Friday, April 25, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

Mama didn't finish school—she only made it through the sixth grade—and yet she was a pretty smart cookie. She never did have much money, but she lived through the Great Depression and had learned to make the most of whatever she had. She was a woman who knew how to live frugally. Recycling was nothing new to her. Stretching food That woman could take a can of pork and beans, a little onion, and a potato and turn it into a feast. A bowl of her Pork and Bean Soup and a biscuit made a filling supper. I guess you could have just as easily called it Depression Soup, for that’s when she learned to make it to feed her hungry family. Recycling foil Another habit I attribute to surviving the depression era:after using aluminum foil, she would painstakingly smooth it out, wash it with hot soapy water, rinse it, and hang it up to dry. When it was dry, she folded it up and stored it use again. Each piece was used several times before it was tossed into the trash. Making flour sack clothes When I was a little girl, I had many dresses Mama made from recycled flour sacks. Producers used to bag the flour in cotton sacks with pretty patterns printed on them. Mama would wash the bags and turn them into dresses for me and shirts for my brothers. She had learned to be quite an accomplished seamstress. I seldom had any store-bought clothes until I was in high school and earning my own money. Unique rolling pin Mama’s rolling pin was an old round whiskey bottle she’d had for years. It worked very well. The long neck made a good handle and left one hand free to apply pressure to the lower part of the bottle which served as the actual rolling pin. I have borrowed her idea lately as we are living in an RV with very limited storage in the kitchen. We usually have a bottle of wine in the fridge, so I’ll wrap plastic wrap around the wine bottle and use it as my rolling pin. Then I can just remove the plastic and place it back in the fridge. An added bonus: my “rolling pin” is chilled and makes the dough easier to handle. Disposable dishes? Not! One habit of Mama’s that I haven’t adopted is washing and reusing disposable dishes. After I was married and would visit Mama, she would often cook a big meal and invite several family members over to eat. I’d buy disposable plastic plates and cups to save time washing dishes. Her frugality won out again—she would insist we wash the plates and cups and save them to use again—in spite of my insistence that the plastic items were disposable. So much for getting out of washing dishes! Mama learned a lot during the Great Depression about recycling and reusing items as well as making things stretch to their limits. It stayed with her all her life. I guess that old saying really is true: Old habits die hard.


BJ said...

Hi "Sclew"! :>}
I "remember Mama" - I also remember as a child, we saved fat, tin cans, old alum foil; all sorts of things for the Victory Drive. My Mom, too, was an expert seamstress and my dear MIL use to make her own patterns! I haven't any of those talents because no matter how much I 'whined' Mom would not teach me to sew. She said I didn't need the "back ache and eye strain." However, Mom was a cross between the 'material girl' and Imelda. She left frugality behnd and lived her last days in material splendor! My dear, departed MIL stayed frugal to the end - a real Proverbs 31 woman! Very different from my "spiffy" little Mom in her 5" stileto heels, pencil skirts and the gardenia in her hair. So God gave me the best of two kinds of women in the world. I try to be the 'balanced' one; enjoy nice things moderately, and recycle reuse and never, never, throw a piece of paper on the ground! yikes!
God Bless

Ridgewoman (NM)

Anonymous said...

add me to your blog list, Beth:-) I love you!

*kusje* Y said...

When I was little, we lived with Granny (Mama, to you) while Dad went to Goose Bay, Canada. I, like BJ, remember Granny's sewing prowess. We could pick out a dress from the catalog, and she could remake it perfectly...especially if there was also a picture of the rear view!!

And now I know where I got my idea that I need to reuse my aluminum foil!! heehee

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