I come from a place where the latest and very best were the goal. From designer pocketbooks and shoes to Newbury Street haircuts and clothes, I learned early the value of “nice things”. Of course knowing about nice things, and affording those nice things are night and day.
I come naturally from a very blue collar back ground. When my well to do close high school friends were flying out of Logan one beautiful spring night in 1974 for our class trip from Charlestown high to Rome, I was on Walker Street in The Town babysitting for my mothers snotty customer from Austins dress shop, and got teary eyed as i listened to a plane flying over head imagining it was my friends.
All these years later, I can still remember going home with the permission slip, asking my parents if I could go to Italy with my friends. Ill never forget their faces, as they both started laughing at the same time and said, “Oh uh, no honey. We cant afford Italy but, if you want to, we can go over to the the north end on Friday night and get a pizza from The European restaurant?”
That was the moment i knew i was probably poor.
With always having a roof over my head and clothes on my back and decent food to eat, i never before realized that we didn’t have what other people did. It was an eye opener for sure.
After that, I started the quest for having “nice things” with not much money but alot of ingenuity.
Over the years I’ve acquired lovey furniture and fabulous linens ( my obsession) and drapes… by digging in dusty bins and squeezing through over-stuffed barns and junk stores with a determination a always a prayer. ( I have witnesses that’ll attest to me praying for a specific item before we head into an old store or shop and how not only is there one of the exact thing i asked God for in there, but its usually one of the cheapest things in the place!)
Once you can swallow your designer pride and humble yourself to consider second hand items as “worn in” or “recycled”, you’re well on your way to becoming a Frugal Frannie.
In a few hours from now, our beloved son and wife will bring me my two grandchildren. They’re coming ” home for Christmas” and I could not be more thrilled. My 9 year old grandaughter Lilly is going to be as excited as I am by her latest bedspread for her CSI bedroom; an absolutely in near-perfect condition, old L.L.Bean cotton Swiss dot white chenille bedspead with a long ruffle for her wonderful antique iron single bed! Lilly can’t yet know that $20 bought this exquisitly made spread, one that will certainly outlive me. or thats its worth a lot of money. But you can believe Im going to try and teach her the value of being a good hunter and having “nice things” while still paying your bills on time and not going broke to have them!