My Grandma was Frugal Before it was Cool

Full disclosure: my Grandma R would not have been impressed with this ‘shabby chic’ fad making its way through interior design. Ever heard that song, “Country Boy Can Survive”? It’s true alright, but Grandma’s response would have likely been, well yeah, what’s your other OPTION?? It’s no surprise that my dad is the exact same way. It’s also no surprise that my husband is the exact same way. They look at antiques and can’t imagine why anyone would pay high prices for old things. He and my dad might as well be the same soul split into two inter-generational humans. Frightening, isn’t it? I guess it’s true what they say… But anyway, for this post I thought it would only be fitting to pay homage to my Grandma R, who we will be laying to rest this weekend. She was not only full of profound knowledge, but some absolute zingers as well! That being said, there are a few specific nuggets of knowledge I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

1) Sewing is the all-important skill. I’m just going to be honest and say that I will never be able to sew as well as Grandma R. I don’t know of many people who can. All of us grandkids have quilts in our homes that would rival the textile section of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. Nonfiction. Quilts, clothes, pillows, you name it, it was probably created at some point by her and better than any high-class manufacturer. Although I could never measure up to this, having basic sewing knowledge has saved me more times than I can count. Oh, I’m weird for carrying a travel-size sewing kit in my handbag? When you rip your jeans clear up the ass in the middle of a night out, you’ll be grateful that you’re friends with someone who was taught to be prepared.

2) You can never have too many loaf pans. This one time, I mentioned on Facebook that I only had two loaf pans. The next thing I knew, Grandma was sending about 20 loaf pans my way. I imagine that the idea of me possessing only two loaf pans was offensive to grandmothers everywhere. Banana, zucchini, whole wheat, sour dough–these pans have tasted them all and I’m in the process of exploring new recipes to share. Thanks to Grandma, Great Harvest better watch out…


3) You think you know potato salad–but you have no idea. This one time, we were at Grandma’s over the summer. Out of nowhere, she whips this potato salad out of the oven and I was like whaaaaaaaat? I was probably seven years old, so I looked at it and thought, potatoes and lots of cheese, aight. Well let me tell you, that pan was hiding some bacon and GREEN OLIVES beneath all that starch and cheddar. It blew my mind, and for some reason, I remember that one, random time we had hot potato salad at Grandma’s house. I might even write a post about it. So get ready.

4) Canning. Jars. Take all the jars. My Grandma knew a thing, or 9,000, about food preservation. Naturally, just like the loaf pans, as soon as I mention canning fresh veggies, she begins scheming how to get those jars down to Columbus. When they did arrive, I was ecstatic to find that she included a Ball canning jar guide and a variety of vintage jars mixed into the boxes. So many jars, so little time. I guarantee some of these will find new homes on the mantle or bookshelf, living the rest of their days never taking another boiling bath.


5) “You have to pay if you want to see anything.” This phrase is, by far, one of my favorite Grandma-isms. One of the things I love so much about my Grandma R is she was a genuinely frugal woman. Frugal doesn’t mean you never spend money; frugal means that you spend money wisely. Save your money so you can purchase a new, reliable vehicle when you need to. Save your money so you can travel and see the world. Being frugal means that you save money to have options instead of limitations. Grandma encouraged all of us to leave our homes, whether it was to travel or move to a different city and state for work. You would have thought she had an international family for all the exotic photos and gifts that decorated her home. Grandmas who encourage you to leave are tough to come by, but they are some of the wisest people on this earth. Which brings me to #6…

6) When you do see something, take no less than 900 photos. It did not matter to Grandma whether we were on the other side of the globe or in her backyard. Experiences, especially with family, are things to be documented and remembered. Like a true master of frugality, my Grandma was more about creating memories rather than owning material possessions. Although, our family has been known to throw down for some major fireworks, but it was for the sake of summer reunions! But I’ll tell you what–so many photos were taken at said gatherings that you’d better not be doing anything foolish because Grandma would have caught it on film.

Here’s to an amazing lady and a lineage I’m proud to be a part of!

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