My mom was 16 when her dad died during the Great Depression. Her mom and two younger siblings carried on the vegetable truck farm for several years after that. Growing up during the Great Depression influenced the way she lived for the rest of her life. She knew how to work hard and how to make something out of almost nothing. She was accomplished in many areas and became a valued member of her community. Here are some of the principles she and my dad lived by. Some were sayings that we heard as, “My Mom always said,” Others were left unsaid, but we saw by example that they were important to our parents.
1. There’s no work so dirty that it dirties the soul.
2. Use it up, make it do, or do without.
3. Help your family no matter when.
4. Idleness is the devil’s workshop.
5. Grow a garden and some fruit trees.
6. Learn to can some of the produce. Share produce with neighbors.
7. Pass on used clothing to someone who can use it.
8. Don’t turn your nose up at other people’s used clothing.
9. Learn to sew.
10. Learn to cook. Share what you bake with the neighbors sometimes.
11. Polish your shoes once a week.
12. You must help do dishes unless you have so much homework you’ll be studying until bedtime.
13. Recreational reading is a good pastime after your chores are done. If you read non-fiction you just might learn something.
14. It’s good to learn a musical instrument. It helps you appreciate music and gives you joy for very little money.
15. Visit your relatives often.
16. Help your church and community in whatever ways that you can.
17. Learn to enjoy the great outdoors and visit state parks. Hiking and fishing are good things to do.
18. Museums and free concerts are great entertainment and also educational.
19. Learn to do it yourself and you might be able to afford it.
20. Hard work never hurt anyone.
21. Help people who are in need.
22. Just do your best.
23. Go beyond the expected to do amazing things.
24. Be determined to make something good happen.
25. You can make something out of almost nothing if you are creative.
26. Appreciate the beauty of nature–it’s fantastic.
27. A brother or sister can be a lifelong friend.
30. Treat the oldest people in the family as treasures because they are.
31. Get a good education as best you can and never stop learning.
32. Make room in your heart for others who are not exactly like you.
Mom is 91 and is still making quilt tops for her church. She’s made over 500 for them. She reads about two books a month and is well-informed on a wide variety of topics. She has a great sense of humor and is well loved by her many friends and family. She exercises every day and often walks to where she wants to go. She’s an amazing woman, and I’m proud to be her daughter. Happy Mother’s Day Mom!