading an autobiography of someone that grew up in the early 20th century with normal parents that weren't these messed up, fighting, crazy, abusive, drunks, that I've always read about with children who grew up in those times. Her parents actually loved her, were very protective, and had it somewhat "together" so to speak, even though they were working class.
What a Great question! My mom and dad were Depression Era kids born 10 months apart in 1921. My father was a US Marine fighter pilot in WWII serving in the Pacific. I loved the stories my mother told of her childhood growing up in the heart of the Depression. Both of my mother's parents were fortunate enough to work during the depression----her mother sewing bed sheets and putting patches on medical residents underwear at the city hospital. Her dad worked as a conductor for the railroad so she didn't see him on a daily basis. Since she was the oldest she had the responsibility of caring for the three younger ones. She characterized the era as one in which neighbors helped one another, shared what they had and looked after one another. My mom's mom took in a neighbor who had tb and put him up in an attic room to live. He had special dishes to eat from so the disease wouldn't spread. I guess the sanitarium was an undesirable place and the person's family didn't want their young person to go there for fear he'd die so my mom's mom took him in and nursed him to good health.

Family knew family back then-----uncles and aunts and grandparents often lived in one house. Generations worked together and shared. Since there was no welfare, or relief as it was called, people were on their own. My mom's social life as a teenager revolved around the Church. Dances, prayerful activities, etc. It was Prohibition back then but it didn't stop the adults from getting a drink or too but since food was hard to put on the table most people back then didn't waste their money with excessive drink. Think the 3 Stooges. People wanted a good meal. My grandparents on both sides were hardworking and s-t-r-i-c-t. Strict but loving. They put their families first. And they all loved God and weren't afraid to show it. But back then, most people practised some kind of faith. My dad was the son of an Irish immigrant so his childhood was pretty harsh. At the age of 10 he was helping his father shovel coal. He was the oldest of 9 kids. With his GI Bill after the war he bought a home. . .for his mother and 8 other siblings. Family ALWAYS came before yourself, even to your own detriment.

Mom didn't work outside of the home. And she didn't WANT to. She proudly called herself a "Home maker". (It's utter bull shi*t when you read today that ALL women at home at the time were unhappy and wanted jobs. Neighborhood women hung out together sometimes. Many volunteered. There was community.) She had the four of us. Dad worked two jobs and I saw him not as much.

My parents were strict. I remember a rare spanking or two but that was it. There was n-o yelling at the kids or reasoning with them like there is now. My dad's word was the final word and we didn't argue with him. There was no cursing in the home. Nor drinking except on Sundays after dinner. They'd each have a martini or two. No fancy clothing for either of them although my dad had a suit or two and my mom a few dresses. Telling lies was punished. Bragging was considered prideful. Put downs of others was not allowed. Dishonorable behavior was not permitted. "It's a sin!" I remember them saying. And they weren't hypocrites. I never heard my father curse. Never. Although I DO remember an occasional argument between them when my mother would call my dad "A son of a *****." Such arguments were rare. . .and private. We'd be on the floor of our attic bedroom, ears to the heating vent, trying to listen in. Adults didn't talk about adult matters in front of kids. It was seen as highly improper. Kids were more protected from the ugly side of life yet we were more free than kids today.

Childhood was different and kids (city kids) could walk everywhere or take their bikes. We'd go to the movies, play in huge groups, etc. I'd take a city bus and played in the Chicago Art Institute outdoor parks downtown. There was much more freedom of movement and adults at large looked after kids. We weren't afraid of strangers though we knew not to go off with anyone. Money was tight on the one income so we didn't take a vacation away from home in my childhood but we had plenty to do. We attended Catholic school. . .even after they both died. I worked to put my younger siblings through. People didn't look for charity back then----and wouldn't take it if it were offered. And we were full orphans.

My parents died when I was 13/14, ten months apart. They were young when they died, both 46 years old. Both due to the cigarettes passed out/pushed during WWII. Mom of heart failure and dad of cancer 10 months later. I was 39 when I had my first and only kid so I came to parenting late. I parented v-e-r-y much like they did. MY house was the house all the kids wanted to come to. The House of Fun. Our kid came first. I didn't work outside the home either so living on one income didn't give us the fancy vacays kids experience today. I Homeschooled my only kid and passed on the values of God, honor, service to others, love of country and decency. I had a very short childhood compared to most but I carried my parents values with me all my life and have passed them on. I like to think that they're proud of me.

