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By a great many measures both my parents grew up poor in rural America, in large families. Throughout my childhood both my parents worked full-time practically all the time to make ends meet. Somehow they managed to buy their own home eventually, despite having three kids to care for (eventually they'd have six total).
Their own raisings helped them in dealing with hardships along the way. And they tried to train we their kids in these things too-- even while simultaneously trying to shield us from such rigors.
Surely one of the hardest decisions they ever made was to buy a new set of Worldbook Encyclopedias, complete with a supplemental set of Childcraft books, around the time I was in the third grade, and maybe my very last brother and sister hadn't even been born yet.
Elsewhere on-site I mention things I learned from my dad about junkstorming and the like to stretch what you have through creativity and elbow grease to better resemble what you want.
But I'm sure it was my mom who fought tenaciously for the Encyclopedia set over my dad's resistance. For this was a pretty expensive purchase at the time; maybe equivalent to a good-sized fraction of the price of a new car!
Beyond his support in making sure we attended school, dad did little directly in regards to our literacy but to occasionally bring home comic books people had discarded at the factory where he worked. Although those did greatly encourage my own reading in general, the encyclopedias were overwhelmingly my main at-home source for learning about real history and science and all other matters available in the text.
I did my best to read through the entire encyclopedia set during the third and fourth grades, I believe. But mom's purchase also included the Childcraft books, which were themselves somewhat of a mix of pleasure and educational reading. And so maybe something in-between comic books and encyclopedias.
My exposure to the Encyclopedias and Childcraft books are probably what locked in my love for books and knowledge in general thereafter. And made me a regular at school and public libraries for decades afterwards.
By high school I'd often skip lunch so I could instead spend the money on a new paperback book. And no, my parents did not know about that.
Now we have the internet. Or at least some of us do. And slowly but surely humanity seems to be pouring all their collective knowledge into this new electronic pool.
But at the same time billions across the world remain mired in poverty-- or something not far from it.
While I can't do much at all financially to help those folks, I can try to do something knowledge-wise like my mom did for us with those Worldbook Encyclopedias. By sifting through what's available on the internet to find what information might make the biggest difference for the better, in the hands of impoverished parents (or even their children), worldwide.
And that's what my page 'How to live well on very, very little' is all about.