Bankruptcy to stability


Natalie Stras

Natalie with her mother and sister

The tragedy that struck New York City in September of 2001 not only affected the city, but it affected the whole country. My dad, Keith, decided to pursue a career change in the early 2000’s, he sold office supplies and changing it into a travel business where they would travel around the country. It seemed like a great fit for my dad and his partner to do this. It ended up doing fine until the tragedy of 9/11 struck. It not only affected my dad and his partner, but also the many people in the travel business. “People were afraid to travel by plane, people would either drive to go somewhere or ended up just staying home, and that lasted for a pretty long time,” my mom explained.

Because of this loss of my dad’s business, my parents lost a lot of money. They needed to stay positive and come up with a way to make some money. “I decided to go back to work full-time after you were born even though I didn’t want to, I knew that’s what I had to do to support our family,” my mom said. “Your father and sister started to sell toys at local fairs to collect some money for groceries, while I stayed in the car feeding you,” my mother explained. My dad also started collecting and selling VCR players to people around the town to collect money too. Although I do not remember all of this happening, I could tell this was not easy for my family to go through. Even though they were feeling sad and shocked, but they knew they needed to stay positive, having two younger children to provide for.

A year after 9/11, the travel business never really picked up again, so my dad started to look around for job. He got lucky enough to have the opportunity of getting a government job, and both of my parents started to work full-time. I asked my mom if there was any lesson or realization they had during this time in their lives. “Your father took a risk in changing careers, and he should’ve been more cautious with that. The lesson learned was not to get a job that is such a risk, but you know that you will be able to provide for your family,” my mom said.