Remembering Grandma’s version of “Social Work”

My father’s mother, Grandma Frances, was a fairly humorless disciplinarian who didn’t put up with a lot of grandkid shenanigans.  Born in Ohio in early 1914 and orphaned by the time she was a freshman in high school, my Grandmother was a young college student during the depression when she married my law-student Grandfather and moved to the suburbs of Torrance, in Southern California.  Her life changed for the better, but she never forgot her humble beginnings; in fact, my grandmother was loath to waste ANYTHING and she always looked for a bargain (she was infamous for re-using wrapping paper and re-gifting times long before those practices were acceptable).  This bargain-hunting tendency led her to volunteer at one of her local thrift stores, where they conducted monthly “Rummage Sales”.  These sales allowed the public (and some of the less-fortunate community members) to “rummage” through second-hand items and purchase them at a steep discount.  As chunky toddler, I got to accompany grandma to one of these events, and I wound up getting attached to the large stuffed frog that’s featured in the attached newspaper article (side note: who’s the lucky reporter that got to cover a rummage sale?). Grandma bought me the frog (which I literally had until I went away to college), and was always quick to remind me that the money she spent on my “charity frog” went to help underprivileged kids.  A good reminder to donate your time, money or resources to folks who need it this holiday season 🙂

John Young

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