The seeds for my fascination to make ’something out of nothing’ must have been planted long long ago, in my subconscious as a young girl. It’s not like my mom packed us kids in the car for a weekly junkyard visit. No, it’s more that she quietly nourished the seedlings with her thrifty brilliance – cutting coupons and saving $ before it was trendy, reusing and sewing our clothes, making homemade ketchup and putting it back in an empty Heinz ketchup bottle, or growing her own vegetables in the back garden. Sure, she was doing it out of economical necessity and not because of any eco trends that existed at the time. But I now know she was an unconscious environmentalist, ahead of her time – using and reusing, purposing and repurposing, saving and thrifting.
My career in marketing helps me put things into perspective (or at least as much perspective as a marketing person is able to have). Everything that my mom did to save money, mainly because we didn’t have any extra to spare, can be ’spun’ according to today’s environmental consciousness and the desire to show our own eco-friendly ways. Here are just a few examples.
’Entertainment on a dime’ also became a part of my life very young. I was born in Los Angeles, California, and my mom took off one afternoon each month from her secretarial job to take us girls down to the beach…”The poor man’s vacation”, as she called it. I was too young to remember, but I’ve seen photos from those ’vacations’, and I look happy. Really happy. And even if my own children have travelled the world, they seem happiest when we end up on a beach and in the water – so I am sure those afternoons at the beach with mom were the best of times. And they were free!
I am several years out and many thousands of miles away from those days as a young girl. But the thrifty seedlings of my childhood are now well established in my psyche, I cannot, nor do I try to, resist. Nowadays my heart leaps with joy every time I hear my own son say, ”Good thing I found that (piece of junk). We can make something with that!”
I smile to myself, knowing that I’m not such a bad parent after all.
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Nu i svenska –
Jag ler för mig själv, medveten att jag är inte en så dålig mamma trots allt.