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Old Yesterday, 07:53 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
10,401 posts, read 4,942,679 times
Reputation: 21892

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Pretty crappy. My mother left my sister and I when we were 3 & 4 and my father moved us down to Florida from NYC to live with him and his parents. Unfortunately he never got along with his mother and he was a chronic gambler, so he moved into his own place leaving us stuck with my psycho grandmother. If you ever watched Mommy Dearest you would have an idea of what my life was like as a child.
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Old Yesterday, 08:21 AM
 
238 posts, read 81,583 times
Reputation: 641
I don’t have many good memories of my childhood. My parents were older when I was born (mom was 39) so their ideas were outdated. I was naturally left-handed but was forced to switch to right-handed. It set me up for a lifetime of poor eye-hand coordination. I stuttered ( sometimes a result of switching hands). Terrible at any sport.

Dad was alcoholic and made poor decisions throughout life. We moved every 3-4 years. I was always the new kid in school. He had a full time job and at one point decided being a farmer was a good idea! After losing everything in that adventure, we lived in a decent town, when he took a job in FL. Moving from Minnesota to Florida was culture shock in the 1950’s. Mom was never consulted in any decision.

Probably the worst was his manic smoking. I began getting sick from it and developed severe asthma. I guess the best part was he wasn’t physically abusive, but verbally it was pretty bad. Never could do anything right according to him. Mom just gave up, I think.

I had no idea what a normal childhood was like but was determined to do better when I had children. I believe I was a better parent. My sons are healthy, happy and much better-adjusted than I ever was.
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Old Yesterday, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,889 posts, read 4,900,122 times
Reputation: 19852
It was bad. Parents divorced when I was 2. Mom married and divorced 4 times. We moved, necessitating change of schools, every 6 to 12 months. Mom was a poor waitress and an alcoholic, but she worked very hard to keep a roof over our heads. She did engrain a work ethic in us, and we all turned out fine, but a far, FAR cry from Leave It To Beaver.
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Old Yesterday, 09:21 AM
 
5,306 posts, read 1,317,748 times
Reputation: 4111
Quote:
Originally Posted by CLfan1977 View Post
I donít have many good memories of my childhood. My parents were older when I was born (mom was 39) so their ideas were outdated. I was naturally left-handed but was forced to switch to right-handed. It set me up for a lifetime of poor eye-hand coordination. I stuttered ( sometimes a result of switching hands). Terrible at any sport.

Dad was alcoholic and made poor decisions throughout life. We moved every 3-4 years. I was always the new kid in school. He had a full time job and at one point decided being a farmer was a good idea! After losing everything in that adventure, we lived in a decent town, when he took a job in FL. Moving from Minnesota to Florida was culture shock in the 1950ís. Mom was never consulted in any decision.

Probably the worst was his manic smoking. I began getting sick from it and developed severe asthma. I guess the best part was he wasnít physically abusive, but verbally it was pretty bad. Never could do anything right according to him. Mom just gave up, I think.

I had no idea what a normal childhood was like but was determined to do better when I had children. I believe I was a better parent. My sons are healthy, happy and much better-adjusted than I ever was.
Good for you! If you like to read, you might check out a book called Hillbilly Elegy. It's about a man who had a horrible childhood but succeeded in spite of it like it sounds like you did.
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Old Yesterday, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Southern Illinois
32 posts, read 40,590 times
Reputation: 91
My childhood was fairly good up until teen years, I was the oldest of five. The 50th anniversary of the moon landing has brought back a lot of memories, as my father worked for NASA at Edwards AFB. His job was such that he had a minor role working with test pilots and astronauts in their training regimens; Neil Armstrong was in our kitchen on a couple of occasions playing with Dad's regular poker group of engineers and test pilots. We kids were somewhat clueless about the history transpiring around us.

Our community was moderately isolated from Los Angeles and was not what you would call a commuter town at that point, so it was a nice place to grow up, with us kids having a surprising amount of freedom to come and go. I recall riding my bicycle everywhere without concern, two- or three-mile trips across town to one shop or another was routine given the light and polite traffic.

We were OK. Dad provided well, Mom didn't have to work. Sort of a Father Knows Best model household. However, Mom micromanaged me especially, which was fine through elementary school but created social adjustment problems later on. As we got older, things got rough emotionally and in some cases physically as my parent's relationship deteriorated and our family physician inadvertently enabled Mom's substance abuse problem. Though still at home, by then I was more or less operating independently while Mom tended to the younger kids, when she was sober.

But I think the biggest statement about our childhood is that none of us have had children even though all are or have been married. This has not been by design because we are essentially estranged - in the past 30 years we've only seen each other at our parent's funerals. But it's pretty evident, relative to "family life", that we'd had more than a (un)healthy dose of that nonsense.
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Old Yesterday, 11:07 AM
 
Location: NYC
2,963 posts, read 1,613,620 times
Reputation: 8013
Could have been better... much, much better.

