Waste Not, Want Not

This morning as I was munching on a crispy yet chewy English muffin, I had a flashback to my childhood. You see, I had saved the English muffin after finding it in the toaster the other day, forgotten by whoever put it there (maybe me). Thoughts of my mom came to mind.

Raised during the Depression (she was born in 1922), my mother understood the importance of frugality. She and her family reused everything before “renew, reuse, recycle” became a cool slogan. They weathered some tough years…six daughters, a mother and father, and a farm. (Plus siblings from my grandfather’s first marriage; I’m not sure how many of them lived with my mom, because she was the baby of 11 children.) My grandfather lost not one, but two, farms during the Depression. One of them belonged to his brother. You can imagine what great family dynamics that situation created.

So the flashback to my childhood was a scene of my mom taking burnt toast out of the toaster. Rather than throwing it away, she scraped off the black with a table knife and then put a little extra butter on the toast. I remember choking down many pieces of toast that were rescued from the toaster. I didn’t dare complain because I would get one of those “mom” glares. “Waste not, want not,” she said. “Eat what’s set before you and say nothing, for conscience’ sake.”

When you think about it, those are really pretty good words to live by. Oh yes, and perhaps one of the most important sayings she taught me was, “Save your money for a rainy day.” Because rainy days eventually come to everyone.


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