Our parents are probably the best at penny pinching of anyone I ever met. I've seriously known my dad to cut open a tube of toothpaste in order to spoon out the last little bit. His motto is "Waste Not, Want Not." I must have heard him say that a google of times growing up. Along with this penny pinching mania, they also don't seem to care what-so-ever how they look to others. Doesn't matter how dorky others might find them, if they like what ever it is that they are doing / wearing, it's all good. My dad is famous for wearing bib overalls that are just a bit too short. I have even known him to fasten them with diaper pins when the buckle falls off. When his socks get holes in them, does he dream of throwing them out? Heck no! He'll sit there and spend an evening darning his socks with green thread, even though he has a drawer full of unopened packages of socks. "Waste not, want not!" That's my dad. We could all do with a bit more of this attitude, could we not? Anyway, you get the point.
All of this penny pinching, and non-caring for what the rest of the world thinks lead my parents to drive the worlds most ugly, beat up Maverick ever. The thing ran like a champ (except for it's habit of dieing at red lights.) This was the family car from before I was born, until after I was in junior high. I don't ever remember it not looking like a total piece of junk. Once I got to be about 9 or 10 years old, and I realized that we had the ugliest, most beat up car of anyone I knew, I became more and more mortified to ride around in the thing. My mother reupholstered the seats several times. I remember riding around with no seats when she was in the process. The ceiling was made of some kind of cloth that was ripped in about a million places, and sewn back up with green and orange thread. I used to hide my face behind the pieces that were hanging down, so as not to be recognized in that hideous car. Once I was angry with my parents, and I kicked the car in a rust spot. My foot went all the way through to the trunk. I thought I'd be in big trouble, but no one ever even noticed.
One time when I was about 10 years old, my mom took me shopping at the mall. It was super hot outside that day. While we were in the mall, the heat melted the connections inside the steering wheel or something, and the horn wires got stuck together. I remember the sheer humiliation I felt as we drove the 20 minutes home with the horn blaring non-stop all the way home. As if riding in the car without the added attention being drawn to us wasn't embarrassing enough.
This reminds me of all the trips we used to make to Utah, to visit family, when I was a kid. I remember an uncle saying "So, you've come in the faith-mobile again?" They always seemed surprised that anyone would dare a 3 day drive in that car. I loathed that drive, long before I became embarrassed of our car. This was long before the days of TV in a car. John and I had to find ways to amuse ourselves for three days of driving through endless miles of corn fields.
Mom would take us shopping a couple of days before the trip to buy toys for the "cooperation game." She would keep the toys in a bag. If we were well behaved for a given amount of time, we would earn a cooperation coin. Once we earned enough, we could buy the toys from her. I remember one trip when I had picked out a wonderful kiddie make-up kit to earn. That was the one thing I coveted more than anything else. John must have realized how much I wanted the thing, because he kept whispering in my ear that he was going to buy it first. He'd tell me all about the plans he had for the different kinds of make-up. He was going to use my finger nail polish to paint a boat or something. This, of course upset me terribly, so I think I threw a fit, which caused me to lose the coins. John, undetected would keep on earning them. A fact that he flaunted to me. "I'm ahead, so I'll be able to buy it first." O the torture.
Then there was the time we were driving next to a church bus. We'd been keeping pace with them for some time. John and I, out of boredom took to making fun of the kids on the bus. We'd thump pretend bibles, and preach sermons at them. We must have been really annoying, because when we finally pulled level with the driver (the only adult on the church bus), to our great astonishment, he flipped us the bird.