Sunday, June 19, 2011


My father was a man who loved money. That is, he loved to save it. To his dying day he never experienced the joy of buying something frivolous just because he wanted it.

He grew up during The Depression when money was tight. His father made bad investments and liked to drink, so there was never any extra. His mother took in boarders to make ends meet.

As a result, he must have determined never to be in such a position. He was so frugal he squeaked. We never hired repair men to do the odd jobs that my father took on. Sometimes he didn’t know what he was doing -- like attempting for years to fix a leak in the roof. But most of the time he succeeded, often without spending a cent.

He was actually quite good at electrical work since he had an EE degree. We would save up all sorts of small jobs for him to do when he came to visit. Young Daniel followed him around watching and helping “Mapa” as he called him when he was little.

Sadly when my father died at the age of 86, he had been existing on 99-cent TV dinners for years and the plumbing in his house no longer worked. While his penchant for saving money was still alive and well, his will to fix things had expired.

My father’s frugality allowed us to enjoy spending his money after his death. I can just see him wince every time we call a repair man or buy something he would consider unnecessary.

I do miss him, especially on Father’s Day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your father was a brilliant and interesting man. The memory of some of his wonderful inventions makes me smile. You were fortunate to have him in your life for so long. FL

6:53 PM  
Blogger e said...

A lovely tribute on Father's Day.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

It sounds like your dad was quite creative in his frugality. You probably inherited a lot of your creativity from him.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

FL -- I still have several of his "products". He cut the bottoms off of soda cans and somehow put them together to make pill holders. Do you remember those?

E -- He was really the last of my immediate family since I have no siblings. I do miss him!

Cyndy -- Some of his favorite "supplies" were tooth picks, paperclips, and vaseline. They figured into a lot of his projects. As did many of the other things that people normally throw away, like soda cans, newspaper bags, and plastic bottles. He couldn't bear to throw things like that out, so they took on new lives in often clever ways. I guess he taught me to think outside the box!

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very sweet remembrance, and I ditto Cyndy's comment. Sounds like he influenced the way you approach your projects (including cooking) with confidence about the materials at hand, self-reliance, and creativity...


12:49 PM  
Anonymous lr said...

I agree that you have many of your father's creative and inventive characteristics softened by the more affluent years of your youth. I believe you spend your money thoughtfully and wisely, with very little waste. The pictures are wonderful!!

5:43 PM  
Blogger Steve Reed said...

My mom is the same way. She takes pride in pinching her pennies, and even though I encourage her to spend more, she doesn't like to. (She has recently embarked on some home improvements, though, like refitting our 1960s kitchen with more modern fixtures and having dying trees removed from the yard.)

11:30 AM  
Blogger WW said...

I lost my dad in Sept. of 2009 and miss him every day....some days are worse than others, some are better. But on father's day I made sure to call my mom and wish her a happy father's day - just to let her know I hadn't forgotten HER.

Miss you Dad.

9:18 PM  

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