Saturday, December 14, 2013

Family history of bargain shopping (and hoarding).

Hoarder tendencies can be explained by a lot of things. My mom, for example, has lots of stuff, but she can find just about anything you need at the drop of a hat. She is one serious recycler, which is to say, reuser/repurposer. One time she was asked for coffee cans for a project... she came up with close to 40 cans of the right size, even though no one in our household drank coffee!

Her parents, my GungGung & PorPor, came to the States prior to Mao coming to power in China. And they raised five kids (born within a 6 1/2 year span) without a dollar of government welfare. Families sponsored other family members to come to the States and housed them as they learned a trade until they could stand on their own two feet. My mom remembers having as many as 17 people living in their home, above the Chinese hand laundry. To say they lived frugally is an extraordinary understatement.

source: Eugene Leong. Photo from 1951.

Also, some photos of old photos1 of the extended family, including my mom's parents. This one is GungGung & PorPor at mom's brother's wedding, 1971.

1 Album is on snapfish. You will need a (free) login & password to access the family photos

Recently I asked my mom if she had any index card file boxes. She found three of her parents', and we found a treasure trove in them.
All this was in three index card boxes! I was expecting to find recipes, or perhaps just empty boxes.

Typeface. These were bundled up like a small pile of matchsticks in a tiny square of cellophane. I asked mom, but she didn't know anyone who actually had a printing press. Murg thought they were typewriter letters to swap out. It wasn't until we unbundled them that he realized what a laborious process printing was. These make me glad to live in an era of blogging.

A size comparison w/ galena & silicon. Don't you have mineral samples around your house for this? Mom actually used to work at Cranbrook Institute of Science, which has a fabulous rocks and minerals display, and a better public display than the Smithsonian puts out. FWIW, the galena weighed about the same as the typeface, and each weighed about 20x what the silicon weighed. Size aside, the density difference was remarkable.

Gung Gung's pincushion. He was a man whose faith could move mountains. And what an evangelist -- I remember him sitting me down to show me how the Chinese characters for man appear in come2 -- a cross on which was a big man in the middle, and a smaller man on either side. A picture of the crucifixion. My Sunday School kids also get GungGung stories about snakes, figs, and faith on a regular basis. Jesus Saves indeed.

2 Come.

source: left:; right:

Frog buttons from where? and when?: These wired frogs (frog buttons is redundant, but makes for greater clarity) are so much prettier than western buttons (although my knitting friend Dee gets some pretty nifty ones, like the Legos she put on a pair of mittens recently). The fasteners are frogs, regardless of the shape of them. These particular ones are frogs shaped like butterflies.
Interesting bit about these frogs. First notice they're from Toronto. I asked mom when her parents would have been in Toronto. She said they were back and forth across the border all the time. Sure, but that was when they lived in Detroit. My grandparents moved from Detroit to the San Francisco area before I was born. Then take a look at that phone number! There's an exchange on that phone number. So these frogs are at least 50 years old.

Mom says her parents were big on finding "good deals". Then they'd tuck them away and find a use for them later. Well, even years after they went home to Jesus, their treasures made for a delightful evening of discovery and storytelling for my family.

1 comment:

  1. What a fun little expedition into your parents' house! I love that all these neat things had wonderful stories attached to them.