That Northern Country Feel: Part One

Being a Low-Middle Class Kid in Small Town Vermont

White River, facing out towards the Bagley Farm; Granville, VT, 2010.  Photo courtesy of L. Rose Sargeant 

Family life and the place in which you are raised always has an effect on your psyche; be it how you respond to different situations, what you personal beliefs are, or how you converse with your friends, your upbringing has everything to do with who you are.  Living in a small state like Vermont is DEFINITELY no exception.

Being one of the lucky kids to be raised in a native, lower middle class “Vermon’er” family was one of the best things to have happened to me.  Every day, there was always something new and exciting to enjoy about the outdoors, neighbors that were willing to teach us something, a reminder of just how tough these people can really be when push comes to shove!  Granted, one side of my bloodline were all transplants from Poughkeepsie, NY, though you would only notice if my mother was angry and let her “city” accent pop out.  

My old man wasn’t always kosher for most people, either. Being that he was often a shut-in, and disliked a lot of things that involved being social with even his own family members, it left a lot of need to go exploring and see what I could learn about the world on my own, which typically resulted in a lot of bruises, cuts, scrapes, and mused golden hair all over my little girl skull, to my mother’s immense annoyance. None of my school friends understood why I would rather choose to stay home than go out and spend time at a movie theater, or shopping, though if they asked me the answer would be simple.  

I just wanted to make sure that my family was going to be okay.

And I wanted to look after my mother.  Have her be as stress free as possible.

Even though those times were ones that made me able to handle just about anything that was handed to me, it was not always easy.  For a number of years, I remember times when I would see my parents arguing over how to best pay for our next grocery trip, and still pay down some of the bills; riding with my mom to her work, and making a quick trip to the welfare office during her lunch to get food stamps; wanting to start to work at the age of seven years old, just so that my mom wouldn’t have to worry about me having to get a car later on when I was 17; sacrificing my personal outlet (playing field hockey), just so that my parents wouldn’t have the burden of paying for extra gas and all the sports equipment.  It definitely was not a picnic, growing up as I and many others did here in the Green Mountain State. But it sure does stay with you, and often times for all the right reasons.  

Living in this state is not all it is cracked up to be; you either have to have a hefty salary, or a strong backbone and good money sense to get by. You have to either make a lot of sacrifices, if you don’t make more than $50,000 a year, incur a significant amount of debt from schooling... or be fortunate enough to have the support of “well-off” relatives to find you way here. However, if I had to do my childhood again... I wouldn’t want to change a thing, except maybe my childhood hair cut!

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That Northern Country Feel: Part One
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