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on the downward side of the age mountain.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Radical Housewives or Life from Hell?

Living on The Edge means that we either start trends or are the last to embrace them. You can still see Volkswagen Bugs and Wagons with original owners and there are many 60 yr. olds with long grey ponytails and Berkinstocks. So I guess it isn’t such a stretch for our Daily Edge Paper’s food section to run a front page article on-“Radical Homemaking”.

Before I even started to read the article, my eyes landed on the center picture of a young barefoot mother replete w/ apron, big mixing bowl, and her son trying to stuff a wooden spoon full of ? into his cute mouth. He was also barefoot. The “distressed” kitchen cabinets were without doors and the shelves were filled w/ mis-matched dishes and bags of bulk food.

A smaller picture above was of a hearty woman carrying just split wood to her stove and below was another apron garbed brick of a gal with chickens in her yard. All three were joyously happy shunning money. They were young, educated, and white…

In the old days (o.k. I’m showing my age), these gals would have been hippies and a newspaper written for the general public would never have spent the time of day describing their lifestyle. But this is The Edge and we are talking about “Radical Homemakers” of today.

Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers:Reclaiming domesticity from a Consumer Culture coined the term. These nuevo hippies are sprouting up all over the country (or so she says) and the book validates their exciting new lifestyle.“Most radical homemakers around the country live at about 200% of the federal poverty level. One or two people can do it on $20,000/year. For every additional person you need another $10,000."

Why would anyone want to dumb down to that level? Money means choices and quality of life. I don’t mean acquiring the latest and the greatest each year. I do mean having clean clothes, a healthy meal and regular doctor visits instead of the emergency ward. Maybe even braces or hip replacement. Gee, you could save for college!

“Before when I had only a couple of vegetable left in the bin and money in the pocket, I used to say, ‘I’ll go to the store.’ Now I say, “I’ll use the cabbage’.”
I’m not seeing poor ethnically challenged women in dirty apartments joyfully pedaling their 3 year old to school on the back of their bike. (Cars? Heck no! Let’s donate it to NPR!!) Or rolling up their sleeves to wrestle 50# of flour into wholesome loaves of bread or killing chickens on the ghetto street or soaking beans.

Taking knowledge to the extreme it is becoming popular w/ the Radical Homemakers to home school. Home schooling? I can’t imagine anything worse than having kidlits underfoot 24/7. I guess that’s why, “…homemaking isn’t about keeping a pretty house.” Yes I wanted my child to have the same view of the world as I did but my job was to filter the world she explored and help her understand what she was entering into, not protect her from the boogie man. The Princess has become a liberal after my own heart. She went to public school, University. Today she is earning a living and paying back her student loans. A fete that isn’t accomplished on a marginal income.

I am from the, “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out”, Timothy Leary generation. We were the first to wear long hair, live in groups, become vegetarians and dream of trekking to Ithaca, NY to eat at Moosewood. Short of that we owned their book and dreamed.

In time we cleaned up, and assimilated ourselves into society. We discovered that once the parental dole was cut off, it was time to cut our hair and earn a living.Our experimentation and different lifestyles have changed society.Our music lives on and food has gone from haute to food carts. Creased blue jeans and shirts have replaced suits and ties in trendy restaurants. We grew hair, this generation sprouts tattoos.

We would not have Apple if Bill Gates stayed on the farm and throttled chickens. Alice Waters wouldn’t be able to fly all over the US expounding a healthy way to eat if she didn’t have a lucrative restaurant behind her.

Let’s face it money ain’t all that bad. In fact when there is healthy ebb and flow it makes the world go round. It’s what you do with it that counts and can make a positive impact.


Sheila said...

Your latest blog says it all! What did we do though? Even Betty Crocker is dumbing down her cookbooks. Where will the "art of dumbing down" lead us?

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