As far as I know, we were never seriously hurting for money when I was growing up. We never did without necessities. There was always food on the table. Warm clothes in winter. A car in the driveway.
So I certainly wouldn’t suggest that we were strapped. But, probably because my parents were children of the depression, we, like everyone else I knew, lived rather frugally. It wasn’t something we thought about. It’s just how life was, in “the good old days.”
We always owned a television, but for many years we settled for black and white.
Our telephone service was a party line.
We took regular vacations, but not every year and we always traveled by car.
We got an air conditioner while I was growing up, but it was a window unit and it didn’t do much for the bedrooms.
Coats lasted three years. A little big the first year, just right the second year, a little tight the third year.
Mom made lots of our clothes, and she often made matching outfits for my older sister and me. So by the time I had worn my version of the clothes and then my sister’s, I felt like I was living in a broken record.
For a long time we managed with one car, and when we got a second one it was a VW bug. (My mom had never driven a stick shift before. We watched her drive up the street and just stop. We waited and waited. There was a bit of a learning curve.)
We regularly ate out after church on Sunday, but often it was a trip to McDonald’s.
We had store-bought cookies for snacks, though I’m told that on occasion those were actually crackers standing in for cookies.
For sandwiches, we didn’t have meat and cheese, but rather meat or cheese. And if it was meat, it was the thin sliced stuff, and we only had two or three slices.
Except when it came to Lebanon bologna. (Why is it called that? “It is named for the Lebanon Valley of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania where it is most commonly produced.” Thanks, Wikipedia!) Mom must have had a real soft spot for the stuff. She bought it regularly, and it only came in nice thick slices so there was no way to skimp.
I didn’t even know my local Safeway even carried the stuff, but then I saw it on the shelf yesterday. I know, I know. It’s loaded with fat and salt and preservatives and lots of other things that are going to kill me. But I couldn’t resist.