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My Grandmother Lived Through The Great Depression and Here’s What She Taught Me

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She was a Lucille ball type with a fiery passion for life and a Scarlett O’Hara attitude of “let’s just not think about that right now.” 

At least that’s what everyone else saw.

To me, she was always ready for anything. Planning three steps ahead of any major disaster, and not to be messed with. 

You see, she grew up during the Great Depression. My childhood was filled with stories of families that had nothing, kind strangers helping each other, and how they all managed to get by despite it all. 

And the only thing she wanted me to know was to be prepared. “You never know what’s going to come next. But if you’re ready for it, it’s no big deal.” She used to say to me. 

And if I’ve learned anything in these past few days it’s that she’s right.

Just because we all panic bought toilet paper and bottled water and are now sitting on a years supply, doesn’t mean we are really, truly prepared for what’s about to happen. 

Oh, and just so we are clear, I have no idea what’s about to happen. But here’s how I’m preparing to expect the unexpected. 

Right now, we are all still thinking in the now. Making sure we have things like TP and Freud’s fruit. Sure, that’s a great idea, but according to my grandmother, it’s hardly enough. 

We need to be thinking about what can happen while we are in lockdown. Beyond just enough food and water to get us through. We need to be ready for life’s little inconveniences that can end up rocking your world in a situation like this. 

How do we prepare? 

First start with a cash stash. I am not saying to make a run on the banks. I’m saying to get a few hundred dollars in small bills and stick it somewhere in your house. If banks and WiFi have to go down for whatever reason, all that plastic in your wallet doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans. 

So make sure you have a few dollars on you and a few more hidden in your house. 

Medicine. Sure, we are all prepared for what’s going on right now, but don’t forget about things like heartburn or an upset stomach. You can’t just pop into your local CVS anymore without risking exposure anymore, so your best bet is to have an entire case full of stuff on hand. 

And while you’re at it? Make sure you have sick food stuff like Gatorade or ginger ale. And don’t drink all of it for fun, either. Keep this just like you would your special occasion wine.

Pet food. You want at least a month’s supply of pet food in your house at all times if not two. 

Think that sounds crazy? Who cares. Pet food lasts forever and there’s no reason for you not to store a few bags your garage. 

Stock up when you see it. Hand sanitizer, paper towels, etc. are going to be in high commodity for a while. If you happen to see it in stock on Amazon or through your grocery delivery, grab it. 

Yeah, we all panic bought a lot of toilet paper, but in the grand scheme of things who cares if you have an extra roll or two. 

When you’re grocery shopping always keep your non-perishables like rice and flour stocked with an extra container waiting in the wings. When you open up your second container, buy another. 

Right now, it’s taking stuff extra long to get to you, and extra long to be delivered, so you’re going to want to allow yourself plenty of time, if you run out of laundry detergent or dish soap, you can’t just pop out and get more. 

The key here, and the biggest lesson my grandmother taught me from her depression era is to be prepared. And when you think you’re prepared, there’s no reason not to prep a little more. You aren’t hurting anybody by storing an extra canister of flour in your reserves. 

So, stock up when you can. Oh, and when your neighbors have none, be kind, if you’re woefully prepared, you won’t be sacrificing anything to make sure they’re taken care of too. 

Keep your extra provisions sealed tight in cool, dry places, and make sure to check on them now and again. The last thing you want is to think you are covered when it comes to beans and rice, only to discover a critter has gotten into your stash. 

It only takes a few seconds to check, and it can save you a lot of heartache later. 

Good luck out there.