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Thursday, January 20, 2011

My grandparents had it right

Sometimes Mr. Poorhouse and I get discouraged. We don't have a social life. Movies, bars and restaurants, and babysitters are not in our budget and haven't been for a long time.

I just remembered, though, that my grandparents didn't let that stop them in the pit of the Great Depression. They went out every Friday night. With their friends. To each other's houses. They brought their pot luck dishes and their kids. The kids passed out in a bedroom as the adults partied late into the night. They didn't drink. They danced, they laughed, they played cards.

My dad remembers those evenings. The kids would sneak halfway down the stairs and watch the shenanigans. Gramps was a hoot, always telling a joke (most of them came from the Marx Brothers), but Grammie would never laugh. Her friends asked Grammie how she kept from laughing. "Sometimes," she'd whisper conspiratorially, "I have to leave the room. I don't want to encourage him."

These people were there church friends, their Kiwanis friends, their Eastern Star and Mason friends. They remained close for life. They were the same group that put on the wedding receptions in the church basement. (That's where wedding receptions happened, not in fancy catering halls or expensive restaurants.) Well into their 80s and 90s, the friends shared fond recollections of the days when they really had nothing but each other.

I suppose we could do something like that. But in our (face it) snooty town we haven't made any bosom buddies. People's houses are McMansions and must be spotlessly clean before someone can come over. (Of course there's probably a housekeeper or cleaning service to see to that.). The main social events are expensive fundraisers at the country club for a nursery school that, face it, doesn't need funding, or a cabaret at $100+ a seat to benefit the local hospital or arts organization. There's even a prom for adults to raise money for the public schools to pay for things the town budget should cover.

I suppose I sound bitter, and perhaps I am.

Do the simpler, frugal days of entertainment still exist where you live?

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