Read yesterday on another blog about survivors of the Great Depression being unable to give up their stinginess, having known true want. Has anyone written the Economics of Scarcity? Or at least a psych tome re: Fear of Lack? Poverty Consciousness?
I know a lot of my old relatives were obsessive-excessive hoarders. Rooms packed with nothingness, just in case it was needed. When I was fifteen, we cleaned out six large Hefty bags and about twelve grocery sacks full of junk from my Grandmother's kitchen alone. I found old leaden wine foils - you know, that cover the cork, I don't know the name... Anyway, these were saved for the war effort. I mean, as in number II. There were powdered cocktail mixes, whose graphics and obsolescent names (think Mai-Tai and Singapore Sling), seemed likely to be of the Eisenhower era.
At Christmas and birthdays Grandma Virginia gave very generously, but often it was mostly junk she had gleaned from garage sales. When I was twelve I got a box of as many 70s leather and pleather patchwork purses. They were hideous then, but I probably could make a killing selling to Japan off eBay today. We threw them away, but Mom looked in the pocket of one and found a hundred dollar check before they hit the ashcan. Lucky for me. I'm sure there's a lesson in that.
The inability to throw anything away seems to have skipped a generation in that part of our family. My mother goes through cycles of Stalinist Purges. That's another childhood trauma I won't trouble you about, but I will say I tend to clutch things too tightly. I'm working on it.