Monday, April 27, 2009


My Mother's parents lived through the Depression. They were hardworking, rural, Pennsylvania folks. I remember vividly, growing up and watching them save everything -repair, re-use and re-purpose until it falls apart. Tools, dishes, fabrics, wood....all acquired a smoothness, a patina, well-worn patching, chips. All spoke of value in the intrinsic usefulness of an item. Looking back, what might have seemed poor and shabby to some speaks to me of honesty and thrift.

When I have to throw away some bit of modern junk that unfortunately cannot be repaired I feel a sadness and a loss of connection.

That is why I treasure a small collection of clothespins that I found at a yard sale. Some are apparently handmade...squared and chamfered, worn smooth by many years of hard-working hands. My favorite however is a simple little pin with evidence of thrift and value. Evidently splitting after many years of use, a single small nail has been hammered through to hold the split. The free end of the nail has been carefully bent over and pushed into the wood to keep it from catching fingers or cloth.


  1. I love everything about his post. I love when you write - worn smooth by many years of hard working hands - making me look at my own simple tools a bit differently today....

  2. Your pins are beautiful, you use them when you extend the life of your clothing by hanging dry?

    My PA Dutch grandmother said "use it up wear it out, make do or do without". Isn't it funny that what our grandparents knew to be normal, is now hip?