Lessons From My 88 Year Old Grandmother (And Her 63 Year Old Toaster)

I am remiss. My mother corrected me this morning- my grandmother is only 87 until this coming February! When we visited her last weekend, she mentioned something about being 88. I mentally logged this number and fast-forwarded her age prematurely. My sincere apologies, Mam! Love you!

We are at a time in our country when most everything is made to be convenient and/or disposable. Food is meant to be prepared as easily as possible. Products are sold everywhere to make our lives easier. Expendable cutlery, paper products, cleaning aids, and home decor add to our modern day expediency. And above all, once things break, we get rid of them. Things are made cheaply and no one expects you to upkeep what you have anymore. Maintenance, after all, is a waste of time and most likely will drag your house into the dark ages of outdated style.

Amidst this culture of convenience and throw-away products, my grandmother stands out as a conservative example of good stewardship and care for her possessions.

mam1

(My sis and I hanging out with my grandma- Mam, as we call her, circa 2008.)

One of the best examples I can think of is her 1951 General Electric toaster. She bought this thing sixty-three years ago and still uses it every single day. And it still works like a charm! Why?

She takes care of it. It sits in her cupboard wearing a little cross-stitched cloth cover. Every time she wants toast, she lifts it carefully from the cabinet, removes the cover, unwinds the cord, and plugs it in. She always double checks the temperature and pop height settings. She always unplugs it as soon as her toast is made. She lets it cool on the counter for a while, then loosely re-wraps the cord, replaces the cover, and puts it back into its home. She also remembers to shake out the crumbs neatly into her garbage can on a regular basis.

At one point the toaster stopped working- did they buy a new one? No. My grandma and grandpa went to the hardware store, purchased a new cord, and made the thing as good as new again. How often do you hear of that happening these days?

Here’s a picture of a vintage advertisement for the very same toaster- you can find it on Ebay here.

GEToasterShe treats the rest of her home with the same level of care, and it’s amazing how well her furniture and appliances have held up. She doesn’t try to speed through cleaning jobs or buy a lot of gadgets to make her life easier. She just works, steadily and patiently, until she completes every job on her list.

What have I learned from my Mam?

To care for your things. To not be afraid of taking time to work. To be patient. To be orderly. To be faithful in your duties. To be willing to put in extra effort to save a little money. To not buy things unless they are a necessity. To value thrift and industry more than newness and convenience.

While I am a far cry from my Mam’s good example, she is still an inspiration to me! Much love for this wonderful lady. <3

mam2(My Pap and Mam)

 

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