My Nana immigrated from Warsaw to New York with her mother and younger sister in 1905. Her father, a Polish military officer, followed later. As they were quite poor, especially during the Great Depression, my Nana learned how to live well in simplicity. My Nana died in 1988, but she had passed this wisdom on to her son, and both my father and my Nana taught us children how to live well with little.
All my life I’ve heard people complaining about the economy. The real problem with our economy, however, is not too little money but too much. We live poorly because we have too much disposable income. Let’s take cellphones as an example.
My Nana and my Dad taught us children to use things until they are truly used up. I’ve had my phone for six years, but the other day it finally bit the dust when its screen shattered. I went down to Verizon where a nice young man helped me. He showed me about a dozen phones that ran between $800 to $1000. He politely explained all their features, which impressed me. “Do you have anything a bit less expensive?” I asked. We do, he said. He brought out two phones from the back room, second-tier models which looked just like the others but at a third the price. I got one for $250, and it’s ten times better than my last phone.
I was showing this sleek new device to a friend, who mentioned how expensive phones have become. You have to buy a new one every year, and they are over $900 these days!” I could see Nana waving a finger at my friend. Who says you need a new phone every year? And why do you have to buy the top of the line? Nana had an old car with no bells and whistles. “It gets me to the supermarket and the church. It has four wheels and a honker horn. That’s all I know about my car,” she would say.
Every day I light a candle in front of my Nana’s picture and say a prayer for her, and she says a prayer for me. Thanks, Nana, for helping me save all that money on my phone, and for living more simply than they say is healthy for me!