“Don’t Throw It Away!”

I

 never heard Mama use the word “waste”.  There was no waste in our house.  Mama could have written many of the wise sayings that I later learned in school. 

Mama never heard of Aesop, John Heywood, Ralph Waldo Emerson or Ben Franklin but she was in their league when it came to wise sayings.

“Varf es nisht avek” (Don’t throw it away.) It didn’t matter what it was.  Mama found a need for almost everything.  For example, Mama stuffed the “heldzl” (diminutive of neck) of a chicken and it was a delicacy. 

The patterned Purina brand bags of chicken feed that held the Purina mash we fed the chickens were used as pillow cases, dish towels, and sewn into aprons and kerchiefs for her hair. 

The major area in which Mama was conservative was with “gelt” (money).  She always had a “knipl” (money stashed away) hidden away.  It was a necessity, for Papa said, “Paper money is like toilet paper.  It should be gotten, used and then discarded.”

To Mama, being wasteful was tantamount to sinning against G-d. 

If a piece of bread fell on the floor, it was immediately picked up, brushed off, and kissed with the idea that He took care of it. 

Needless to say—this is one habit I did not pass on to my children.

Mama’s way of life came from growing up in Tiktin, Poland during World War I and having to walk the countryside to barter with farmers. 

The goods she brought from town were exchanged for produce.  Everything was carried on her back as she followed her mother.  Her father was in America to make money for steerage to bring his family over for a better life.