Monday, November 27, 2017

25 Cents a Dozen

My friend Joy at A Vintage Green recently posted about a sign she had made that said "Fresh Eggs 25 cents a dozen", and those few words reminded me of 1972.

My two oldest sons in 1973, a little after this story
In the winter of 1971-1972 I had two sons, and the third was on the way. I was not quite 20 at the time, my husband had changed jobs and money was so short that we had only $10 a week for groceries for our family of four.

But tuna was cheap, culled apples could be had for $1.50 a bushel, honey was $25 for 5 gallons, and the drive to get these things was a beautiful one through the country to Front Royal, VA . Closer to home, milk was $1 a gallon with the cream on it from a local dairy farmer. I bought day-old baked goods by the bags-full for $1 a bag. I made butter, learned how to make applesauce, and somehow we ate well on that budget.

One of my favorite memories is of the day I learned to make white bean soup. I had a cookbook given to me as a wedding gift called Fine Old New England Recipes. I still have it. It had a recipe for cooking white beans, and I tried it out. I do not remember ever eating bean soup before, certainly my mother never made it. The cookbook also had a recipe for deep-dish apple pie and I was making that too. Both dishes came out perfectly.

It was early spring by then, an April day. We were still broke and I was eight months pregnant with my third son and in the kitchen of the little log house we lived in at the time, near the banks of the Occoquan River in Virginia. The trees were just budding out, and the plum tree in our backyard was in bloom. I had the Dutch door (one of those that opens at top and bottom) open to the back porch, and my two little boys were playing outside. The pale blue and yellow calico kitchen curtains I had made by sewing by hand were blowing gently in the breeze.

 We had good food, a cute little house in the country, healthy little boys, and we were happy. What more could a person ask?

Ten years, another son and a move to West Virginia later, the marriage was over; we were two people who had married too young and no longer knew each other. But that one day stands out in my memory as a day of complete content, a day when I found a self-confidence I had not known before. It would perhaps not be earthshaking to anyone else, but I believe it was the starting point for my journey to both self-sufficiency and self-discovery.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Nance said...

Great insight; lovely memories. Related so vividly . . . I was in the little cabin with you.

Mac n' Janet said...

We were quite poor when newly married too. My husband was drafted into the Army and pay was so low, we had to learn to be thrifty, so we did. We married very young too, but we were lucky we grew up together, not apart.

Storyteller Mary said...

Beautiful! <3

hart said...

A nice post. I can relate to those small moments when everything is just perfect.

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

I love your stories Sue and this one, a true story of your own experiences, brought tears and a wobbly smile. Thank you for your post today.

Granny Sue said...

Janet, I wish it could have been so for us. Some strike gold the first time! I know that I would never have become who I am today had we remained married. And I have been married over 30 years with my second husband, and grateful for him every day.

Brig said...

Your stories are the best. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

I love this beautiful post!! I never knew that Larry wasn't your only love!!

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