Imagine living 40 plus years in the same house. Imagine living through a time of such scarcity, no one threw anything away, and reusing wasn't just a ideal taught in schools, but a necessity. My grandmother lived during The Great Depression, in one of the most devastated areas of the country, the dust bowl. The dust bowl centered around the Texas panhandle and Oklahoma was despoiled by severe drought and extensive farming without crop rotation and other preventative erosion measures which led to dust storms and lack of food and work. People learned to live with what they had and took the phrase, "Waste not want not" to an elevated tier. Resourcefulness was imperative and what we might consider trash today found another use outside of the trash bin. My grandmother still lives by that motto today, and though we tease her for never throwing anything out, she never goes wanting because of her pervasive resourcefulness.
While grandmother was in the hospital, we did some clearing and cleaning. Now, it should be noted that immaculate housekeeping is not a gene any of us inherited. However, because of grandmothers resolve not to throw things out that might one day have another use, her pantry had become a cave for trolls. It was jerry-rigged with a light bulb hanging from a wire near the door, in a not so fashionable matter. One could only step inside the 10' x 7' pantry a mere foot before being detained by boxes, bags and trash bins. It's a wonder that she was ever able to get in without falling and breaking a hip. This pantry was so full of STUFF (stuff that u're family forgets (about)) that there was hardly any room for food. In fact BB, my aunt, said that until she left home after college, she had no idea a pantry was primarily used for food.
Interesting things found in grandmother's pantry included:
- A desk piled high with at least 200 sheets of used aluminum foil (waiting to be used again another day)
- I am unsure of the number as I didn't take the time to count but probably 150 used styrofoam containers.
- Executive decision maker ball (precursor to the eight ball) (date unknown, but very old)
- puke yellow measuring spoons and cups unopened from the 70's (We have now replaced her old measuring cups which were being held together with glue and rubber bands with the "new" ones from the 70's.
- an unopened nail kit from the 70's with creepy smiling floating heads of a very suburban happy white family.
- Tax returns from the 1960s. I think we can throw those out as the seven year mark has passed.
- Deeds for land, one from 1910. (Those we are keeping)
- George Buckett poster (kinda cool children's illustrator)
- A huge stamp collection- even one stamp with "win the war 1944" on the front (Anyone know the value of those?)
- My mom's psat scores ( I couldn't figure out her score though as the scoring has changed a great deal from when she took the test)
- The most adorable Christmas card made with love from my mom to my grandmother as a child. On the front it was decorated with a glittering angel and inside a poem that attempts at rhyming, but just misses the mark,
"It's Christmas already and packages are wrapped I have the sweetest mama of the whole world on the map."To some trash, other's invaluable treasure. (The aluminum foil and stryrofoam were in the trash or rather recycling pile) On our drive home, our entire back seat was filled with recycling which she had separated for us to take home to San Antonio, as Lubbock is lacking in a decent recycling program. And when I say our entire back seat, I mean that the review window was only just visible through a small opening in between the recycling bags.
I wish we had had the forethought to take a before picture of the troll cave also known as a pantry, however we didn't so all you have is the after picture. But if you imagine, every shelf filled to the brim with boxes of sytrofoam, aluminum foil and other treasures/trash with absolutely no floor space, you might start to get an idea.
The after pictures:
Happy homecoming Grandmother, a pantry used for food!