There's still a few questions that need answers to. But that's another story - or is it.
Raised on Getting By
“I have been living here all of my life. That’s one of the reasons why I am talking to today. I’m here to tell you what it was like to grow up in this Community when I was your ages.” Kassa stood in front of a group of male and female. There were about fifty of them seated behind small desks.
Kassa appeared to be in her late thirties. But she’s talking about when she was nine to eleven. “I live only a few streets from here. And I have lived there all of my live. We wanted to move all the time. But we couldn’t afford to do it.”
“It wasn’t that bad when I was growing up compared to how you live today. At least it wasn’t for most of those who lived here. But it was for me.” Kassa paused after only a few sentences. But she also did it to catch her breath.
“I don’t remember what my mother looked like. There were a lot of images around that showed her growing up in that place too. But I was barely two when she died. It’s been just me and my father ever since.”
“For the first few years it wasn’t too bad for me. I lived like a pretty normal Young One. It wasn’t until I was around your ages that it started going down. Part of that reason was because I was about to graduate into the Very Young Adult category. But it was mostly because this Community was starting to become the way it is today.”
Kassa did stand before the Very Young Adults there. But now she leaned against the desk behind her. “The clothes I wore growing up were pretty old. I don’t really remember where I got them. But I know it wasn’t at the expensive stores. It was from individuals and Community stores. I kind of remember going into them a few times.”
“The clothes weren’t just old but they were pretty holey too. They didn’t have any hole in personal areas. When they got like that they got thrown away. I did have a lot of clothes. But none of them were new. And the other kids knew it. They teased me about it a lot. That part of my life wasn’t a very good one. But it wasn’t all that bad either.”
“We weren’t as lucky when it came to food. I didn’t have a lot to eat each day. But I did have something to eat. It usually wasn’t very good. My father wasn’t very good at preparing food. When I got to be a Young Adult I took over the task of making the food for us. It got a little better after that. But not that much better. I’m not a very good food preparer either.”
“I wasn’t the only one who had to live like that. But I was the only one who had to do with a single parent. Which made it harder on me. If I wasn’t in Learning Classes I was at our place. I didn’t get the chance to play outside. And I didn’t get involved with anyone when I got older. Not that anyone would back then. I looked even worse than the way I lived.”
“We didn’t have a lot of hot water. What little we did have had to be used for food preparation. As a result, I didn’t get to clean myself up very often. And the other kids knew that too. They also teased me about that. That’s another reason I spent so much time at our place. I spent most of my time there watching old video programming because we couldn’t afford to get the modern ones. It didn’t take me long to because an expert on those videos. That’s what made me who I am today.”
Kassa started walking around the room. No matter where she went everyone’s eyes stayed on her. “I know what all of you are thinking about. How did becoming an expert help me live better. It didn’t. but it helped me live through it better. I was raised on just getting by. And that didn’t change after I became an adult – or a few years later when my father died.”
“I was barely a Young Adult when it really started to change for me. My father entered me in a contest because he knew I knew a lot about old videos. That’s what the contest was about. He was always trying to get me to do something to get me out of this Community. But I refused to go because of him. I won that contest. And I used the Credits and Units I won to further my learning beyond childhood.”
“I’m not sure what he did for a living. I don’t think he ever did anything. I’ve tried to remember over the years. But I couldn’t – and still don’t. All I can remember is we lived off the Community. By the time I was old enough, about your ages now, we were part of the Community who needed help to survive.”
“You are all probably wondering why I didn’t leave here when I became an adult – especially after my father died. It’s because the Community helped me to become an adult. And now it was my turn to help the Community.”
“This Community Center is just the beginning. It wasn’t so bad for me because I did have my father that was at our place when I got home from Learning Classes each day. But for almost everyone else it wasn’t like that. They were at their places alone or had to wonder the streets. It was a very dangerous place back then.”
“I made a promise to myself that I would change all that if I could. As the new Leader of this Community that’s exactly what I am going to do.”