Monday, August 29, 2011

How we started thinking "survival"

Mary said she grew up in a family with a survivor mentality.  She's right.  But so did I.  I joke that we were so poor that we were the charity for the store called "Cheap Food for Poor People" and got their leftovers.  Instead of giving me an envy of the wealthy, I developed a challenge to see how well I could do on as little as possible.  By the middle sixties I had five children and was a stay at home mom.  As my husband got raises, I would add only two extra "luxuries" to our lifestyle.  The first raise we switched from margarine to butter and the second we got shirts professionally laundered.  Otherwise the raises went in the bank.

We raised rabbits, had a big garden and one peak year canned 1500 quarts of vegetables - corn, beans, beets, pickles and tomatoes.  Another year I found a very sad fruit vendor whose employee had left a truck full of peaches in the sun all day.  I bought the entire truckload for $10.00, called a friend and we had an all night canning party - 1200 quarts. 

As the sixties eroded into the later sixties we became disturbed about living and working in a large metropolis and made plans to build and live on a boat.  We had bought an old house, remodeled it, and built another on the lot next door.  We sold the old house, moved in the new house and started building the boat in the garage and moving it to the back yard when it got too big.  We built a 41' Trimaran- big enough for our large family, moved the boat to water, sold our new home, loaded the boat and motored down the Illinois River, Mississippi to the Gulf, the Bahamas and back to Florida for a wonderful year long trip.  We have a great slide story of building the boat and the trip if anyone knows how to put slides on the computer.

I'll save how we loaded the boat and what we learned for future blogs.  We learned so much from that trip it changed the direction of our lives.  When you're out away from shore with just the water, sky and you with no protection except the boat you realize what is really important for your life.  Seven people in a space the size of a dining room table makes you very aware of the effect you have on others and forces you to be polite and respectful of the space around yourself and everyone else.

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