My Frugal Life: Thrifty Grandmas Stay With You Forever

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My Frugal LifeI was mostly raised by my Grandma, being the only chick in the nest of parents who both worked long and hard and often traveled to work in other areas. Grandma was born in 1895 and raised 6 children on her own after her no-good husband ran off. This was long before the days of Social Security. She had lived through some really hard times, and she taught me so much, it still makes me smile.

We quilted together, proper scrappy quilts from castoff clothing, and unraveled jumpers to be reknit - even the little scraps could go into crochet squares. Buttons, zips, and trimmings all had to be saved. I vividly remember being put over her knee to be sewn back into my pants after splitting them while climbing trees, and Grandma not putting her glasses on and stitching my skin into the seam. It made me squeal and her laugh. I also remember the huge balls of aluminum foil she saved to sell to the rag and bone man, having to unwrap presents carefully so the paper could be reused, and the constant preparing of whatever she had been given from people's gardens.

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I was the youngest and the only girl, and I resented not being allowed out to play all the time with my boy cousins. The house was always full of children and cooking and laughter.

Grandma raised 6 kids alone by cooking for everyone. She did hunting breakfasts, shooting parties, harvest suppers, cricket teas, baked and sold, and swapped baking for half a pig with the old farmer up the road - although she always said it wasn't her baking he was after - lol. She looked after local old folks, gleaned fruit, sent her boys out to rake through the local tip for anything useful, and took in washing and mending.

You forget so much, then you start to get older yourself and the grandchildren start to appear. You remember in your teens and 20's, how awful all the stuff you learned seemed, dreadful and mean spirited. Now that the hard times have come again, it doesn't seem mean spirited just really useful. If nothing else, the ability to cook is keeping us afloat. Maybe a woman's place isn't such a bad place. I hope my home continues to be full of kids and laughter for many years. I have a lot to thank my Grandma for.

By kayerunrig from Lincoln, Lincolnshire

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June 29, 20110 found this helpful

Wonderful story brings back memories for me, too. I'm so glad I learned thriftiness from my depression-era grandmother and how to appreciate and use every little thing.

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June 29, 20110 found this helpful

What a great story! I really enjoyed reading about your life growing up with your Gramma on the farm- I especially love the way of your British dialect, whenever I read something from the U.K. I like to try and figure out what certain words mean, for instance when you say "rake through the local tip" I'm thinking that "tip" must mean junk yard, lol! Love it, we should all have such a Gramma and an upbringing such as yours!

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June 29, 20110 found this helpful

I scarcely knew my grandparents, just had occasional visits, but still learned from them...like when I was tending my baby nephew and commented to Grandma that we needed to get him a teething ring, boy, did I get an earful! When I was a baby, when my parents were babies, we teethed on bacon, and we did just fine! In fact, she said that during The War (WWII), every scrap of bacon my folks could get their hands on went to teething babies. (I can't imagine doing without bacon for most of five years so my babies could teeth on it, now, there's a sacrifice, in my book!)

I figured out that kayerunrig was British when she spoke of unraveling jumpers. A British jumper is an American sweater, I've learned; an American jumper is a sleeveless dress worn with a blouse under it. I love learning word meanings in other lands, and word origins, absolutely fascinating!

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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks for sharing your warm,wonderful story. It's nice to see another poster from the UK.I have friends in Hull. Like Kendy, I love to figure out your sayings equal to ours. Although we may be an ocean apart our lives and stories can be the same.

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July 1, 20110 found this helpful

Your family and "growing-up-days" sound so much like mine and I can remember doing many of the same types of things as your Grandmother had you doing in order to fill needs and to teach at the same time. Like you, I'm so thankful for everything I learned and was able to pass on to my children.

Tradition is a wonderful gift to leave a child with. It enriches every aspect of their life and is the type of gift that just keeps on giving for all their lives.

Everyone should have a story as interesting as yours to share.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

Pookarina

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July 5, 20110 found this helpful

I was never fortunate enough to have a loving grandmother like yours. I am now a grandmother myself, and I am caring for my grandchildren. I pray that someday they will have the same warm feelings for me that you have for yours. :-) Thank you for posting such a heart warming story.

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