People Who Grew Up Wealthy Share Culture Shock Moments

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14.

“In 1977, I thought everyone had a built-in pool, pool house, sauna, and electric car. Yes, we had one of the first electric cars; it only went 50 mph. Summers were spent on the boat and skiing at the lake! We had family movie night once a week in our theater room, and our recliners all had massages and rollers. We also ate out four days out of the week and had family meetings to decide where we would go on vacation that year.”

“Then, at 14, I was sent to Earth, Texas, to stay with an aunt in the summer of ’78. My father said it would be a good learning experience. I had no clue what was about to happen. The clothes I wore to my new surroundings — my cousins and folks of that very small town looked at me the day I arrived as though I were a celebrity! There was only one burger joint, one grocery store, and lots of dirt roads. I had to share my aunt’s bedroom, and she had to walk out of her room to the restroom! The house was no more than 800 square feet, the size of our restroom. My grandfather’s truck was an old 1949 Ford that I had to ride in the back of. Talk about shock. These kids in this town were so happy and adjusted; they all worked every day after school. It was crazy! One kid had a beat-up car; he would carry all the other kids to and from the burger joint or drive to this water hole where they’d literally swing off an old rope and tire from a tree! At my school, every kid had the newest Camaro, Mercedes, or Beemer. Needless to say, when I finally came home, I felt so different, a little embarrassed by the size of my surroundings and all we had. When I graduated from high school, the town I visited in Earth, Texas, sent me a graduation gift: an alarm clock because I was always late. I’m 60 now, and I still have that little clock and cherish it so.”

—Anonymous

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