Before I go any further let me explain what the term “tightwad” means to me, because I mean it in a complimentary and affectionate way. We grew up poor in Brooklyn and things were very tough for both my parents, but more so for my mom. Mom was a stay at home mom. “Experts” agree that being a mother can be compared to holding down two full-time jobs. But no mother has to hear this from an expert, she’s already well aware of it.
Mom raised four children and my dad often traveled for business. This left Mom in charge of raising the kids, making sure we had clean clothes to wear and ensuring we had full tummies. Not an easy feat to accomplish when money’s tight. But, Mom always managed to pull it off. I remember watching her go through coat pockets trying to find enough change to buy something for dinner on any given night. She always said, “Give me a bag of rice or a bag of potatoes and I can make a meal.” And she did. I’m not saying I always cleaned my plate. Far from it. I was a terrible eater, which was probably to Mom’s dismay. She managed to put something together and I, the fussy eater, would turn my head away and refuse to eat. But, in my defense I HATED Spam, which was one of Mom’s favorite meals. Does anyone really like Spam, the famous mystery meat in the can? But, it was cheap so it was often on the family menu. I remember holding my hand over my mouth and gagging whenever I was encouraged to take at least one bite. My mother also made a mean chipped beef on toast, which I actually liked.
Well, that was a looooong time ago. But I’ll tell you what, I have absolutely learned everything I know from Mom. She had me sit on a chair while she cooked and she taught me everything she knew about cooking and stretching a meal. And, I learned alot. I’m much older now and certainly not wealthy. The kids and I have had our share of lean times, but Mom taught me well. Give me a bag of rice or a bag of potatoes and I’ll make you a meal. I’m the most frugal mom I know, except for my mommy. Thanks Mom! You’re the best teacher I’ve ever had.