Frugality Thriftiness Penny-pinching Never-spend-a-nickel-if you-can-keep-it-in-your-pocket is a defining trait of my mother’s branch of the family. The trait once again came into sharp focus when Mom, the man of steel and I spent the night with Mom’s sister and husband on the way to a reunion for their side of the fam.
One of their daughters, my cousin, also spent the night. Her father reminded us there would be a $5 charge per car to get into Split Rock State Park where the reunion would be held.
“But, Uncle Jim,” I teased, “isn’t there a plan in place for all of us to meet outside the gate, have one vehicle get the sticker, and then use that vehicle to ferry everyone into the park carload by carload?”
His daughter chimed in, “That’s what you would have done when we were kids.”
Uncle Jim looked like he was considering the idea, and Aunt Donna said, “We could fit quite a few people in the back of the truck.”
Their daughter and I chuckled at this proof that the
frugality thriftiness penny-pinching never-spend-a-nickel-if you-can-keep-it-in-your-pocket behavior we had observed throughout our childhoods remains strong.
The next morning, I went downstairs to shower. In the basement bathroom, that shower stood as a silent and colorful witness of our parents’
frugality thriftiness penny-pinching never-spend-a-nickel-if you-can-keep-it-in-your-pocket lifestyles.
Our mothers purchased the ceramic tiles during Crazy Daze in the 1960s for a ridiculously low price. The two women spent the better part of a morning digging through boxes of tile remnants, snatching every complete sheet, then selecting incomplete sheets until they thought they had enough to tile their entire basement showers. Once home, they arranged and rearranged the tiled sheets until they were satisfied with the crazy quilt patterns they’d devised.
After my shower, I went upstairs and grabbed my camera. “For some pictures of the shower tiles,” I explained to my cousin who’s four years my junior. “I want to record this evidence of
frugality thriftiness penny-pinching never-spend-a-nickel-if you-can-keep-it-in-your-pocket. Do you remember when our moms bought those tiles?”
She nodded. “Remember how they spent what seemed like hours digging through the boxes at the store and arranging patterns when they got home?”
We grinned at one another full of the memory of our mothers, younger than we are now, stretching their hard earned money to cover their concrete block basement showers with colorful tiles while we smirked and rolled our eyes.
Her father interrupted our conversation. “Ready to go?”
My rellies climbed into their truck. The man of steel, Mom, and I got into our car. “We’ll meet you when we get there,” I said. “We need to get gas along the way. Where’s the cheapest place?”
“Rock Rapids.” My aunt responded in the blink of an eye.
She was right, of course.