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share about something near and dear to my heart.

Last edited by bungalowdweller; 09-08-2017 at 10:15 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-08-2017, 11:00 AM
Location: Kronenwetter Wisconsin
288 posts, read 140,571 times
Reputation: 600
My mom was born on a farm in 1921. Parents were from Poland. My mom went to school until the 8th grade and then helped on farm. She left at 18 to find work in Chicago. She did go back to the farm every summer to help.
Dad was born in Chicago in 1922. Went to college. Served in WW2. He married my mom in 1953, so they were in their 30s. Dad worked for the city of Chicago. Mom stayed home and never worked outside the house again. They owned 2 homes and the 2nd one was paid off in 10 years. Raised 4 good kids. Sent all of us to Catholic grade school and high school. Went on vacations every year. Visited the farm in Wisconsin and family in South Dakota. They were conservative with money, never ate out much, wore hand me downs but would not trade my life for anything. Stayed in my 1st "motel" when I was about 9 when we ventured the 1st time to South Dakota. Always had just 1 car, Mom never drove. Simple life but a good life.
Dad died in 1995 and Mom in 2006. I miss them both dearly.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-08-2017, 12:40 PM
Location: New Mexico
6,586 posts, read 3,674,133 times
Reputation: 12396
My mom, born in 1910, and my dad, born in 1915, grew up in St. Louis with several siblings in working class families. My mom's dad was one of the city's first Boy Scout leaders. He was a strong union man (shoe factory) and she became a labor union activist in the city's garment industry along with her older sister. She was borderline socialist but really didn't know it because labels were not thrown around as much back then. She played a violin but gave it up . She never learned to drive.

My dad was raised up in Lutheran schools and had a strong basic education. He began working for the railroad in his teens and stayed his entire life, becoming management, except for several years in WW2. He was in the Glider Infantry at Bastogne but never talked much about his war experiences. I know he was in Berlin when the Russians were pulling out. The first time he flew in a commercial plane he said it was actually the first time he properly landed...he usually jumped out or they crashed the thing in a field. He hated cold weather and snow after Bastogne.

My parents were opposites in some ways but it worked. They came from stable and loving families and were stable and loving as parents. They talked about the depression but managed just like everyone else. We took long road trips because my dad liked to drive but we never had really great cars so I recall being broken down on the side of the road a few times. I have an older brother and we had a large collie dog named Lassie...it was sort of a "Leave it to Beaver" existence. We lived with my Grandma for several years and then moved to the suburbs after the post-war housing shortage ended. My dad managed Little League teams and was a St. Louis Browns fan before they became to Baltimore Orioles (I recall seeing the Browns at Sportsmen's Park). He was also a Boy Scout leader and my mom was a Den Mother in Cub Scouts. My bother and I both graduated from college...first in the family.

My parents had a good life but their retirement was marked by illness and time in a nursing home. That's why I decided to retire as early as possible (at 52). My wife died when I was 58 so that was a good decision. My wife and I had a daughter in 1984...first girl born in the family since 1922 and my parents were excited to have a girl and were great as grandparents for the time they had left.

My wife's family was similar but her mom died when she was 14 and things fell apart for several years. She had strong grandparents who jumped in and added some stability until things improved. I think she would say she had a good childhood and she worked her way through college. We married a little later than most -- for 31 years -- and had good parenting role models.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-08-2017, 01:52 PM
Location: South Carolina
13,821 posts, read 18,803,182 times
Reputation: 24495
mom was born in 1936 and she was born to a mother who ran off leaving her and her sister and brother with their father . Their father never married again . She was born in upstate ny and lived on a farm and had the job of milking the cows and then going to school . Her older sister was favored by their father . They never spoke of their mother and my mother was biter and abusive and just plain mean . She would swat me and my brother and sister till we cried and then would tell us it was for our own good . My fathers parents hated her thought she was spoiled and inconsiderate and the worst thing that ever happened to my father . Her father was not mean to her but I think she developed being mean because she never got any attention from her father all that went to her older sister . My father was born in 1934 and he was in the marine corp and he really loved the service and then after the service he went to work for Pepsi cola . My mother refused to drink pepsi cola I think just to make our father mad . My father was the sweetest most gentle man I ever knew . He grew up in north Carolina to two of the nicest people you would ever want to meet . They disliked my mother because of her behavior . We kids went to catholic school where nuns taught . my mother liked the discipline they had . My father had a weakness and could never stand up to her about her treatment of us and he told us to stop egging her on with our behavior . For that I understand that he might have been scared of her and what she might do . I think she had mental problems . I found out sometime later that she had threatened to burn the house down with us in it . Dad died 5 yrs ago and mom died 6 yrs ago . I miss my daddy very much every day , my mother not so much I'm sorry to say .

