I will never be able to repay my parents (who are now deceased) for the love and understanding they gave me when I was growing up.
My family was a lower middle class family and we lived in a small town in central upstate New York State. My father was a high school building construction teacher and worked in the summers as a carpenter. My mother was a stay-at-home-mom, very typical for the 1950s and 1960s. They spend their limited resources frugally. My father built our house with his father, who was also a carpenter. They went without new clothes so that we growing children could have the clothes and shoes we needed. They never went out to dinner. Dinner was always a family affair at home. My father built forts for us to play in and a play house. They built blocks for us to use as toys. Our vacations were always a trip to Virginia to visit my mother’s family in the summer before school started.
They sent us to the school associated with our church, and I worked hard in school to make them proud of me. I was the valedictorian of my 8th grade class and thus won a scholarship to a Catholic girls’ high school, so my parents did not have to worry about paying for my high school education. I worked hard in high school and won scholarships to help with my university education. I still had student loans to deal with, but my parents contributed a lot to my university education. Without their help, I could never have gone to university.
I married right after university and they gave me the best wedding they could afford. My husband would have liked a more elaborate wedding, but my parents did the best they could. When our child was born, they doted on her and though they couldn’t buy her many things, my mother made her clothes and my father made her toys.
My parents gave the best they had to give to me, and that is a debt that I can never repay, even if I had a thousand years in which to do it. Thanks, Mom and Dad.