Had just barely enough basic material things. Dad always worked 2 hard jobs to strive to better us, he never owned a new car. He couldn't even afford to buy me a new bike when I was 7yo & bought some old beater that he tried in vain to fix up for me, only time I saw him cry. He was largely absent most of the time because of work & sleep, when around he was unable to communicate or look anyone in the eye - he had a terrible childhood I think.

Mom made sure we were well dressed, well fed & went to church & apparently felt that was the entirety of her responsibility. No interest in what we were involved in, unwilling to listen to us or any desire to communicate other than constant criticism. Zero affection ever seen among any family members, we all lived behind closed doors - I became a ravenous reader. We were given marching orders on what was expected of us each day & a running commentary on how we were falling short. I suspect a lot of my generation were physically disciplined but she went too overboard for very minor infractions, it was only when I turned 12-13 & I was able to physically overpower her that it stopped.

I know we definitely needed the money, but now I wonder if dad worked that much so he didn't have to be at home a lot?

Outcome: 3 children with zero success at adult relationships, we simply didn't experience any healthy family interactions coming of age, but from the outside we probably looked ok. For years & years I simply couldn't comprehend my friends who were getting married, I equated that then with a form of personal suicide or imprisonment. Too bad.
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Old Yesterday, 11:08 AM
 
Location: ☀️ SWFL ⛱ 🌴
2,467 posts, read 1,695,875 times
Reputation: 8842
I’m a middle child raised in middle America. I grew up with three siblings in an Indiana suburb. Hot summers, snowy winters with sledding, bike riding, and climbing trees. We were outside most of the time in good weather and were free as long as we were home by supper. A few farms were just beginning to be sold for developments at that time, but it was still a farm community with industry in nearby towns and cities.

My parents moved from their hometown to where there were jobs for my Dad and Mom didn’t work outside the home until I was 13. We were middle class, Dad had a union job in a factory. He worked hard and took any overtime he could. He did all the yard work while Mom took care the house and us. Mom could make or bake anything and did. Today the smell of yeast dough raising and fresh cut grass takes me right back to that time.

My parents didn’t drink, except for an occasional beer on a hot summer day. I remember them kissing, laughing and teasing each other and getting along most of the time. They rarely raised their voices to each other. The silent treatment and cooling down was the way they handled disagreements between them.

I’m thankful for the childhood I had.

Last edited by jean_ji; Yesterday at 11:24 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 11:52 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
6,731 posts, read 3,738,646 times
Reputation: 12661
I've had cause to reflect on my childhood years recently in a casual way. In comparison to some, I and my brother had a very good childhood with loving and involved parents. Our parents were a little older than most because life was delayed by WW2. There were a few parental arguments but no abuse of any kind. We lived in our own home and it was a very stable existence. We were not poor by most standards but there was a lot of scrimping and frugal living. We were able to take vacations though not elaborate ones. There were no living grandparents after I turned 5 and we lived about an hour's distance from most relatives. That was a considerable distance back then so we were pretty much on our own. We lived in an area with a lot of undeveloped fields and woods and could cover 20 miles on our bikes without much thought. Public school was awful because the school burned down in second grade and we didn't get back into a real rebuilt school until fifth grade. Second and third grades were in various local church basements in temporary classrooms with bare essentials. Books smelled of smoke and had water damage. Fourth grade was in a part of the school building that didn't burn. I was in the school band for a couple of years until I left in sixth grade due to "artistic differences" with the band teacher. Boy Scouts and Little League were big things. My dad was involved in both. I think my parents had a pretty good parenthood and family existence from their perspective, as well. Sadly their retirement was limited due to my mom's Alzheimer's and my dad's health. They deserved better.
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Old Yesterday, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Haiku
4,305 posts, read 2,636,120 times
Reputation: 6391
My dad was a good provider but he worked all the time and was never home. My mother did not have a maternal bone in her body, she was clueless about a household or raising kids. When I was 19 or 20 and a friend gave me a casual good-by sort of a hug I was amazed that people did that - there was no hugging or warmth of any kind in my house as a kid. So my childhood was not bad in any overt way but I don't look back at it fondly. I just don't think about it at all.
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Old Yesterday, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Retired in Malibu/La Quinta/Flagstaff
1,339 posts, read 1,339,063 times
Reputation: 4441
I could write a book, but no one would ever believe it. I had a drunk policeman for a father. He was physically and emotionally abusive. I was never allowed to celebrate the holidays, my birthdays, or even play with the other children in the neighborhood. My worst memories are of many Christmas Days, looking through the chain-link fence that surrounded our yard, and seeing all the neighborhood children playing with the toys and riding the bikes they got as presents. And I got nothing.
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