The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 11, 2002


Carlisle Comments: Making do

Making do, does anyone remember what I am talking about? When things were tough, and money was in short supply, we had to "make do." That means that if we had a hole in our sock, we darned it. Darning is not a polite way of saying damn, darning means to repair your sock or sweater, by weaving a patch over the hole. Then the item is good for a few more months. The only cost was the cost of the special thread, and the beauty, comfort, and durability of this repair depended on the skill of your mother or grandmother.

"Make do with what you have." Shoes were resoled. My dad had a cobbler's kit and he used to "tap" our shoes. Tonight's leftovers would be served the next night in slightly different form, we threw very little away, and we were satisfied. We had to eat the food provided for us, and my father never made meatloaf the same way twice. In our family, dresses were passed from cousin to cousin. Fortunately, I was about second or third in line, but my slightly smaller cousins had to suffer the consequences of my tomboyishness. There were fewer boys in our extended family, so my brothers fared a little better.

No one had a new car every year. Old "Bessy" had to last until the final mile was squeezed out of it. Usually we took the bus, or we walked. Walk? What a novel idea. My two feet took me to most of the places that I needed to go. During the good weather I rode my one- speed, 1939 Iver Johnson bicycle. I still have it, although, I must admit, it has been a while since I actually rode it.

We saved string, rolling it into softball-sized balls for convenience. When I first went to work, they used to laugh at me for saving string, but whenever someone needed string, guess where they came looking? We grew and canned our vegetables, most of our presents were lovingly hand-made, and cookies were a welcome house-warming gift.

Today, we seem to live in a throw-it-away society. Use it once and toss it. Never wear the same outfit twice in the same month. We have throwaway cameras, and clothes that are out of fashion and therefore out of the house almost before we get the price tags off them, and even a new toothbrush every few months.

House too small, or just tired of it? Buy a new one. Last year's shoes? Throw them out and buy new ones. Car the wrong color? Sell it, trade it, buy or lease a new one. Have to keep up with the times. If we get six or eight months out of an item, we don't care if it breaks, or is out of style, it's time for a new one. Just look at our cameras, computers, and other gadgets, there is a newer "better" model even before we get the old one paid for.

I don't know what will happen when things get tough again. People just don't know how to make do with anything anymore. Need money? Refinance! Lower payments? Yes, but a lot more of them. Does anyone ever add up all those interest payments? Personally, I can't afford to save money like that. I guess I will just have to "make do."

Carlisle Comments invites town residents to submit well-written essays about the issues that concern them. The suggested length is 750 words.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito