BootsnAll Travel Network

Archive for the 'San Francisco Bay Area' Category

« Home

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without

Friday, September 19th, 2008

The title of this entry is a saying that I heard many times from my grandmother [Grammy–my father’s mother] as I was growing up.  She was originally from Maine, but had moved to the mid-Atlantic region as a new bride when she was in her twenties.  She never lost her Maine accent to the day that she died, in her eighties.

I always thought that this was one of those “frugal New England” sayings, stereotyping the region and Grammy all at once.  As it turns out, it took coming to California to allow me to see my mistake.

Recently, when Jeremy was visiting, we went to the “Rosie the Riveter Homefront Memorial” in Richmond, CA, near where I work.  It’s quite an amazing place, in a park on the old site of Kaiser Shipyard No. 2.  As it says at the website, an estimated 18 million women worked in the defense industries during WWII.

And a part of that story is the history of the dykes–the women who dressed in overalls and worked in heavy industry–and discovered that there were other women who felt like that, too.  But that would take us rather far afield. 

The main part of the site is a sculpture that outlines the form of a ship under construction.  In the pavement that defines the keel of the ship are a number of incised stones that give the chronology of the war and of the war effort.  There are also sculptural element that outline the main architectural features of the ship.  They include plaques including photographs and other items of life during the war.  One of these is  a brief notice talking about hardships during the War.  One way of mobilizing Americans to contribute to the War effort was the slogan above.

I’m appalled that Bush’s response to the events of 9/11/2001 was to tell us to go shopping.  I fear that, with the current crisis in the financial sector, we’re in for another very bad patch–perhaps as bad as the [Great] Recession of the 1930s.

I find that I’m more and more interested in putting things up–this weekend I’m canning spaghetti sauce.  Somehow, it feels like things are going to get much worse.  So I share the saying above.  And really, it’s time for me to act like there are limits to what is possible.