Monday, April 30, 2012
It has been very cold in this house the last few days. We have been supplementing our heat with a small portable electric heater. I move it from room to room to take the chill off. Our wood pellet stove is broken again. This puts me into survival mode. But Money can't fix my problem. For the next few days, while we wait for repairs, we have to find ways to keep warm and productive in this frigid house.
This morning, I read a little from We Had Everything But Money. This kind of literature cheers me up and inspires me when hardship comes. One section of the book was written by an author who grew up here in Vermont. She talked about the food stamp program. In those days (the 1930's), going to the town for assistance was something to be avoided unless there was no alternative. The town would write down all the food money that was given to an individual and then publish it in the annual report for all to see. But here is the most interesting part - every single penny that was given, was really a loan and had to be repaid!
She also said the staple diet for most people in those days was - "bread, milk, pea soup, johnnycake and oatmeal." In another section of the book, they talked about eating hot biscuits for lunch. There was certainly very basic eating going on compared to today.
Our health can also affect our ability to survive. About a week ago, I had a minor household accident. While I was cleaning one evening, I slammed into a corner of a piece of furniture. This left a miserable bruise and made it difficult for me to walk for several days. Mother is now incapable of doing very much. The house is going to suffer. Can money fix that? Can money make the pain go away or make me well? Of course not. This is a temporary hardship, like the broken stove, and we must have patience to survive this with grace and dignity.
When we are cold, perhaps we will bake something, or light a candle (for some kind of substitute for the idea of warmth). We will layer our clothing and sip on hot tea or hot chocolate. This is part of surviving. Living here in New England for my entire life, I am used to the frigid temperatures. It doesn't mean I always like it, but it is something I have learned to endure. Struggling with cold winters makes us stronger and more creative.
Physical ailments are also the thorn of my life. But these things can't get us down. We have to realize that bad things have always happened. They are happening now, and they will always happen. We can't dwell on them. We can't gripe about them. We have to find a way to be happy despite the hardship. This has nothing whatsoever to do with money. It has to do with the will of the mind!
Such Fun to Watch - Home Economics Television - 1949.
Have You Ever Been Late for your Housework? - What Time Does Your Shift Start?
Financial Trials - Mothers with Christmas Courage.
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