Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC


1974 10 17

Being poor is “in” now or at least the semblance of this condition, Not too long ago big cars, colour T.V., and expensive clothes were status symbols. The all Canadian dream was to have a nice house in the suburbs and the ultimate was a swimming pool in the backyard. The Jones, whom everyone envied, also had a two-car garage, and a patio. Their house gleamed with chrome, glass and arborite furnishings. Their cars were either Cadillacs or Lincolns or sometimes one of each.

Now rich people drive economy cars, or better yet ride bicycles. They often have a pickup truck and camper for vacations but if they own a big gas-eating car they hide it in the garage. They still live in town but the place they brag about is their country home. This is often made of logs and is unwired and unplumbed. A big stone fireplace and a wood burning cook-stove provide heat in this rustic environment. An outhouse with its quarter-moon silhouette cut in the door proudly beckons outside. Its only concession to modern times is the toilet paper in its holder, instead of the traditional catalogue.

Worn out clothing and “depressed” furniture are also desirable nowadays. All the well dressed female needs for a complete wardrobe are a coat or jacket, and a pair of shoes. The rest consists of fourteen pairs of blue jeans, purchased in as many years and diligently patched and sewn. A few shirts picked up at Salvation Army rummage sales add to the poverty stricken look.

“Depressed ” furniture is old, beat up, ready-for-the-dump  looking, chairs and tables. If you have an unmarred, new looking table that you are tired of you can change the finish to the modern look with only a little effort and patience. With different sized chisels, you can simulate ancient gouges. You should rub dark-coloured dyes in these marks to make them look as if they have been there for years. Another handy tool is a beer bottle cap. This makes circular scratches.

You need to “age” them as new looking scratches are definitely not “in”. If you are lucky, as I am, you have genuinely depressed furniture. Every dent and scratch on my coffee table has a history There is a glass ring and three antique-looking cigarette burns. This table may someday be a family heirloom. Three children have been raised around it (and under it and on top of it.) I wouldn’t part with it for love nor money. (How much money?)

A lot of people who don’t have to are canning fruits and vegetables like granny used to do. Poor people cannot do this though as the jars cost too much. They have to settle for buying canned goods in the store or else using their home freezers, to preserve produce.

Well I was planning on buying a nice dress to wear at Christmas time but I am wondering what the neighbours will think. Maybe if I rip it a little and then sew it in such a way that it is noticeable I can get away with it. With a little luck, they may think that I picked it up at a thrift shop or else found it at the village dump.

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