Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thrift Rich - Small Things

I have written about my grandmother, Gam, here before.  She was an incredible source of inspiration to me--traveling to Europe for the first time in her 70's, driving the same mint condition VW Beetle for 30 years and she always made up the BEST bed when I'd come stay the night.

The woman had STYLE.  Where most grandmothers had plastic covered furniture, mine took inspiration from the cover of an Architectural Digest magazine.  She had an antique bed that had been her family for decades and made it over to look like a daybed in a New York City loft.  

She was always impeccably dressed.  Her favorite perfume was Paris by Estee Lauder.  And every night until she was in her early 90's she wore a leopard print nightgown and had a glass of chablis.

And where that last sentence could appear more "trashy Vegas" than stylish, she'd light candles, put on Vivaldi and it somehow just worked.

Gam didn't have a lot of money.  She worked in the old department store, I. Magnin for over 30 years as a sales person.   But she lived an incredibly rich life.

In her words "I never worked for my money, my money always worked for me."  She saved small amounts over a long period of time, put them conservatively in the stock market and was able to retire comfortably.

She bought expensive clothes on sale at I. Magnin with her employee discount and cared for them.  Because of the quality, she was able to keep them for YEARS.

She wasn't a huge shopper and lived in a SMALL apartment that didn't allow room for a ton of stuff.

She entertained her friends.  Not with expensive meals, but with sunset parties at the beach.  She'd grab a pizza, spread out blankets, fill paper bags with sand and light candles in the bags for light.

She always worked with what she had, was grateful for it and treated her belongings with not only respect, but love.

I was thinking of her this morning when I woke up in Portland to 30 degree temps outside and a chilly house.  I've been saving energy (and money!) where I can--not turning on the heat as much, washing my clothes in cold water instead of warm and turning off lights when I leave the room.  "What would Gam do if it was ASS cold?" I thought to myself.

(First of all, she'd never say ass.)  

I decided not to turn the heat on, but grabbed a sweatshirt out of my closet and when I did, I spied those slippers up there.  They were given to me as a gift a few years ago.  I threw them on, poured myself a cup of coffee and snuggled under a blanket on the couch with my dog.  I read a magazine with Vivaldi on in the background.  And while the slippers (and sweatshirt!) are NOWHERE near stylish enough for Gam, somehow I think she'd get it ... if for no other reason than the animal print.


BOSSY said...

By your description, Bossy thinks she'd love the slippers.

Predo said...

Awwww, my snuggle-bunny! I hope you lit one of those thousand candles you have, that would set the mood! And, where was the Kitty durring all this cuddle time? Doesn't he know his job is keep Mommy warm?

big hair envy said...

Gam would be SO proud of you:) I wish I had known her...

BTW - OMG!!! Bossy was the first one to comment today!!! Please remember us when you make it Blogger Big:)

Word Verification: forpl

jen said...

I love this post. What a wonderful picture you painted. Gam, sounded like a super classy, financially savvy lady.

I'm posting a whole month of finance posts for nabomopo. Thrifty living is my faves.

belladella said...

This might be my favorite SSG post, well one of them :) Gam is amazing and I definitely think you carry a lot of her in you. I am so tied to the things of my past and the people that I come from.

Rhiannon said...

So sweet :) Makes me miss my Grandma!

(also, DUDE, I'm trying not to turn my heat on, but Portland isn't cooperating!)

Living on the Spit said...

an absolutely lovely post. I would have loved your Gam and I am sure she would have had the best blog too.

I love relating to the past and letting invade my today. I miss you SSG SO much!!!

I miss you all. I can not wait to be back full time.


Molly said...

This was a great post! Made me miss my grandmother so much.

Lys said...

Fabulous post, SSG!!!