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Many living in poverty don’t know otherwise

There is much talk these days about the poor, what with the election of Pope Francis and the media. I am 74 years old, originally from a small coal mining town in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

My parents and I lived in a three-room apartment – two bedrooms and a kitchen. We had no furnace; our only heat was a coal stove in the kitchen. There was no hot water tank; water for baths was heated up on the stove. We had an ice box; no refrigerator. The cellar floor was only dirt. Our toilet was an outhouse in the back yard. We had no TV; only a radio for entertainment.

My father never owned a car. He of course worked in the mines. I never considered our family as being poor. In fact, I never thought of it. Maybe because everyone we knew never talked about or worried about poverty as we do today. In fact, I didn’t find out that we were poor until I met a girl, my first love, at the age of 16. She lived in a neighboring town, and her father was an eye surgeon.

After my first visit to their home, I came home and promptly told my mother that we were poor. She was surprised that I hadn’t already known that. It really wasn’t something that was devastating to me; it was more of a surprise. Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining, nor am I bragging. Just trying to provide a different view of poverty.

Albert Huntz

Tonawanda