Well, I must now go back and put in something I forgot before. When I was a child and still in Redmesa, there were too many ways that we had to work hard to save money and live. The way we throw things away today, and the planned obsolescence of today is hard to reconcile with the way we saved everything and were so careful of everything. For instance; after they sheared the sheep, we would go out on a day trip to gather wool from the surrounding fences where people had sheep. I can remember my grandmother Willden, Aunts Ethel and Belle, and my mother and the ones younger than I going out and all day long picking the tufts of wool off from where the sheep had gone through the barbs and left bits of wool. It was a tedious job and I hated it, except that it sometimes got me away from the other even more tedious jobs. This wool was carefully washed and dried. Then Grandma and Mother (and they taught me how) would sit and card the wool into nice even fluffs that we put in all our quilts. The quilts were made from scraps of our old dresses and clothes. The ‘camp’ quilts were made from the men’s worn out wool pants and suits and with wool inside they were so heavy our sides and backs ached after sleeping under them on camp trips, but we were warm. In this way our quilts (and we didn’t have blankets for years) didn’t cost anything except for the thread to quilt or tie them. Our underwear—pants and slips–were almost always made from flour and feed sacks that were bleached mightily and hung for days in the sun to bleach out the lettering of the mills on them and then made into our underclothes and also dish towels.

Another was we saved every little bit of everything was that we never used soap to do dishes because the dishwater had to be fed to the pigs as ’swill.’ They were washed in hot water and rinsed in hot water from the inevitable tea kettle boiling on the wood stove, but no soap was used. We also used to make all our soap. We saved every scrap of fat and when pigs were killed any fat that wasn’t used, was made into lard and stored for use (Crisco was unknown) but also any other little pieces were rendered and used for soap. (I still save every bit of fat and make soap. I started doing it just for the fun of knowing I could make the stuff, but now I make it and put it in the attic for my year’s supply.

Nothing ever went to waste. Scraps fed the dogs or cats (dog food was unknown also) and the birds got what they didn’t eat. Another art of my grandmother was making cheese. She had a washtub that wasn’t used for anything else. She would put the milk in and so many Rennet tablets. And then when it had ‘set’, I always had the joyful job of cutting it into squares and then crosswise. I loved the smooth feel of the embryo cheese beneath the knife.

Speaking of money, I have mentioned how careful my Mother was of it. Whenever I needed a new dress or something, she always went into her song and dance about being overdrawn at the bank, and how short of money we were. But, if I persisted I always got it. “I don’t think I ever asked for too much of anything and then when the bank statement came I found we had maybe $1,500 in the checking balance. This was quite an amount for those days. I don’t know why I always fell for her exclamations of poverty, but I did. However, we all had whatever we really needed.