Daily Prompt: West End Girls
by Krista on February 18, 2014
Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different?
I don’t remember being aware of different social classes until I changed schools in the 9th grade. Of course, it wasn’t social classes I was aware of, it was more a hierarchy in the school itself; how long you had been going to school there, if you were one of the smart ones, or one of the smoking group.
Seems to me that I have always stumbled along in the middle; whether it be upper middle class or lower middle class.
I was lucky enough to already have several friends at my new school, even if most of them were considered middle class. My mother’s brother was Chief of Police in the town, so I had three cousins that had been going to the same school all of their life. The oldest graduated at the end of my first school year there. He was very smart and received a fully paid academic scholarship to one of our state’s esteemed colleges. Another cousin was in the same grade as me. He was a smoker and I tended to hang out with him and his friends even though I didn’t smoke at that time. I did make several friends from that group. My youngest cousin was a grade under me and wouldn’t come to the high school until my 10th grade year.
My father was a supervisor at a local plant, we owned our home, but I was still considered lower middle class at school, even though my family was considered upper middle class.
After I was married, we lived as lower class citizens for a long time. My alcoholic husband never held a steady job, so it was left up to me to get a steady job that provided insurance for my family. It was a long time before I was able to pull us up to lower middle class. We still lived in a mobile home, but I owned my land, which I was, (and still am), very proud of.
It wasn’t until I went to work for the school system, that I fully became aware of the different classes of society. I worked with the homeless; most were at the very end of the poverty level. I also worked with administrators and teachers that were upper middle class or the utmost highest of higher class for our area.
I was able to see the broad perspective of society and learn that the higher one was, the less they cared about others.
I was happy to be living in the middle and that I still cared about people who were at the lowest. Most considered me to be low class, as I lived, with my husband and two daughters, in a built-on-to camper on a lake lot. Who needs a swimming pool, when you have a lake right in your front yard?
It was the politics of my job that drove me crazy. It was all the long hours I worked without pay, all the heavy lifting of getting clothing and school supplies to needy children, and the hours I was on my feet that broke my health. Together, they wore me down until I had to resign from my job due to health problems.
I suppose we are considered lower middle class, or lower, now that I no longer work, but we are happy. What else matters?