Too Good


My parents lived through the Great Depression.  You’ don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out given my own age, but that fact obviously colors how I see the world and there’s a story I want to tell you that helps to better know who I am.

My mom was a young girl — a teen — during the depression.  Like many teens she had a healthy appetite and a rapid metabolism in a time when food wasn’t all that plentiful, and even if it was to be had, a lot of folks didn’t have money for the niceties of life.

She frequently ended up with toast for breakfast.  Just toast.  The house rule was that you could put butter on your toast, or you could put jelly on the bread. (don’t even fool yourself into thinking that they might have had JAM — that was too expensive to even consider buying) You never put both butter AND jelly on the toast — that was TOO GOOD!

The Great Depression was a long time ago but some realities take a long while to change, and the idea that something can be too good remains with me to this day. In the context of our life today the swimming pool looms as a great example.  There are times when having access to something as “simple” as a swimming pool seems to be too good, too luxe, too extravagant.  All our lifetime we have lived a modest life.  We haven’t very often pursued the “nicest”, “fanciest”, “most expensive” options along the way; oh, there have been times, but that hasn’t been our modus operandi.

Since returning to Los Fresnos we’ve been making our way over to the pool pretty much every day.  Frequently when the temperatures are below 90º it seems we can have the pool entirely to ourselves.  Once the temps top 90º the other residents come out of their lairs; we had 11 swimmers at the pool yesterday! Whatever it is the heat seems to drive a community spirit that’s quite lovely. And the longterm residents (thus far) seem to far more of an amenable mind than when the Winter Texans are present.  They bring a wider range of opinions to the park and the conversations are very much different among the year-rounders.  In a good way. (at least in one person’s opinion)

There is no doubt that when the temps go north of 90º that the pool offers a special respite from the heat.  Even with the pool heater turned off — and using just the recirculator and filters — the pool has remained during these spring months at 83º.

It’s gradually dawning on us that there are two separate cultures here.  The year-rounders are a community of their own; quite unique from the Winter Texans who come and go by the calendar. Which means, of course, that we need to find ways in which we can become more a part of the year-rounder community — a way that works for us as well as for them. I’m sure that will be an ongoing process/project/goal for some time.

So, we have our work laid out for us. 🙂

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6 Comments

  1. As a teen during the depression my mother ate a lot of fish that Grandpa caught. Once she left home the only fish she ever ate was occasional fish sticks.

    As kids we were allowed one meat sandwich in our lunches. If we wanted a second sandwich it had to be cheese or jelly. That was one of my Dad’s rules leftover from his experiences in the Depression. I doubt he was even allowed one meat sandwich then. I know he grew up eating a lot of eggs and he ate a fried egg sandwich for breakfast my whole childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. So much about “need” that most of us in the U.S. really don’t know about. Granted there are a lot of poor for whom such conditions are still daily occurrences; but there are so many of us who live privileged lives and have little awareness of what living frugally — because you have to — is like. It changes our perception of the world in so many ways, this “privilege” whether it’s white middle class privilege or not — so many of us in this country are privileged in ways that most of the world can little imagine.
      LOL — we still eat a lot of eggs! Now that the doctors have changed their tune, they are a great source of protein and they stick with you, specially when combined with some complex carbs.
      Thanks for the comment, Linda

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  2. Growing up “too good” was fresh, not powdered milk. My mother was born in 1935 and carried frugality of her childhood. In retrospect and powdered milk aside, I miss the restraint, ingenuity, re-purposing and appreciation of that time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about missing the restraint, ingenuity and re-purposing as well as the appreciation of those days. I had until 5 years ago the old 24 inch long piece of railroad track that gramps used to straighten nails….. They were too precious to be discarded just because they had been used, or bent. So many little things about frugality that stick with me today.

      >

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I still straighten nails (thanks to my Dad) If Dad needed something he made it. Great example is how to extract honey from bees he kept to pollinate fruit trees.No problem – take an old wringer washing machine tub, install fittings to slide honeycomb frames inside tub, drill small hole and fit a spigot at the bottom, add a handle to spin tub, voila! Centrifugal force takes care of the rest.:)

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