My Frugal Life: Great Impression

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I grew up in a family who knew The Great Depression. They made a Great Impression on how I lived, as well. My Frugal LifeMy Grandpa raised his own hogs, and showed me how to make a ball out of a hog bladder early on. (You just tie up one open end, blow it up, then tie off the other end.) He and my Grandma both showed me how to garden, save the seeds for next year, and use leaves plowed under to fertilize the soil so no fertilizer ever had to be purchased for their farm. My grandma made most if not all my clothes, some from empty flour sacks and feed sacks.


Grandma also taught me to make my own toys and to play with nature's gifts. I used scraps of cloth to make doll clothes for paper dolls I had cut out of magazines and pasted onto pasteboard which came out of newly bought dress shirts, etc. I used scraps of soap to make my own bubble solution, and used her empty spools from thread to blow the bubbles. They work much better than today's bubble stuff, too.

Grandpa was thrifty with power and heat, as well. He sat by the fireplace in the evenings of winter, lights out, singing hymns with us. We loved it, and cherish those memories to this day. When it came time for bed, the fire died down, and out came the horse-hair blankets for our bed. We were plenty warm without any heat in the house, and Grandpa would be up and heating the house back up before we got up. We used a nice, fresh snow to make snow ice cream, rather than buy it, and would put extra in the freezer to make ice cream on July 4th every year.


Life was simple then - no cellphones to answer, no TV to mess with our minds as it does many today (I do not watch TV even now, though my hubby does). We made friends with farm animals, and had cats to catch mice, dogs to guard our house, a horse to ride, a mule to plow, and goats to milk and keep the grass cut nicely. Chickens laid our eggs, or became Sunday dinner. We even grew our own peanuts. The only way my grandma could keep me out of the peanut barrel (she thought!) was to tell me they would give me a belly ache if I ate green peanuts. I ate plenty and never got a belly ache! haha. A simple, frugal life can be very good, when one does not mind working at it a bit.

By Jacketbacker from Greer, SC

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August 23, 20100 found this helpful

Those are memories that you will never forget, and you are right, we really don't need a cell phone, TV and such, TV, I can do without, cell phone, husband insists i have it, all is good. But, we really can get along without them all, life back then I hear was hard, but then I can hear my husband and his brother and sisters tell, they were always outside playing with the other kids, but, the parents always knew where they were.

People watched out for the other person, helped each other out, shared with each other. That day is all but gone, we need to keep these things alive, each one helping the other one out. My brother in law likes to (pay it forward) help someone out, and instead of getting paid for it, tell the person you helped to help out someone else.

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August 27, 20100 found this helpful

A wonderfully told story that is so familiar to me and our family's way that I could have written it myself.

It's always so nice to hear from others who know how to really live without all the "comforts and discomforts" of 2010. I wish every child sitting in front of a TV right now could spend a week doing the things we did. Most would come away with a renewal of attitude and a desire to change what's going on in today's world.

Thank you for sharing a really great story.


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August 27, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you so much for sharing a life so special that, sadly, barely exists at all anymore!

I was very Blessed because even growing up as a city girl in the 50's and 60's I could spend a few days each year with both sets of grandparents who did canning and stored it and fresh foods in the cellar. Being able to feed the chickens and watch their eggs hatch and, eww to people these days but, being able to watch one grama ring a chickens neck and place it in boiling water to remove the feathers and bake for dinner. Among other old fashioned contraptions one grama had a washing board and wringer washer to do the laundry and hung clothes on the line to dry and the other had a wood burning cooking stove until she passed away in the late 1970's!

Even in the city neighbors helped each other with yard work and took turns taking the weekly trash to the old fashioned landfills and everyone watched out for each others children and felt safe to scold them when needed! TV was only watched after dinner or cartoons on Saturday morning as a treat before the expected weekly chores that were expected to be done and we children didn't sit around 24/7 on telephones or computers on our free time but rather spent as one on one, face to face time with family, friends and neighbors and playing outdoors.

My heart wrenches for the young ones of today who are not even aware of the most simple pleasures and everything that seems important now is technology and gadgets and, truly, most younger folk don't even know how to socialize because everything has become robotic. :-(

Thank you again for sharing your lovely memories!

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August 31, 20100 found this helpful

There's nothing I want more than to get back to a simpler way of life. Being 24, I'm in the midst of the generation of consumerism, and I can't stand it. All I can do is strive to change my own ways and encourage others.

Thank you for sharing your story.

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August 31, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you! I like the term for what you learned: The Great Impression. Somehow we think that love cannot be expressed without material goods, and being indulged. Your article showed that is not true. I have some lovely picture in my head of your life, especially of your firelit hymn sings.


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September 14, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement. I sure hope some of what I said will sink into some of our youth so they can have at least a glimpse of the wonder of growing up in a safe, simple, hard-working world!

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Anonymous Flag
April 19, 20160 found this helpful

what a beautiful memoir...thanks for sharing...reminds me of my grandparents as well..

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