Austerity Evolution

Subtitled: Austerity Brings Prosperity, Peace and Yes, Happiness!

Austerity Evolution ~ It naturally evolved for the sisters (my Aunties) much to the great relief of their husbands (my Uncles) to triumph over their over dependence on charging at  "The Company Store" creating a large monthly bill .  Daddy and Mama were quite involved in this evolution.  They didn't charge at "The Company Store", but you must know grocery prices and products there were at least 33% more than what the items cost in the nearest city (50 miles North to the city limit sign and another 5-8 miles to the inner city where the big grocery stores were). More often village "The Company Store" goods/groceries were actually DOUBLE to about 60% higher than grocery stores in that city North where the nearest doctors, dentists and hospital were also located.

Accepting Responsibility ~ A Beginning to Action ~  They all agreed "The Company Store" wasn't a bad thing to exist. It was intended to help workers get started and keep families going.  Especially, in the deep snow mountain winters, having this store was a major necessity. They all 'got it' as to it was them, abundantly buying too much on credit each month that was the 'real problem'.  The first step for each family was to pay up in full their account. Then only purchase at the store for 'fill-in' products as per necessary like milk and bread, keep their charge account in good stead. Use that charge feature only if necessary, and primarily when winter weather conditions dictated it.

Looking At The Past To Make the Present Better ~  This band of sisters and their husbands had made a major pre- World War II immigration from the deep South 2,536+ miles to help build a mill, build a village, build up and in the little town outside the village proper, work in the mill, start a brand new life in the wild mountains of Oregon. Oh and then there was some of their first and second cousins, husbands, wives, families that came along too.  Other folks that made that journey, while not related by blood,  they were related in the commonality of having come from that deep South life experience. These folks were bonded together in experiencing 'snow' for the first time, their first deer hunt, the new babies that were to come, you name it.

They were brave, courageous, hard working, industrious and stubborn for a 'better life' just like their ancestors who had originally immigrated to America generations before them. They had made it through the 'enforced austerity' (event and circumstances beyond their control)  of World War II with the various shortages and rationings and were active, busy, working.

Through it all, they had now reached that certain point, they had built, accomplished, reached goals for the company, bettered themselves, but then got bit lackadaisical in certain financial areas of this 'hard fought for, hard built, present moment newly established prosperity' as in the dependence of continued charging in a big way on their "The Company Store" accounts. They recognized this was in the least impeding and at most taking away from this prosperity. During the period of the Austerity Evolution they looked back to their own best history and childhoods of how they maintained 'self suffiency'.

Auntie E1 and Uncle M. ~ (I had many Aunties who had names that started with E. I designate this Auntie as E1 because I lived closest by to her.)

These two had good portion of property outside the village proper in the little town very close by. Uncle M. helped clear the plot. Auntie E1 put in a garden. Our mountain soil had a lot of pumice and pumice rocks, (were volcanic areas in the region, volcanoes had blown thousands of years before) so the best growing there through some trial and error were carrots, onions, turnips, rutabagas (the turnip cousin), and potatoes. So the garden's growing mainstay was tuber or root vegetables.  It depended upon the yearly weather at the time if above ground items like tomatoes, lettuce or cabbage would thrive or not. They were always attempted. The years those did well were always a delight.

Auntie E1 added extra plot space for Shasta Daisies which she could get to thrive. As with the above ground vegetables, nothing made her eyes sparkle more than the years she got abundant, beautiful and smelly good Carnations.  My entire childhood while living close by, I would do one check in per day in Spring through end of Fall to see if Auntie E1 needed me to help or do chores in her garden. She usually had or found something for me to do.

From Auntie E1, I learned my love for flowers which was passed on to my own daughter. It was from Auntie E1 I learned about and saw wild rabbits for the first time. I learned from her how to shew or shush them from the garden. I learned how to keep a secret and not tell Uncle M. because he would get his gun out. I'll never forget her saying  "The rabbits need to live too!" and if Uncle M. got his gun out and shot the rabbits, "He'll have me cookin' them up". <--- even the best of austerity had some limits.

"Rabbits need to live too" is a precept that is held to in our own flower beds and garden every year.

IN WENT THE GARDENS ~ with the success of Auntie E1's garden, many gardens large, small and everything in between were also put in. It began with the close relatives and expanded throughout the little town outside the village proper. And then, even certain spaces and areas in the village proper near by their own village homes (people requested) and were approved by the mill owners to grow things. The gardens were only a very tiny part of this whole Austerity Evolution. There are many more facets that are yet to be told, and will be shared through this blog. It continues and wraps up in Austerity Evolution II.
Auntie E1 and me as a baby some years prior to the Austerity Evolution

You are always welcome to comment or leave a reply. I am (Plus +) Kaye Francis on Google+ and @grammakaye on twitter.


  1. This is an engaging post about courage, determination, and simple living. I love it, Kaye! You have a lineage of people who made choices, made mistakes, and chose to change their actions. That isn't always easy, but it is always rewarding. Even the rabbits benefited!

    1. Thank you Jacqueline, and one little girl greatly benefited from this natural evolving Austerity Evolution. Had it not been for them and this, I would have missed out on so many simple, very meaningful and priceless in value things that helped form the person I am. Like eating vegetables from the garden, loving the rabbits, flowers, digging in the dirt every year and having that connection with the earth, not to mention the vast opportunites to 'engage' with my relatives in shared chores and the kind of companionship, camaraderie that didn't make any of it seem like 'drudge work'. Thanks for visiting. :)


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