Describe your family’s economic conditions and other factors that affected your lifestyle.

We were poor. I remember my father being the only source of income in our house.  We usually had food to eat, but it was very regulated (to the point where we could be severely punished for eating anything without permission). When my father drove big rig trucks, he would sometimes bring home boxes of non-perishable food. Once we moved to Long Island, my parents fought about money often.

Some of our clothes came from well-meaning people who gave my parents clothes that their children had grown out of, in addition, my mother used to sew some of our clothes. Once or twice a year, we would go to Brooklyn to buy bargain clothes from discount centers, or shop for clothes at discount stores in Philadelphia (near my grand-parents’ house). I particularly loved “shopping” in my grandmother’s basement. My grandfather turned 75% of their basement space into a huge walk-in closet to accommodate my grandmother’s massive clothing and shoe collection.

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