These days it's not unusual for me to come home mentally exhausted from the talk, the news and the statistics of the recession that I'm exposed to everyday. I work in the news business and I'm one of the many people responsible for making sure that we're covering all the angles of this incredibly important issue. As a result, I'm the recipient of more recession information than the average consumer would ever want to hear. Once I've walked through the door of our small, Brooklyn apartment, however, all the constant "recession obsession" makes me feel...grateful.
Despite the recession, my family has a roof over our heads, my husband and I currently have jobs, and we've socked away a little money in the event that things take a turn for the worse. We generally don't live beyond our means, and we never have.
My four-and-a-half year-old daughter recently saw "Kit Kettredge: An American Mystery"--which centers around a young girl living during the Great Depression. Her father loses his job, and her parents turn their home into a boarding house. As we watched the film together, she had lots of questions, including, "Why are all those people coming to live at Kit's House? Why did the daddy lose his job? Why doesn't Kit want to plant her own garden? Why is her dress made of a potato sack? Why doesn't Kit want to sell chicken eggs?" I did my best to answer them one by one and I think, I hope, that I helped my daughter to understand about the Great Depression, as well as telling her a bit about our current recession, without giving her so much information that she'd keep herself up at night with worry.
My husband grew up in a family with six children, and a mother who doesn't to this day, like leftovers. Her kids attribute the lack of leftovers fixation to the Great Depression and the need to not waste food, as well as having thrifty Scottish grandparents. As a result, the kids were used to being aggressive in making sure they got their fair share of food during meal times. They knew better that to come late to the dinner table-that's for sure. My husband admits there were times when he'd sneak out after dinner with his younger brother to go get more dinner at a local fast-food joint. In our house today, we both try and find a balance, and luckily both of us enjoy a good meal of leftovers when we have them.Continued on the next page