Joy (cithra) wrote,

status meme (from rimrunner)

rimrunner has a list of items in a recent post under the "bold them if they apply to you" schema, theoretically about social/financial status growing up.

Here is the list from her post, with my annotations:

Father went to college
Father finished college
Mother went to college
Mother finished college
Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.

Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
Were read children's books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18

The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively There ain't none, really, that I've seen at least - but my sample size is pretty small.
Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp Once, to Campfire Girls camp, and at least 5 years of church girl's camp.
Family vacations involved staying at hotels We might stay at a motel under extreme circumstances, but it was usually at relatives' houses or camping. An actual motel (not hotel, please notice, those were considered far too expensive) was a real treat.
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18 My clothing was largely made by my mother, to my childish chagrin.
Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child
This had more to do with being the only girl child with two brothers. After a certain age, I got my own room, but as a youngster all three of us shared.
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course I read this first as an AP course and was going to bold it, but as written it isn't true.
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16 At 6 mos old and I have no memory of it, so I hesitate to count it
Went on a cruise with your family
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up Missed this at first - not so much art galleries or formal museums as national parks (Yellowstone! Craters of the Moon!) and places like the Pacific Science Center
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family I knew they were expensive, but we Did Not Discuss Money. I grew up thinking/being told we were poor, and was stunned to find when I applied for college financial aid that I only qualified for Guaranteed Student Loans because of my parent's resources. Which resources were not, in fact, offered to help pay for said education, she said mildly bitterly. Sigh.

As I said there, we were pretty solidly blue-collar, but with some odd twists. First of all, I think a complicating factor is that my parents are from the generation that most of my cohort's grandparents occupy: my mother was 40 & my father 42 when I was born, and I'm the eldest of three. (Both my mother and her mother married at 35, which was rather late for their times.) We owned our own house free and clear & it was stuffed to the rafters with books, but I paid for my own schooling, only technically flew on a plane before 16 (I was 6 mos old, babe-in-arms) and The Phone Was Not A Toy, let alone the sort of thing I would be allowed to have for solely my own use.

My maternal grandmother (my m-grandfather's second-though-not-plural wife) was a schoolteacher, and my mother did complete a BA & get a teaching certificate, so we had zillions of books in the house and I learned to read so early I don't remember ever not being able to do so. My maternal grandfather, who died before I was born, owned and ran the general store, had a harness shop at one point, and served as the local Postmaster. My mother's younger (full) brother recently retired from a post at the University of Utah, but her half-brothers (all 7 of 'em) were ranchers in Idaho, as are the majority of my cousins from that line: sheep, beef cattle, and rodeo animals.

My paternal grandfather, on the other hand, was a bright but eccentric man who was a voracious learner but didn't particularly hold with formal education; he worked variously as a surveyor, mine forman, and rancher, mostly in southern Utah. While we have tons of his books annotated and filled with meticulous research notes, I don't think he ever completed a degree. My father may not have even formally finished high school, but he apprenticed as a pipe-fitter and insulator and was quite good at it. He was never much of a reader, though, and I suspect some dyslexia may have been involved (can't ask him now, as he's been dead for 12 years.) The closest thing to college he attended was his try for fighter pilot school when he was in the Navy during WWII, and he was one of the ones they washed out.

So my folks, as children of the Depression years, made paying off the mortgage on our house a major priority, and by paying ahead were the owners free and clear by the time I was six or seven years old (early 1970's). But property taxes were duly complained about when they came around, and my mom sewed most of the clothes I wore in grade school, and even after I stared getting store-bought pants/jeans she made most of my tops/shirts that weren't flannel, and all but one or two of my dresses. (I was a grunge-puppy before the term was invented, if a bizarrely squeaky-clean one, and there are yearbook photos that prove it. Whether that's a positive or a negative will be left as an exercise for the reader to work out.)

The hotel question made me laugh, for the reasons I mentioned above. Most of our trips were driving expeditions back to Idaho and Utah to visit relatives, where we stayed on couches and sofa beds and air mattresses or floors. We had a hugely heavy canvas tent for camping, which we did on the nights where the stretch between relations homes was too great to cover in a day. I liked camping, mostly, so it wasn't really a hardship other than my being envious of people who got to stay in motels, or better yet actual hotels with elevators and everything. So strong was that jealousy that even today I get almost as much pleasure out of staying in hotels on vacation as I do out of the travel purpose itself.

Apparently the original exercise was better focused, part of a set of resources concerning social class on campus put together by Will Barratt, Ph.D. I intend to do some more poking around there myself, but it's going to have to be a bit later when I've taken care of some of the things that have been hanging fire over the holiday office closures and so forth.

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