- Posted March 19, 2009 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Lessons from grandma
Lessons to Unlearn from Grandma
I want to preface this by saying that every single word is true, as this may sound like my usual nonsense.
My grandmother lived to be 92 years of age, dying the day after Mother’s Day 2003, about a week before my 40th birthday. Her body finally succumbed to the ravages of time, but her mind was intact until the very end. She was perhaps the most unhappy person I have ever known. Nothing seemed to bring her joy, and I have no memory of her laughing (although I assume she must have, at some point). She and my grandfather, who preceded her in death by 15 years, were the absolute cheapest people I have ever met. They were not at all poor, far from it in fact, my grandfather having made a large enough nest egg to retire at age 50. Their extreme frugality was thus both pointless and embarrassing for me as a child. On the few special occasions that we would eat out as a family, they would take all the bread rolls and butter packets from the restaurant, hiding them in my grandmother’s purse. Every towel at their house had the name of a motel on it, usually Holiday Inn. The memory that sticks out the most, however, is that they never, ever bought condiments. The ketchup and mustard in their refrigerator all came in the little packets they stole from McDonalds, Burger King, etc. I guess these penny-pinching behaviors likely helped them survive the Great Depression, but I still don’t think it was worth the price.