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Letter: Many living in poverty don’t know otherwise

Many living in poverty don’t know otherwise

There is much talk these days about the poor, what with the election of Pope Francis and the media. I am 74 years old, originally from a small coal mining town in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

My parents and I lived in a three-room apartment – two bedrooms and a kitchen. We had no furnace; our only heat was a coal stove in the kitchen. There was no hot water tank; water for baths was heated up on the stove. We had an ice box; no refrigerator. The cellar floor was only dirt. Our toilet was an outhouse in the back yard. We had no TV; only a radio for entertainment.

My father never owned a car. He of course worked in the mines. I never considered our family as being poor. In fact, I never thought of it. Maybe because everyone we knew never talked about or worried about poverty as we do today. In fact, I didn’t find out that we were poor until I met a girl, my first love, at the age of 16. She lived in a neighboring town, and her father was an eye surgeon.

After my first visit to their home, I came home and promptly told my mother that we were poor. She was surprised that I hadn’t already known that. It really wasn’t something that was devastating to me; it was more of a surprise. Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining, nor am I bragging. Just trying to provide a different view of poverty.

Albert Huntz