Yes, They Could Say “I told you so.”

My dad, Jimmy Townsend, was a collector of quips.  I was looking through some of them the other day when I ran across this one:  “If pessimists aren’t happy today, they never will be.”

My parents grew up during the Depression of the 1930’s and the memories of that time influenced the way they lived all their lives.  Mother spread her savings among several banks, not just to make sure not to exceed the amount covered by FDIC insurance at any one bank, but because she felt that not all of them would fail at the same time.  Of course, my sister and I smiled tolerantly at this “peculiar” behavior.  Growing up when we did the idea of a bank failing seemed to us about as possible as dinosaurs reappearing on earth.  Mother was aware that we laughed at her, albeit with love.  But she stubbornly kept to her ways.  And she insisted that the time would come when “you”ll see.”

Mother passed away five years ago.  As I have watched bank after bank after bank in Georgia, my home state, fail over the last couple of years,  I am deeply sad that she isn’t here to say, “I told you so.”

All her life  mother extolled the virtues of “making do” and being satisfied with what you had.  She didn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to improve your lot in life, but she believed that you should live within your means and not be unhappy about what you couldn’t have at the moment.  She finally got a credit card in her later years but I am suprised she used it enough to prevent its being cancelled for nonuse.  To her, debt was for two things only:  a house and a car, both to be paid off as quickly as possible.  Mother and daddy built a house while I was in high school.  They took out a ten year mortgage.  Imagine anyone asking for a ten year mortgage these days.  Mother believed my generation, the baby boomers, were living dangerously, with the belief that good times would last forever.

I hate to say it, but I think Mother would actually be happy right now.  Her savings weren’t in the stock market.  They were spread around too many banks for her to lose all her money so she would still be comfortable living in her mortgage-free home.  And her lifelong predicition that “hard times are coming” has come true.  I am sure that she would at last feel vindicated.

  1. David Cohen says:

    Kay,

    My parents were born in 1925 and 1933 respectively, so they both had a taste of the Great Depression. It’s unfortunate that we are now reaping the harvest of past excess especially at a time when there is so much exciting innovation happening. I think it can be disorienting especially for people who are hanging on too hard to the idea that things will get back to the way they were. Things will get better, but whatever the new normal is, it will be different than the old one.

    David

  2. admin says:

    The speed with which the world around us is changing creates unprecedented stress for us all. But I am as stubborn as my mother. Just as she believed “hard times are coming”, I believe just as strongly “good times are coming.” Like you, I don’t know what they will look like, but life will be good.

  3. Leslie says:

    Terrific post Kay…you brought back some memories for me, especially that opening line. Sounds like my Mother. Glad to have you blogging again.

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