Remember Barbara Mandrel’s hit song, “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool?” She has nothing on me because I was thrifting when thrifting wasn’t cool.
Like most married couples, my parents were very different. My mom liked bright, shiny new things, and my dad liked junk. He put a whole new meaning to making something from nothing. When we had an auction after they both died, Mother, as she insisted on being called, had a house full of beautiful glass dishes and the finest of clothes and furniture. Daddy, as all five girls endearingly called him, had nothing worth selling. His shop (a carpenter and mechanic) held tools and supplies; few purchased new and all overused. He was a fixer of old and broken, and he never threw a thing away: “I’ll use that for something” was his motto.
I learned the pleasure of buying something brand new from my mom and the same joy of thrifting from my dad. We inherited both traits—bright and sparkly and old but valuable. When someone complimented her beautiful outfits or striking jewelry, my sister, Patty, smiling, would often say, “Fifty cents,” or “Two dollars.” She was proud of buying something used. We all enjoyed hunting for anything beautiful, our mother’s taste, and in all things practical, our dad’s influence.
Yes, I love visiting any donation center or garage/estate sale to see what treasures I might find. It is one-hundred percent more fun than going to the mall. I laugh when finding myself giving away items at the back door and walking through the front door scouting for something I must take home. For me, thrifting is a source of entertainment, and I find the experience clears my head of worry and negativity.
There you have it, thrifting is cool, and it benefits my mental wellness—it provides exercise, helps me think about the purpose of life, and reinforces the fact that what we put on our backs or shelves does not define us. What we buy, use, or give away tells much about our upbringing.
Today’s trending words include recycle, upcycle, donate, thrift, do it yourself (DIY), secondhand, overstock, sustainable, reclaim, haul, or scored. When I was a kid, it was, “Want to go to the dump?” As a young farm wife, it was standing in the sun or snow at farm sales. As a senior adult, maybe I get simple joy from sleeping, waking, and walking, but this week involved thrifting with a purpose, and I couldn’t help thinking, I was thrifting when thrifting wasn’t cool.
What were YOU doing before it was cool?
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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