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Eventually, I began working part-time jobs during the school year, gaining an appreciation for work ethic, time management and commitment to my financial and scholastic goals.As graduation approached, and I was completing courses such as Career Choices, I began to wonder what possible options were available to someone like me.
We grew up impoverished and my parents had a difficult and stormy relationship.
They would often fight in front of us, which was distressing.
Not only was it fun to work outside, it was also my first taste of financial independence.
I opened my first bank account and used the money to pay for my school fees, supplies and clothes for the next school year, which helped out my father a great deal.
I became very self sufficient, learning by trial and error to do my own laundry, keep the house clean, and often cooking for myself and my dad.
This new lifestyle gave me a sense of accomplishment for doing my part, but since poverty was always a constant in our lives, I jumped at the first opportunity of a summer job. During that first summer, the municipality of Clear Field hired me in the capacity of a manual labourer; I loved it.
When I reached grade three, school authorities decided to place me in a select group that split time between grades two and three.
This was never properly explained to me and my parents never talked to me about it, but again, it left me confused and uneasy, especially since being in this “special group” elicited teasing and cruel remarks from other children. Eventually my parents separated and my sisters and I went to live with my mother and new step-father, which necessitated a school change.
By grade six, I had changed schools three times and my home-life could be described as erratic and unstable.
I witnessed a lot of adult behavior that I don't think any child should have to see, and that impacted me in a way I would only understand much later.