The always fascinating Dean's World has an interesting question - how do you feel about money, and why? What in your life lead you to your current way of dealing with money?

In my case, I was raised by parents made gun-shy by the Depression years. My dad was born in 1922, and his father died in 1929 (good timing!). At one point, his mother was threatened with losing all her children to families who could afford to care for them. In anticipation, she hired a photographer to shoot a picture of all the family (5 children still living at home), so she would have something to remember them by if the state welfare office did manage to take them away. By a small miracle, family members came through at the last minute, and none of them were lost to the state.

However, there was a price. My grandmother had to find a job, which she did, in the Viking glass factory. My father and the older children never lived at home again. My father, at different times, lived with: his grandfather, a grown-up brother, and his sister. He developed a lifelong desire never to spend time on a farm, and to wear a white shirt and work in an office. He achieved his goals, and more.

My mother's father was in an explosion when she was very small. After multiple hospitalizations, he worked as a welder, when there was work. My grandmother took matters into her own hands. She pawned her large engagement ring, used the money to put a down payment on a house, and opened a restaurant on the ground floor. Her income kept them going most of their marriage.

My parents never had the least embarassment about saying "We can't afford it", when asked for something that was expensive. They didn't mean that we were going to starve - in fact, it was a point of pride to have a full refrigerator at all times. I took it the way it was meant. If I really wanted the item, I could either wait for one of the usual gift-giving occasions, or go out and earn the money myself.

I did earn money, from about 8 years old. I made and sold potholders, raked lawns, cut grass (with a borrowed push mower), and shoveled snow. It didn't make me neurotic or miserly, just frugal. I eventually married a man even more frugal (although he is VERY generous about many things, he doesn't believe in wasting money). It's come in handy in periods of unemployment or financial crisis.

All of our children knew the value of a dollar, and are good money managers today.


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