Sunday, December 9, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not


Waste not, want not
She said
as she shook the crumbs
from the bottom of a bread bag
for the birds
or her next casserole
placing the bag in a drawer for re-use
as she brought someone a freshly baked treat

Waste not, want not
She said
as she saved the yarn ends
to hang in trees
so the birds can have some color
in their nests too

Waste not, want not…
and rags were cut into strips
sewn together
and braided for mats (see picture above)
fabric scraps became comforters and quilts
for the needy
…or here and there perhaps a stuffed toy
Pie dough left-overs were scraped
from the counter-top and
put in a dish in the fridge
for next time
and seeds were collected from her garden
for next year
and empty spools were saved
for crafts and creations (see pictures above)
and she would tell me of their wedding
during the depression years
and how they had to choose
between either turnips or potatoes
for their meal
and how her aunt took a cherished vase
out of her china cupboard
and gave it to her
as a wedding gift
because there was no money
and then she would often repeat
‘He who does not value a penny
does not deserve a dollar’
She never heard
Reduce, reuse, and recycle
But she reminded me constantly
That no generation is immune
To hard times or want
As the root cellar was filled with
Preserves from her garden

I am glad to have known
This part of her
As I attempt to pass some of Grandma on
To the next generation
In waste not, want not

© Janet Martin

I am privileged to be living  in the house that belonged to one of the most beautiful people I ever knew; my Grandma.

I hope to complete the memoir project this winter. They are very patient Gardeners:)


  1. Oh yes indeed, she left a legacy.
    'Willful waste makes woeful want oh may I never say, oh how I wish I had the bread, that once I threw away.'

  2. What a wonderful table setting and family to go with it!
    She must have been a remarkable woman.


Thank-you for stopping by my porch! I hope you were blessed!