Letters to the Editor

Poverty is Relative, Based on Comparison

Dear Editor: There is no doubt that poverty exists and that there are many many poor people in the US and the world.  Christ said, “The poor will be with you always.”

Poverty however can be relative, imagined or perceived erroneously based on comparison.

I remember working on a construction site some years ago. During lunch the conversation turned to “having difficult times while growing up” There were some men (from the South) who described what were obviously hard and difficult childhoods. Vinny, from Long Island was so apparently affected by their tales that he felt compelled to add his own experience: “When I was growing up I had to share a bedroom with my brother,” he seriously said, to much laughter. As I considered there had been enough stories of misery I refrained from adding my own.

I had shared a bed with two brothers on a burlap mattress filled with straw with sheets made from flour sacks.  My father and another shared another bed.  Such was the situation until I left home at fourteen.

I don’t remember anybody complaining! We had parents who taught us Truth and responsibility and obligation regarding work. In essence preparation for life which was encountered at an early age then. Candles and oil lamps provided light.  Water from a well on a neighbor’s property.

Thomas C. Cullinane