I’m a child of the depression, born the year FDR became President and things began to ease up a bit, but still influenced by “hard times.” A stay-at-home mom with a houseful of kids, my mother learned well how to manage and make do.
My parents owned only two refrigerators during their 57 years of marriage. “If it ain’t broke, no need to replace it” seemed to be their motto. Other appliances, pots and pans, and household utensils stayed around forever.
Mother had a pair of silver-looking scissors. These were to be used for sewing — cutting cloth — exclusively. Thou shalt not cut paper dolls with Mother’s good scissors. As a child, I remember a man coming around to the house offering to sharpen scissors and knives. A very useful service. Nowadays, I doubt the scissors we buy can be sharpened when they become dull. We either throw them away or put them in the kitchen junk drawer, never to be used again.
Appliances today are made with “planned obsolescence.” They are meant to last for a certain number of hours, then they stop working. It’s less expensive to replace than to repair them. Our landfills are full of toasters, microwaves, blenders, and computers.
My mother would have loved to recycle, had she lived to see that effort come about. During World War II she saved newspapers for the Scouts, and cans and tin foil for the war effort.
Once a woman came by our house and asked Mother to save scraps for her pigs. If Mother would put garbage in a can by the back fence, the woman would come around with her cart and collect it for her pigs.
Mother was happy to do it. She would not waste a morsel of food as long as there was a hungry hog in the county.