By: Travis Naughton

My dad did his best to provide for my brother Blake and me after my parents divorced, but he was an overworked and underpaid high school history teacher who barely made enough money to keep us fed and clothed. Our mother helped where she could, but she was an overworked and underpaid car salesperson who often struggled to live on the razor-thin commissions she earned while trying to prove herself in a “man’s business.” After my dad remarried, he quit teaching in order to go to graduate school, which meant that we had to live on my stepmother’s income as a server/hostess at Country Kitchen. When the time came to fill out my financial aid application for the University of Missouri, our family’s reported income was, to my recollection, around $13,000.

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