A very good friend of mine since childhood posted something this morning on money which triggered my own experience, which I would like to share. To this day, Sheila is one of my oldest and dearest friends.

The way that this situation was handled between my mother and  I  stayed with me most of my life.  It ultimately was a fine lesson in life.

I went to work at eleven years old.  I was very mature for my age.  My parents worked hard and I had a very tough time as I was growing up.  They were wonderful people, kind, loving and wonderful. Money was major, as they lost their store, and their livelihood. Without money in your home, and knowing in a stressful environment has a major effect on your life.

As I mentioned before, I was working at a dress shop in Huntington Park California, by the age of eleven.  My parents had a store on the main boulevard in Huntington Park, California.  All kinds of living went on in that short few blocks, in my growing up years.

For the lack of a baby sitter before eleven, I spent the time in the back of my parents men’s store.

For diversion, besides reading at the age of seven and until eleven.  I played solitaire, read the paper, drew, read,  did errands like taking the little bit of funds my father took in to the bank, and afternoon, I may go to the show for 5 cents, and see movies over and over again at the Lyric or Warner show on the Blvd.  My favorite over and over again movies were Ester Williams, swimming in beautiful costumes. It was wonderful fantasy, and a  world I never thought I would live in. Her costumes, the water, and the music, and just her were a fantasy, that I had with the movies, over and over again with the same film that played all week.

In those years I learned many difficult things.  I learned how it must feel to loose a business, be short of money, no money for bills, loving, caring, and family, were my mother and father were emotionally tight.   My mother worked in another store as a sales lady in lynwood, several miles away. Things were so tight money wise, that my father would turn off half of the lights.  There was a cash register, and he frequently would lift the till, which was a peaking area of what had been sold that day. I remember his face, when very few people had entered the store to purchase.  He did the window trimming.  He tried, and tried to no avail, and ultimately lost. My brother with 11 years older than I. At my age of 11, he was the apple of my parents eyes.  He was supposed to go to college.  College was never mentioned for me.  I think at that time, boys were supposed to be educated, and girls, were supposed to get married, have children, and be the supportive spouse.

In the back of the store as a teen ager, my father and mother bought me a record player and blocked off the back of the store, for an area, for me to entertain my friends in high school. Much dancing went on in the back of the store.  My parents went without, so that I could have. I had a large record player, which I know they payed for on time.  It went from the store in Huntington Park to where we rented in South Gate.

I did not know any other life, except the piano lessons I went to since I was 4 years old in Long Beach.  My father took many girls and boys, ( 5) to the piano lesson, where they waited in the car, and then we all went to Alimatos Bay to the beach, carrying our lunches.  I am still friends with many of those people today.

Back to the money in my story telling.  At eleven, I fibbed about my age to the owner of a ladies shop on the Blvd.  I was very mature in looks.  I was now eleven.  He asked me my age, and I said l3, with a work permit from the school.  I still do not know if I fooled him.  But, I was hired.  I worked and worked at 50 cents an hour for all junior and part of senior high school.  Late on I joined my mother in the ladies shop in Lynnwood.

Now more about money:  Hopefully many of us adults have leaned life lessons.  Growing up in those years is different than now.  Many kids worked in middle class families.  Today, is very different.  Most children from the upper class, grow up spoiled and lacking of knowledge of stories of above….Is that a good thing, value wise, or not?  I am a psychologist and have spent much of my adult life helping others.  Today is much different. As my children grew up, we insisted they work,  work at something, and save and learn the value of money.  Did this help?  I am skeptical, as many adult children who are in the same age bracket as mine, are very spoiled, and feel entitled, and in one group for adult parents, I experienced parents who felt financially stable, and many had feelings that their adult children were just waiting to inherit.  Sadly, but it is true.


As I mentioned above, I worked from the age of eleven.  What did I know?  I was proud of the 50 cents I saved an hour.  My check every week after school hours came to: $ 9.89. (after taxes)

I would cash the check and put the money in one of my fathers cigar box.  I was proud of the money I saved.  I marveled at 50.00.  One morning, my mother asked me if she could borrow the 50.00 from my cigar box.  I of course said yes.  She promised she would pay me back on Tuesday. TUESDAY NEVER EVER CAME.  . That was a life lesson that changed my life, and I will never forget.    I have always respected spending and money.That experience influenced my lifes inner battle with money.    In fact I am afraid and at the same time respect what can happen.   I saw, experienced and felt too much.  A life’s lesson and a journey for the rest of my life.  As an adult parent, I know feel that my mother felt embarrassed and at the same time had no alternatives.  Did she know that this particular action would have influence on something major in my entire life?  I think now that she was sad, and just let it go.  My mother is gone now, but she was a strong lady, and I miss her still.  She just did what she had to do.

. My dear friend’s story on her blog triggered this memory today.   Not just a memory, but a difference in life’s journey, and how one feels about spending and buying.  Everything I have ever done, has been influenced by that cigar box, and mixed up with the love and the anger at that moment in time.  Nevertheless a life’s lesson. Question is?  How do our children respect and spend money?  Is it just expected?  Is it worked for?  Are there values attached to how our children attain their money?  In my profession, I see families where their children just feel entitlement. In fact, many adult children suffer from narcissism.

On a field trip with the school, we went to a bank.  I opened an account, and always put my money in the account. ( from that incident on)

This was a sad lesson at the time.  I probably never got over that feeling in the pit of my stomach. But when I think back, I will never forget my mothers pain of having to ask her young daughter for money from her CIGAR BOX.  Lesson….My parents were always short of money, but very long on love and caring.  I was very angry and confused at that time of those conflicting feelings, but today, and since I was a young adult, I always wondered how those loving parents felt…….DI