Monday, June 27, 2011

My Grandma's Thumbtacks

While decorating for Graduation,
Rebekah came up with the great idea of just pinnning the yo flowers
to the wooden deck railing.

We were running out of time,
and the job needed to just get done.

There would be no fabric swoons or buntings,
we would have to just use what was finished.

Great idea.

But, great.

Where would I find thumbtacks?

I had a vague memory of thumbtacks squirreled away somewhere.
They were in something of my Gramma's....

After a few false digs through drawers,
I found them.

Oh yea, they were in
the old prescription bottle on display in my bathroom.


You don't decorate with  the bottles from
YOUR gramma's old blood pressure pills?

There are a few things I inhereted that are just too precious to change.
I was given her three drawer sewing cabinet,
with tid-bits that could tell tales if they could speak.

She saved everything.
She used everything.
She had to.

The daughter of Norwegian immigrants married to a Norwegian immigrant,
hard work and
the "make-do or do-without"
ethics ruled their lives.
It was survival of the fittest and the frugalist at its best.

The Lord chastises lasiness and wastefulness, too.

Proverbs 18:9
He also that is slothful in his work
 is brother to him that is a great waster.

A cough drop tins holds tiny screws and nails.
An aspirin bottles hold needles.
Every container holds a surprise,
including the one that holds her extra garter belt hooks.

I wondered how old these thumbtacks really were.

I can't imagine Gramma bought them new,
she probably bought them used,
or found them,
but I know she hoarded them.

What did Gramma use them for?
Hanging up the new calendar from the grain elevator?
Pinning a shopping list to the inside of her kitchen cupboard?

Or did she save them
she needed them?

There was a heart-warming nostalgia I felt
as I touched each metal tack,
and I felt that in some small way,
Gramma was celebrating Graduation with us.

And, when Graduation was over,
the thumbtacks were carefully removed
and returned to the medicine bottle.

Those little metal thumbtacks are a silent prick to my conscience,
because each generation has become a little more affluent
and a little more wasteful, compared to Gramma.

I wonder if any of my kids or grandkids will be
 thrilled to inherit

one of my most precious  possessions~
this little bottle of thumbtacks,
the silent preacher of the values of our ancestors.



  1. O is summer and I feel Lazy!!! And you made me feel even more LAZY!! just kidding. I hope you are having a good time. When do you return? Hope we can squeeze in coffee when you are free.

  2. sweet memories you are storing and sharing.

    praying for you...believing God will make it all come together while you are together.


  3. I wish you could LIKE comments on here. Mary, so looking forward to more than one coffee visit this summer. Kimmie, thanks so much for praying! Of course, we'll post pics when baby comes...

  4. My mom was/is a saver too. She claims it was due to living through the depression and the war. She's probably right!

    Eventually I need to go to the homeschool store, and maybe we can meet up for a coke or lunch then. I've lost your phone number I think, so I'll just send you an email around that time and maybe we can meet up!

  5. Aaah! Mine is a heart divided! I read this post and I long to think that I could somehow find the energy and motivation to be so frugal (as I sit here in front of my widescreen monitor on my home computer with my smart phone close at hand). There's so much beauty in the character of those children of the depression that is literally dying away with every passing year. I'm so glad that you've managed to "bottle it up" in small ways to pass on to your children...


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