While I did not experience the United States’ Great Depression of the 1930’s, I am the child of grandparents and parents who did. The depression changed and marked them. Those times came directly down to me in story and indirectly by the example of how they lived.
The old New England mantra, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”, underlaid daily life . A corollary of “make it do” is “It’ll come in handy some day…”
A further corollary is you don’t buy new when you can buy used, and you don’t buy used when you can fix what you have. Fixing things can be worth doing for its own sake — for the exercise of solving a problem. Or for the sake of one’s honor. Or even for the art of it.
The Japanese famously repair broken ceramic items in ways that make the repaired object even more special than it would be had it remained unbroken. That work is called “kintsugi”. Since I’m too lazy to come up with my own words, here’s what wiki has to say about kintsugi.
“As a philosophy, kintsugi can be seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage. Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophyof “no mind” (無心 mushin), which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life.”
Here at Wishetwurra Farm, I have extended the concept to domestic repairs.
I have a nice two-wheeled wheelbarrow. I actually bought it brand new, in a box, and put it together myself. Most wheelbarrows have single wheels, but this two-wheeler is a nice stable configuration, and is particularly well-suited for some kinds of chores. Someone had borrowed it and dropped it from the back of their pickup truck. The front of the barrow’s pan broke off almost completely, and was hanging on by inches. I did not want to throw away an almost-perfectly-good-tool. My honor was at stake. So was my wallet.
I now have a “kintsugi” wheelbarrow.
Postscript: When I went to pick up my wife at the ferry the other day, I noticed a Ford in the parking lot .
It had a front bumper repair that made my heart glad.