Posted: 09 Sep 2010 04:54 AM PDT
Walking in the cool of the evening on a very hot day, Husband reminds me that much of what we call "frugal" was actually called "life" when we wore the clothing of childhood. Hot, sticky, sleepless nights were just a part of summer memories. Going without air conditioning was not a sacrifice or a frugal strategy when we were growing up. It was just how most everyone we knew lived.
A summer afternoon in the library not only provided pleasure for the mind, but coolness to the skin and the custard stand after the sun went down was a happening place. Husband has a memory of his mother on a family trip so overcome with heat as they drove through the desert, that an immediate stop was made so she could gain some composure before getting back into the air less car. This still is a fun and precious memory when Husband and brothers gather together and reflect on life gone by. (Mom used to laugh with her sons as well when life was still hers to live.)
Eating from the pantry was not some unique plan but the result of fewer processed foods available and the wisdom of years gone by. Using what was on hand in fridge or cabinet was not so much a plan to cut the food bill as a necessity as grocery stores had many less open hours. Entrepreneurial family businesses were called lawn mowing and babysitting as young people sought to make some cash.
Bags of hand me down clothes took the place of today's thrift shops and saving up for a future purchase was necessary in a world before easy credit. Adding ruffles to a hem to make a skirt a bit longer was not being crafty, but just a part of stretching a wardrobe. Once upon a time, hanging clothes on a line was not the stuff of homeowner association complaint, but just how one dried their clothes.
Certainly, I am not yearning to return to the "good old days." I am most grateful to be able to turn on AC on a hot, humid night or throw a load of clothes in the dryer on a busy day. I have no compunction about putting a prepared meal in the oven when circumstances demand and thrift shopping is to me a true delight!
But Husband and I remind ourselves that today's sacrifices are not quite as severe as we might think they are. And again we remember that perspective is most important as we seek to live the frugal life. Anyone else have frugal memories from the "good old days?"
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