Thursday, June 19, 2014


I was born during the Depression and spent my early years during World War II.

We didn't call those difficult years an occasion for "stress." We called them LIVING. (Stress was something that happened in aeronautics with fighter planes.)

We were poor, but so was everyone else, so it didn't affect us seriously. We simply made do with what we had. I remember my mother giving the greengrocer a few pennies for days-old vegetables for soup. And when my brother and I had a single penny to buy a chocolate-covered marshamallow "broom" on a stick, we thought we were the luckiest kids in the world.

One of my fondest memories was of Halloween. My parents had scraped together enough money to buy two costumes for a party they were attending. ($1.00 each!) Dad was a skeleton and Mom was a witch, complete with long black wig. The following year, Mom cut down the costumes for my brother and me. We felt so special in "store-bought" outfits!

But the next year was even better. Mom had decided I should be The Blue Fairy from Pinnocchio. (Must have been 1939.) She took an old cotton slip and dyed it blue, then attached blue-dyed cheesecloth wings to the back. Dress and wings (with wrist-loops) were trimmed with last-year's Christmas tinsel that she'd found for sale in a shop. My wand was an old stick from a curtain shade, with a silver star made from the padded cover of an old chocolate box and edged with tinsel. And on my head with a tinsel tiara? The witch's black wig! I felt like a princess.

During the war, my father became quite successful in his business. He was a silk-screen maker and, seeing the war coming, had had the foresight to stockpile surplus parachute silk. (Once Japan entered the war, silk of course was unavailable.) We got our first car, traded in our icebox for a refrigerator (though we still called it an icebox for years!), and moved out of our small apartment to a rental house. But we still had very little. Everything went to the war effort---sugar, coffee, gasoline, butter, meat. Many of those items were rationed, and if you ran out of something before the month was out you simply did without.

As I said before, we made do with what we had and were content.

I came of age during the '50s. Years later, I had to laugh when our generation was referred to as the Passive Generation.

Hell, we weren't passive. We were GRATEFUL! For the first time in our lives, things were good. The young people who sneer at the happy-family '50s TV shows should understand that that's how we viewed life. Things had never been better. It wasn't until the coddled '60s kids came along that they felt the need to tear up the pea patch, having known nothing but good times all their lives.

My point being that, because we lived through such grim times, we expected nothing. So any small good thing that happens, even today, is cause for pleasure and rejoicing. Young people, who expect EVERYTHING, are constantly disappointed and stressed when things don't go their way. Poor dears.

Every day is to be lived and enjoyed, for good or bad, simply because it's different from the day before. When someone chirps at me, "Have a nice day!", I always respond, "I always do. It's how you look at the world, not how it treats you, that matters."

Outlook not imput can ease the stress.


  1. I love this post! Now I just need to LIVE it.

  2. Hi, Sylvia! Love your blog! Sincerely, The Girl in the Pink Ladies T-shirt in Macy's the Other Day :-)

  3. Thanks to all, and a special Hi to Heather, who brought back a long-forgotten memory. Ages ago, I was the Costume Lady at my daughter's school, responsible for outfitting all the cast. They were doing "Grease." I bought six cheap white jackets, dyed them pink, and stenciled Pink Ladies on the back. Seeing Heather in her t-shirt jogged my memory. Thanks, dear!

  4. I want more of your blog! I was a 60's child and if you were solidly middle class, there was plenty of food, clothing and shelter. We were protected from everything. We never knew hardships so when they came later in life, we wailed like babies. Completely agree with your premise about perspective. Only you put it so beautifully Sylvia.