Patricia Barbee

(I just had to share this article. One of the best in my opinion)


I’m glad the assignment was prefaced with questions.

Some of the brokest people I’ve known have been the richest. The families were intact and all worked together to make the best of all they had. Daddy went to work at some job. Mommy stayed home and did all the housework by hand. The children pitched in as soon as they were old enough or large enough to do a chore.

The clothes hanging on the line was not as “Louise” of WNAC-TV Show, Boston would have done it but the clothes did get dry. Everyone learned to fold and iron clothes.

All the children walked past our street to the Finast Supermarket on the corner of Tremont and Cunard where Dave filled the orders. That Supermarket never had a cash register. Dave wrote everything on the side of a brown grocery bag. His brain could add faster than any calculator I’ve seen. The store did not sell fresh meat. After Dave filled the bags to fit the children’s size, the oldest paid him and what change was left over was given to that child who secured it. Then out the door, the “ducklings” walked back home two blocks.

They celebrated birthdays and holidays. Snow days were fun because all of us children were usually waist deep in the unplowed streets. We hated to see the snow plows. That meant back to school in a day or two.

None of that neighborhood exists today. I’ve been home to Boston. Never was it on Google Maps. Time and the “Train of Life”, keeps dropping off some too early and new ones appear on the train with their happy parents. We never know at the next stop what will occur. This is life.

I had someone tell me we were poor. I don’t know by what yardstick they measured. All in our multi-generational house were college graduates or going to some school. Religion was very important. I knew every museum in Boston. Being “Nana’s baby” was no reason to be a slacker and disappoint her. She taught me to ride the famous Boston MTA transit system. Mom got
plenty of rest time. Grandperé, Nana and I were off to see something; hear a concert; view an exhibit or just ride the MTA to observe the history of the City. We could circle the City by the MTA on Sundays for about a quarter.

Money was never an issue discussed. Sunday dinners were served on full sets of china in the dining room. We had sterling flatware. Glasses were crystal, not jelly jars. Yes, we had to use each piece correctly by learning from the adults.

Yes, we’d take the train to New York City for visits. We’d take regional buses to view places and celebrate whatever my Grandparents decided to honor. Mom came along if she felt like it.

[Nana and I were both widows when I left New Jersey and went home to Boston for her Blessing to move South and then she told me why Mom worked so hard and was always resting. “The nine months she spent in and out of the hospital was because she had cancer.” I was floored. Mom never said a word to me, yet dropped dead from a coronary six weeks before our, really her over-the-top wedding.]

Our Engagement Party hosted by our Cousins for six hundred and the late, great Lou Rawls was the entertainment. The affair was held in Boston’s newest hotel. For the Cousins, it was only money well spent. We all had a great time and today everyone is still talking.

Next week is the anniversary of the Party and Mom dropping dead four days later on her way to pay the caterer.

As a child, I never wore the same outfit to school in the same month, except shoes and coats. All children should be so poor.

Should you see my name in the paper after becoming a multi-millionaire. I’ll still be the same person. Don’t ask for a dime. As I said, I am not changing. I have my favorite charities. I know how in the past who has ‘buttered my bread”. I am frugal, not cheap. None of them will have to ask me for a dime. I’ve a good memory.

I’ll still have my three ring binder notebook for my coupons I clip. I am ruthless shopping on the Internet. Nothing beats forty percent off and free shipping or a dollar, ninety-five.

The so-called charities that pay their Chiefs over one hundred thousand a year are NOT on my charity list. I have oil sheets for my shredder at all times.

My bank assigns ever customer a personal banker. Mine will lose her mind for a day or two. So, the Manager will have to get the pressure cuff and smelling salts for her.

By time you will have read my name in the paper, every cent will be allocated to my charities or in trusts for those who had the “butter” for me.

Rich for me has never been dollars. I worked for a Fortune 500 company’s New England headquarters and handled thousands of dollars a day. It was not mine so I became numb to it. I had a “runner” for errands to the bank or wherever. He was retired Navy.

On sunny days and wearing a coat, I’d strap the bank deposits to my body and go to the bank and post office. Who would think a teen girl walking in Boston would have close to a million dollars on her?

So Whoever listening in the ether, bring on the dollars so I can see how blasé I’ll be.

I have a nice house on “the best piece of property in town” an old timer told me as I signed up for my water registration. I will not argue when I do not know any better.

I could not have better neighbors. They are ground-bound Angels. The Great Spirit placed me where I am supposed to be. I’m on my life’s path. It has not been easy, yet, as the path has forked, I’ve found new moccasins pointing in the direction I was to travel. My moccasins have some more use in them before I expect to find another pair.

I drive a great American made auto that I’ve seen on the Interstate get fifty-one miles to the gallon on cruise control, rolling on flat ground. I’d keep my same car. Anything under twenty-eight miles to the gallon around town is doing badly.

The luxury I’d afford myself would be rolling the Interstate nearest me more often that I call “the Nile” and my car, “the barge”.  Cleopatra has been replaced.

My bucket list has just a few items left. All have to do with travel would be completed. Some places are return trips and a few will be new vistas.

Then, I’d sit and get back to writing for SearchWarp of my adventures.

Now for me that is “Too Rich”.

Patricia Barbee © 2013

Patricia Barbee
Top 100 Author!


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