Monday, April 21, 2008

Mom and Grandma Part Two

I had so many good comments on the last post that I'm entertaining myself by adding Part Two.

One lady emailed with the opinion that what worked for Mom and Grandma in the 1930s and 1940s probably would not work today. In many respects, she's right. Most of us don't buy 50# bags of anything packed in cloth feed sacks we then make into clothing. How many women OR men or children would wear clothes made out of feed sacks now? Not many, unless designer labels were sewn into the backs of them.

Most of us who live within the city limits of any size town can't raise our own chicken, ducks, or geese for eggs and food. Raising any sort of livestock is forbidden by most municipalities. What we CAN do is buy free range chickens or eggs laid by said chickens, but they cost a lot more so no saving money there.

What about cable TV, Satellite TV, internet access, and cell phones? Such modern technology was not available in "the old days" so Mom and Grandma didn't have to budget for such luxuries. Their TV access, when they finally decided to splurge, was through an antenna, either purchased or home made. It won't be long before frugal folks still gaining TV access through an antenna will be forced to change. The cable and satellite providers have seen to that with the aid of our politicians. Then they'll have a few more hold-outs to raise prices on every few months.

Gasoline was between five cents and a quarter a gallon in those olden golden days. Grandma and Grandpa thought that price was outrageous so limited their driving as much as possible. If they had to travel any distance to a funeral or other family function, they eliminated some non-necessity from their budget to help pay for the gas.

During the war years -- World War One and World War Two -- everyone had to do without certain things, such as sugar, butter, gasoline, rubber. And citizens were encouraged to grow their own vegetables in Victory gardens. I'm as guilty as anyone now when it comes to forced rationing. My generation and the ones younger than me want what we want when we want it because that's how it's been for us for decades. Still, we do have our forced rationing now. It's just handled differently than it was in Mom and Grandma's day. Prices today force us to limit what we buy. And our politicians can't pretend that we're all "in this together" like they did in the first half of the 20th century. The only ones in our current stew pot are middle and low income citizens, while politicians cruise along in the rarefied air they've created for themselves.

But, as another emailer pointed out, we do have options. No one so far is forcing us to have cable and satellite TV, internet access, or cell phones. It's not a requirement to buy designer clothes and shoes or shop til we drop in search of luxuries. We COULD grow our own veggies if we put our minds to it. Think about that for a second. If you grow your own veggies, you'll know where they came from and what additives might be on them. You can't say the same about vegetables you buy from supermarkets now.

I think that addresses the comments. One final thought: If the economy continues as it has been, we might have no choice but to do without, cut back, and return to living like Mom and Grandma did in less complicated times.

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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