Monday, February 20, 2006

Saving String

If you lived in England during the war and were a housewife, you saved string, and butcher paper and all sorts of little household oddments that were difficult to get because of rationing.

Also, if someone had a birthday or there was a wedding coming up, everyone saved the sugar rations for the cake and the clothing coupoons for the trousseau.

If you were raised by people who were raised in England at this time, you save and re-use string, Christmas and birthday wrapping paper, elastics, tin foil, plastic vegetable bags, twist-ties and any number of little household oddments because, you know, they might be hard to get soon...

My mother likes to tell the story of when she first arrived in Canada. The boat that brought them over from Liverpool arrived on the St. Lawrence at Quebec City. Her first words upon seeing it were, "Where's the bomb damage?" She had been told it was a World War, after all and had never seen a city that wasn't smashed to pancakes.

She said she was very puzzled when her first school chum said, "let's go to the store and buy some candy." She replied, horrified, "I can't take your rations!"

She said she would never forget the time she saw a kid scoffing an entire bar of chocolate by himself. If you got chocolate in Manchester, you cut it up into the smallest fragments possible and gave it out to as many people as you could manage. Otherwise you would be thorougly pounded.

She always maintains that kids would be nicer if there were rationing.

I save string.

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