My mother and I used to visit on foot a nearby trash site for the purpose of "seeing what people will throw away," in her words. She occasionally found a useful item, a small stool, a lamp shade, etc., and congratulated herself on finding something in the midst of nothing. We also walked to cemeteries to visit old friends now gone and conclude how the most luckless of the living can at least hope for more fun and opportunity than our deceased acquaintances.
My Mother at Twenty Something Visiting a Mathews Beach
My Mother and CB Woman, CB Baby Sis, and CB Middle Sis
My grandfather's sister, Great Aunt Maggie, seemed to attract misfortune through none of her own doing. Her first husband, the father of her two young boys, drowned at sea. When her second husband died from a heart attack, she survived by visiting relatives on a rotating basis. She was religious, hardworking, and indefatigable in her optimism.
Aunt Maggie on One of Her Outings
She came to visit with her sewing machine and sewed furiously until everyone in the house had their wardrobe outfitted or repaired. One visit to our house, she covered our living room sofa and chair; on another, she made my May Day dress and two school dresses. Imaging having a traveling seamstress in the family today. The last quote I got for covering a wing chair was in the $900.00 range. How I miss Aunt Maggie. She always bought the material on sale, and sewed for free. And it was all beautiful! She took me on walks to find wild muscadines which she made into the most wonderful jelly. She was one who did without.
My grandfather worked in his shop for eight hours a day and then chopped firewood to cook and heat his house; he tended a beautiful garden, which provided canned tomatoes, white and sweet potatoes, onions, apples for applesauce. Everything they subsisted on in winter. The hen house provided eggs and a neighbor lady gave Grandfather and his wife, Inez, milk, to churn into butter, in return for eggs. That butter was divinely delicious on Inez's homemade biscuits. The fish man came to your door daily in season and weighed out fresh fish for pennies a pound. I don't recall them spending much at the grocery store. They did without.
My Grandfather in Later Years with Grandkids, Middle Sis, CBW, and Baby Sis
Happier is the person who does without and works toward the coming of good things, than one who has everything and still needs more.
A Testimony to Doing Without
Grandfather, CBW, Baby Sis and Middle Sis