Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why Do I Stockpile? Why Do You?

My dream pantry from

I recently read an interesting article about Dr. Ruth Westheimer in the AARP magazine. The 87 year old sex therapist talked about her extensive, life-long doll collection. She told the interviewer that the dolls were strictly for her and not the granddaughters as many thought. Her statement that “the dolls are something I can control” resonated with me.

Dr. Ruth remarked that her obsession with the dolls and doll houses stemmed from her childhood. At age 9 she was shipped, along with 100 other Jewish children to Switzerland via the Kindertransport when her father was taken by the Nazis. She notes that she was only allowed to take one of her numerous dolls with her in her flight to safety. During the trip she gave that last precious doll to one of the younger children to help fight the terror of the trip.

Reading about her plight and her absolute clarity in pinpointing the exact moment where her “need” for the dolls and the control they gave her began, got me to thinking about my own motivations. Most of us probably have a similar need of some sort in our lives. It may stem from an actual incident or deprivation, or it could just be something we perceived as missing or lacking in our lives.

I think my obsession to have a full-to-overflowing pantry is one of these types of “needs”. Don't get me wrong, we have always been very fortunate in that we have never really gone without our true “needs/necessities” in life – food, shelter, love. Of course we had “wants” that were never fulfilled, but true needs were always covered. 

BUT, I did grow up listening to my grandparents and uncles talking about the depression, the dust bowl, the war years and the challenges of feeding a growing family of 8+ with no income when Grampa was almost killed in a mining accident. 

They were first and second generation immigrants from France and England. They were very thankful for everything they had because they came over here with nothing and worked hard for what they did eventually have. They were proud to be new and legal Americans, though they had some very lean times when they weren't sure where the next meal was coming from.

I think these sparse times are one of the reasons my mom became an avid couponer and deal shopper decades ago before it was popular. She always tried to keep a full pantry, although she was never a canner like Gramma. When I was a kid, Gramma had a cellar that was usually full of jams and jellies, excess eggs, pickled everythings and many root vegetables. She also tried to be ready for any emergency and have contingency plans. 

I am starting to think that my need to stockpile stems from being taught by these wonderful women to be prepared, for anything. They were truly pioneer preppers.

photo by:

**Of course, the other factor for the food "hoarding" may well be my college years when I existed on cases of a really, really cheap noodle product that I unaffectionately call  "it that shall not be in my house ever again". Ugh.

How about you? Do you have something that drives you?

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