Bonnie Shell's Life Stories

What's something you really disagreed with your parents about?

When I was a child, I didn't disagree with my parents about anything. I started first grade when I was five years old, so most of my friends were at least a year older than I was. This became a problem when I was a teenager. I went to a three-year commercial high school, so I graduated from high school when I was sixteen.

I had an older cousin, Larry, and a few of my good girlfriends who liked to go polka-dancing on the weekends. They were all almost eighteen or older, and the dances didn't start until nine in the evening. My parents thought I was too young to stay out until midnight. We had several arguments about this. I finally convinced them that I was a responsible person, they knew my friends, and I had a full-time job.

Another thing we disagreed on was going away for a weekend. My girlfriends wanted to go to Wisconsin for a weekend and asked me to go with them. We lived in Illinois at the time, and my mother had some problems about "going over the state line." I was still only seventeen.

Another thing kids today wouldn't understand was that when I got my first job, I gave my mom my paycheck, and I got an allowance. My parents grew up during the Depression, which was how they were raised. As I got raises and promotions, I could keep the extra money. I paid my parents $25 a week, and when my dad lost his job, I raised it to $35 a week until I married and left home.

I have no problem with the way I grew up. I was close with my parents and always knew they had my back. I learned the value of hard work and that money didn't grow on trees. I tried to instill the same values in my children.