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Waste Not Want Not
Grandma saved everything.
She saved the usual things, like bottles and containers of every shape and size . . . . and the not so usual things, like used tin foil and wrapping paper and bows.
One item that was passed down from Great Grandma to Grandma to Grandchild was a huge ball of blue rubber bands. By the time I ended up with the ball, it had lost some of its rubbery qualities, but was still the size of a softball. It took years of collecting the thin blue bands that came wrapped around the rolled-up newspaper that was tossed in the driveway each morning. We were all fascinated with the rubber band ball. One of the first things we grandkids would do when we landed in at Grandma’s house for the holiday break would be to race to the back of the house, the room called – the Den- and to the shelf where the ball was kept to be the first to play with it.
As enamored as we were with the blue rubber band ball, we were definitely less than enamored with other things that Grandma saved. Who wants to be careful when opening a gift so as not to tear the wrapping paper so it can be used again? My 9-year-old self said, “No Way!”
And then there was the practice of saving the tin foil that was removed from the top of the potluck casserole dishes. That just seemed crazy!
Today my husband will say that I’m the one who’s crazy for saving the things I save. On yard clipping pick-up day, I’ve been known to run to my neighbor’s trash pile and wrestle out pieces of extra fat bamboo. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them . . . not yet anyway. But I know it’s going to be fantastic! For a while I was very into building things out of discarded wooden pallets. A new neighbor was having a paver patio installed and the workmen left several of the best kind of pallets at the edge of the driveway. Again, I may not have had a use for them right away—but they were oak—and how could I possibly resist?! I couldn’t let them go to waste. I dragged them home and had to enlist my husband to help secure my newly found treasure.
When the kids were little, I would save all the extras from any project we happened to be working on for use later. On Saturdays, we would set up “Fun Stations” that would keep them occupied for hours. A station of construction paper and markers. Another station of popsicle sticks and glue. And yet another with fabric scraps, yarn, and tempera paint. There wasn’t always a specific end or a goal; it was just an opportunity for creative play. And I always saved the leftovers along with randomly collected items from the yard or the neighbor’s discard pile.
It could be it’s the “hunting and gathering” rather than the actual saving that my husband objects to. He doesn’t understand the concept of “trash to treasure.” He’s fond of saying, “Things are in the trash for a reason.” He has even called me a hoarder! Crazy talk, I know.
I’d much rather think that I’m like my grandma. She was so clever and resourceful. As a child, she taught me how to cook, bake and sew, which are still some of my favorite things today.
But most of all, she taught me to be a saver.