An Exposed Family Secret

Absolutely no photos are available for this post!

My parents were in their teen years and living in rural Georgia during the beginning years of the Depression.  They were acutely aware of saving anything that could be used again.  Nothing was wasted. Those emotional Depression years took its toll on many of that generation. They continued to scrimp and save during the WW II years that followed.

By the time I was born in 1949, both my parents had permanently adopted a lifestyle of frugality. Giving you a few examples will help you see inside our home!

  • My mother created pieces of aluminum foil from gum wrappers.
  • Why buy toothpaste when we had baking soda?
  • When our black and white television lost its sound, my dad found another set that had no picture. He stacked them piggyback style and we used both: one for sound, one for a picture. We now did not need a new set!
  • Our south Florida homes had neither insulation nor built-in heat because our winters were usually mild. We had one very small kerosine heater for the kitchen on those rare very cold days. My parents did not want to heat any other part of the house.
  • My mother convinced me that chicken bouillon over a stale piece of bread was called “Bread Soup” and was a delicacy!
  • If we had to get up during the night, no lights were to be turned on. That would be a waste of electricity! That rule was intact until my mother suddenly changed her mind!

We had been asleep for hours. Mother had to go to the bathroom just next door to my parents’ room. Of course she didn’t turn on the light. She flailed her arms back and forth as she walked to keep her from running into anything. She neared the bathroom door and turned in order to back up next to the toilet. Excuse me for the mental image you just had here, but it is necessary to the story!!

What my mother did NOT know was that my dad had already gotten up to go to the bathroom and his eyes were now accustomed to the dark. From his vantage point upon the toilet, he could see her coming. Rather than say anything to his sleepy wife, he just outstretched his arms wide. As my mother sat down,  my dad embraced her!!

At this point, I will only say, it is debatable as to who was more warmly received!!


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11 Responses to An Exposed Family Secret

  1. LOL – wonderful story!


    • Ruth Packard says:

      Our home was originally only 800 square feet, so the sounds of my parents’ laughter woke me up on this night! The worst part is that my parents declared we would tell no one what had happened. They both have passed on and I figured this story is now fair game!!


  2. 6ftmama says:

    Ah, Ruth. Wonderful examples of the effects of living through the depression. I especially enjoyed the stacked TV story. Gotta love your dad.


  3. OMG That is too funny! All I could think was “typical male” LOL.


  4. Emily says:

    Thanks for the laugh and an insight into life back then … it’s interesting because these days we seem to live in a world that throws so much away – although the baking soda replacement to toothpaste is possibly a better and more natural remedy than some of the fluoride options out there!


    • Ruth Packard says:

      When I was growing up, I declared I would never do some of the things we did. Ha! One day we were running low on toothpaste and the first thing I did was go get the baking soda!! I draw the line, however, with the double stack televisions!

      Thank you for stopping by, Emily!


  5. Nea says:

    Delightfully funny! I appreciate how you shared enough to bring me into the reality of your homelife – I feel like I got to try it on.


    • Ruth Packard says:

      Thank you, Nea! One day I thought I had no one anymore to talk with about our homelife since my brother had died. That was the day I realized these memories should be written down and shared!

      So glad you came into my home!


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