Last edited by phonelady61; 09-08-2017 at 01:57 PM.. Reason: spelling.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-08-2017, 01:52 PM
6,321 posts, read 5,061,406 times
Reputation: 12838
Originally Posted by ABQ2015 View Post
So you have always read that people who grew up from 1900 to 1940 had crazy messed up parents? That is interesting. I thought it would have been the opposite as most seem to romanticize the old days.

My parents were born in 1919 and 1921. Neither liked to talk much about their upbringing and most of their memories concerned growing up in the Depression and all the hardships. My dad was a Midwesterner and talked lovingly about his mother and how she would make her own bread and how hard she worked to keep them fed and that she was a good homemaker. He had less to say about his father. My dad worked several jobs in high school to help support the family and left before he graduated to work as a cowboy in Wyoming, which he hated because of the cold, to send money back home. Years later talking to my aunt, my dad actually got in a big argument with his dad - maybe even physical - and ran away from home to Wyoming and never sent money home. My father was a dutiful parent but strict and not very loving and could be downright mean, he spanked us hard with a belt and could be verbally abusive too, was frugal, and he had a bad alcohol problem at one point. I suspect he and his dad were very much alike although perhaps not the alcohol part.

My mom was a crazy Southerner with a sad life. Her parents died as a result of violence when she was a baby and her grandmother raised her. She hated her grandmother who was very strict and they were extremely poor as in often went hungry. As soon as my mother was old enough, she dropped out of high school and took off and lived with cousins, had boyfriends, and later partied with all the young men on leave during WWII. After the war, she met my dad who had just been released from the Army and they married a few months later. She loved to party and spend money which did not go well with my dad. They eventually divorced. My older sister was closer to my mom's family than me and heard more stories. She told me that the grandmother was not that mean and strict but that my mother was a discipline problem and very wild and unstable and my great grandmother tried her best. I tend to believe my sister on this given my mother's issues with parenting. There were also several suicides in her family and I suspect some mental illness.
you are right about people romanticizing the past. Loved your story. I bet there are all kinds of stories like this out there. I know my mom always told us to have fun and lots of boyfriends - lol.

We forget that those old people were once young and had maybe wanted a different life. One thing my mom did say about the Depression was that it wasn't that bad since they were farmers and had plenty to eat.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-08-2017, 02:13 PM
13,321 posts, read 25,574,131 times
Reputation: 20505
My parents (both gone now) were born in 1928 and 1925. I think the key thing that affected my father was fighting in WW2 and being a Jewish boy and man in an anti-Jewish time (Philadelphia). I believe he also had depression or something because he gambled away his opportunity to be a business owner (a taxi) and gambled wildly for most of his life, to everyone's detriment.

My mother's major formative experience was extreme poverty, first for being born of poor immigrants,and then her father's early death working on the docks and her mother's mental illness. She also carried mental illness and her life was miserable to her and to everyone around her.

What did I learn? That you could call in sick to a waitress job because they wouldn't hesitate to fire you in a minute if you weren't wanted or needed. I learned I did not want to be a lifelong waitress or cab driver, especially not one that had liberal arts student loans.

Both of my parents were very cynical "everyone is out for themselves" and didn't seem to form attachments to anyone, including their grandchildren. It was a depressing and desolate emotional environment to grow up in and I just wanted to start making money and get out. I do think feminism and hippiedom (the edges of it) saved me- gave me a vision of a different life).

What I got from my father was a liking for the daily news, sports on TV especially baseball (although he preferred football for the gambling options) and a love of dogs as an emotional focus in the household. I am also not very inclined to attach to people, for better and for worse. Still working on it- it's a lifelong thing.

And I do have four dogs.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top