Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"My past"

A CLASS OF HER OWN


I sure do wish I could say that it gets better but it doesn't. Unless, you find a private donor/philanthropist who has mercy on you and decides to write you a big fat check. Or, like George Bush said (i doubt i've agreed with him on any other point other than this, in his presidency!) if you want out of poverty, then marry rich!

But as the documentary "PEOPLE LIKE US" shows; it's extremely rare for people to marry outside of their socioeconomic class. "God" knows, I'm in a class of my own! My first boyfriend, Steve (81 to 83) has this amazing memory and was able to reconstruct some things about my adoptive family that I didn't recall.  He told me a few months ago that my parents were" well to do"  I had no concept really of what social class I was in prior to 87.

He said: (this is a paraphrase) "Elana, you're dad always drove expensive cars, your mother's closet was filled with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of furs. But your parents were two of the most selfish people I think I've ever met, as they said there was no money when you told them you desperately wanted to go to college. They fought you tooth and nail, forbade you; told you that you have to keep working so you can give them money!"

I always assumed that when we moved out of the big house in Randallstown (when I was 12) and into an apt., that it was because my parents fell into financial ruin. But Steve said that was not the case, and that my father told Steve (in about '82) that "you 2 will never want for anything, consider yourselves taken care of!" (my father assumed Steve and I would get married) Perhaps had Arnold not married Helen, I never would have had to go through all of this shit. But Helen definitely" wore the pants" in the family and controlled the finances after 1975. (She did not want to adopt me, and only adopted me so that Arnold wouldn't leave her)

Helen,( adoptive mother) drilled into me throughout my time at her house to save everything I get or earn.. Relatives put money into my account, and Helen said: save the birthday money people give you , never spend it. Well, when I turned 18, I probably would have had up to 50k in my account. I told my mother I was ready for my money, and she said: "there is nothing left, remember when you asked me for money so you could eat pizza at the mall?"

So, in 1981, I started out in the world with no savings at all.  Cash poor but never really thought of myself as poor until after 1993. I had enough food and a stable address for the first 24 years of my life.

In '82 I announced my desire to go to college, but Arnold and Helen forbade me.  Steve said I fell into a severe depression. He said I was miserable at my job as a medical transcriptionist, and that if my parents hadn't forbade me from going to college I would have never been mugged by those 2 men during my lunch break at my job across the street from Reisterstown Road Plaza. That's a good point.

I believe that  my academic aspirations are probably genetically based, since Arnold and Helen didn't seem to have any interest in learning or reading.   In 1990, my birthmother sent me a Baltimore Sun newspaper article about my biological uncle on my father's side;  "THE SCRAPPY , CIGAR SMOKING MILLIONAIRE IS BACK IN JAIL!"

Anyhow, against my parents will, IN 1982, I enrolled in night school. It took me 4 years to get an a.a. degree and six more to get a Bachelors. I got through on grants, loans, my own funds, and no parental blessing. (And my father is Jewish! It's the rare American Jewish father who doesn't have high aspirations for his children.)

Bill said: that it's foolish to go into debt for a college degree. But I will never ever regret it. When you face tremendous odds in your pursuit of a goal, then reach it; you find out what you are made of!

So, my adoptive family were well to do, but didn't let me know it, and my biological family on my father's side are very, very well to do, but not in my life. (I met my bio. father 3x, but no other relatives on that side, yet) So, this is why I say I'm in a class of my own. Poor as dirt, with smarts and talent, (Go ahead, toot your own horn when no-one else will!) but needing a lucky break or large donation to live the full life that I want and deserve.........

1 comment:

Chelsea said...

Hey Elana! I'm sorry I've disappeared. I am still here reading everytime you update. And yes you do deserve help...