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Day 169: The Patron Saint of Forgotten Things

So, it's Father's Day tomorrow!

I have purposefully not really said much about my father on the blog yet, because I wanted to save it for today. And you know a little about him already, such as, his and my mother's amazingly cheap wedding. He passed away six years ago, but this isn't going to be a sad post. I just needed to mention that so when everybody is like "OMFG Send me your father's email I want him to be my new life coach!" you will know that is not possible.

And so, with no further ado... The Year of Shopping Detox presents....

My Father Is More Frugal Than Your Father

Portrait of my father as a young, frugal, man

1) My father used Ivory soap to wash both hair and body, thus predicting the frugal "no-poo" movement decades ahead of time.

2) My father did not own a car for years and years and years, preferring to bike, walk, or bus to various locations. When he got a job an hour outside of the city, rather than buy a car, he bought a bulk amount of Greyhound bus tickets to commute. And years and years later, he bought a used van of the style that he'd wanted for years and years. He didn't just buy one to have it, he waited until he found out for sale (I think it was like $4000 or something). That van was a Volkswagen Westfalia and when he drove it, strangers would applaud on the street because it looked so cool. Seriously. People would applaud. If I wasn't in the car with him, I would not believe it either.

My Dad with Westy, his beloved campervan.
He would want me to point out that it had all of the original upholstery on the inside (terrifying yellow plaid pattern).

3) My father, though gainfully employed in a full-time well-paying job, collected bottles and cans and returned them for pocket change. He made more than $1000 per year doing this, and used this as free money to spend at garage sales. *Note: I think I got my shopaholic gene from my father, though he was able to channel it more frugally than I have.

4) My father cruised around on his bike on garbage collection night, looking for treasures. Sometimes these things were fabulous, like a lamp or a TV stand. Sometimes they were odd and kind of mysterious, like a UV bag hanging rack or an apron shaped like a lobster. My comfiest pair of pajamas in high school were a pair of hospital scrubs he found in a dumpster (STILL IN PLASTIC PACKAGING, I WILL HAVE YOU KNOW).

5) When the people across the street took down a rock wall, my father brought over all of the leftover rocks in a makeshift wheelbarrow, and made a rock wall on our front lawn. And put some of the rocks in the backyard in what he called the "Biodiverse Area," which was really just a bunch of plants and weeds that he let run wild. It was like having a backyard jungle.

My Dad in the Biodiverse Area

6) To teach my older sister to drive, my father bought a car for like $100 (literally, $100) which appeared to have been painted with a broom. After she learned how to drive, he sold it and then later on, it was used in a crime and my father was the last known owner! This was all very exciting for 10-year-old me at the time.

7) He bought glasses from the Salvation Army thrift store for like $0.25 or something ridiculous and got his prescription lenses put in at the glasses store. These glasses were PROFOUNDLY UNATTRACTIVE, and yet, he pulled them off. (He used them just for using the computer, though. Not in public).

8) My father was once spotted biking home from a garage sale with a coat rack under his arm, like a medieval knight with a lance. The person who spotted him was the person who dubbed him The Patron Saint of Forgotten Things.

So, for Father's Day, I will think about my father: The Ultimate Frugal Icon. And I will picture him with the coat rack under the arm, because that is hilarious.

Happy Father's Day, everybody!

8 comments:

~Carla~ said...

Your father sounds like he was a wonderful man! Thanks for sharing with us, I really liked this post! :) Hugs!!

Leah Ingram said...

What a great tribute to your dad!

Annabelle said...

Thanks, Carla and Leah! I will admit that during my adolescence, his cheapness was frequently embarrassing. But I grew to find it would endearing.

Sarah Klein said...

This is an amazing post. I remember you telling me about the IV bag stand. And hanging out in the "biodiverse area".

Annabelle said...

Aw, thanks, Sarah!

Sara in Halifax said...

What a lovely post and what amazing memories you have of your Dad. I too recall time spent with my Dad at the landfill and any demolition site (we had a fabulous large backyard patio built with bricks from the old School for the Blind when it was demolished, and our front door came from a house on Coburg Rd. that was torn down!).

Annabelle said...

Thanks, Sara! The rocks I alluded to in my post were actually from a demolished rock wall near SMU. He brought them over rock my rock in his little makeshift wheelbarrow (one of the arms of the wheelbarrow was made from a repurposed hockey stick).

I never went to the landfill! Bet there's loads of treasures there, too.

Ed said...

This is really heartwarming in a way ,
because if you go back to your memories you will see that he was a handy man, a loving father, a great shopper and most of all your dad,
which in every way the fact that you remember all of this is amazing, he left his print on you

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