10 October 2017

Frugality 2

My blog on frugality produced some interesting replies - so, with permission, I'm including the replies of two of my cousins, both about the same age as me. Seems like those frugal habits were extended throughout the WW2 and several years thereafter - even until now. And one cousin makes the good point that some of these stories are more about necessity than frugality. And it wasn't just inherited from the Smith ancestors. I'm sure everyone will have stories like these.

Depression Times

From my Father's side cousin

"Really enjoyed your last two blogs, especially the recent one regarding frugal times. I can very much relate to just about everything you touched on.  Then I began to think well we are much the same age, I think you can give me only a few weeks, as I reached the big eight zero today, so you must also have done a few weeks ago.   Haven't really thought about it much until today, and yes that's a lota years.  Don't feel any different, but I guess it is a gradual process.

I can really remember the whare etc that you spoke of on the outskirts of Hastings, and both your Father and Mother.  Dad used to speak of his childhood, when they all had to put the cardboard in their shoes, each day to attend school. Granny Smith having to visit the greengrocer each day at closing time to retrieve what was being thrown out, to feed her family. Rhubarb quite wilted, that she would strip to make the most delicious rhubarb pies etc etc. Times were certainly tough.

Yes I also recall, like Catherine, the sheets being rejoined down the middle, (how I used to hate that ridge across  the middle, when lying on it) never complained though. Then Mum used to make pillowcases out of the very outside edges, when the middle was finally worn out. Not to mention the grey army blankets, with the brass eyelets in the ends, as children we had on our beds, although yes they were warm blankets.

Yes, I remember Uncle R and Aunty I doing exactly the same thing with the hessian, and dyeing it a burgundy colour, resewing it, and then laying it through most of the house, though it was the hallway, that I recall most, as it had this habit of stretching, as children we thought by always walking on the bumps, would flatten it out.  Of course it never did !! [The story I remember about Aunty I was that she had to hand milk 15 dairy cows on the morning of her wedding day. BLS]

Then the veggie gardens they all had to have, homemade biscuits, jam and preserves.  What was a chocolate biscuit...as a treat we would have a few sultanas on a plate. No such thing as sweets.  Those horrible ration books, that they had to live by. As children we knew nothing else eh, so just accepted it, guess our parents had to as well, though children of today, I really don't think they could cope, only having known the good life.  Just hope they will never have to.

Your other blog showing much younger photos of yourself, I could relate to very well, as that is how I remembered you.  Although even younger than that, but you still had the same features, of the school boy, in his catholic school uniform, dark navy jersey, with a stripe around the V neck and navy shorts, always very serious, I do not recall you smiling all that much as a child. [Just thinking about things. BLS]

Oh dear, have rambled on here a bit, still I won't edit it, as you may enjoy reading it.  I guess there would be so many more memories, if we all were to sit and think for a bit eh...

Anyway for now, thanks for the memories Barry."

And from my Mother's side cousin

"Meant to reply earlier....frugality was on both sides of your family. I too had cardboard in my shoes to 'see the season out, my shoes that became too small went to the bootmaker and came back as 'peeptoes'! My undies were made out of flour bags that had been boiled to fade the coloured brand marks. The boys shirts were made from dad's old shirts after the whiskers on his double chin had worn his collars out and had already been turned and the second side worn out too. Worn sheets were cut down the middle and turned outside to inside and flat seamed down the middle. Socks were darned until the soles comprised of one big darn. Mum did all the haircuts with the dreaded hand clippers. No car, fridge or washing machine until I was about 10- 12 yrs.
Even now I am not past rubbing a bit of doubtful meat with vinegar before cooking it, an observation from those early years. Mum made her own soap with fat she got from farmers and rendered down on the stovetop and used it for the dishes and hand washing. They were not frugal, it was the way it had to be and they got a lot of satisfaction from managing. I think we, like you, learned from them and used it our advantage in later years even though times were not so tough.  Your blogs are enjoyed but not acknowledged.   Love and best wishes to you both."

"K and his sisters had an old bike. When the tube in the tyre had too many 'patches' it was eventually discarded and replaced with rolled up newspapers. My brothers never had a bike until they got paper runs at the age of nine. Dad paid the deposit on a bike so they could get the job and they had to pay their wages to the bike shop each week.
Also remember mum unravelling dad's old hand knitted jerseys that had shrunk or worn thin and using it to knit our jerseys."

A few more stories like this and we could start a book! Now there is an idea.

And here is the story, from an earlier blog, about how we used to make our own outrigger canoes back in the Kaponga days.

"One adventurous undertaking was to make outrigger canoes out of used sheets of corrugated iron.  The front of the canoe was made out of the sheet of iron bent up over a short plank and nailed to it and the back section was the other end of the sheet bent and nailed about a rectangular piece of wood (about 400 x 250mm).  The whole thing was waterproofed by melting tar off the road over a fire and pouring it into the seams of the 'boat'.  The 'outrigger' part was a plank nailed across the canoe and extended out to a kerosene tin on one side.  These canoes worked well on a dam just up from Kaponga on the Kaupokunui Stream." The edges of the tin were a bit sharp!

Any more stories anyone?