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A Piece of My Mind
May 5, 1999


Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;281(17):1571. doi:10.1001/jama.281.17.1571

Perhaps the fact that the Great Depression hit just as she and my father were starting out to raise their family had something to do with it. But no matter. Already as a small child I was aware that in the handling of money, my mother was more than simply thrifty; she was downright frugal. Extravagances and luxuries did not exist. She never bought anything, for example, unless she was certain she would use it. And not only use it, but use it to the best purpose and for the longest possible time. The one exception was a new, frilly, never-worn nightgown that she kept in the bottom drawer of her bureau. But even that had its purpose: "In case I should ever have to go into the hospital," she said. And so the nightgown lay there for years, carefully protected in its tissue wrappings.