Our 1950’s ranch house in Elmhurst, Il was suited to recycling but Mom, Dad, two brothers and I weren’t familiar with the term. We were familiar with leftovers.
Our attic ran the length of the house, which meant nothing ever need be tossed. We sent old stuff up there to live. Once, Dad tried to sneak out a toy gas station and a toy log-cabin. His sons were of an age to cruise in cars looking cool in case girls saw them. Dad did not get away with it.
We had a basement that ran the length of the house, which meant we had a place for dead appliances, books we hadn’t read but should read, and quirky stuff people bought in the 1960s that they liked but dare not display, like troll dolls, tiny tiki gods and hula skirts that we wore, but shouldn’t have.
Mom smoothed wrinkles out of used aluminum foil. She smoothed wrinkles out of used wrapping paper. What she couldn’t smooth she collected. We had a rope of safety pins that might traverse the nation. We had buttons enough to close the worldwide achievement gap.
Our meals elevated left-over-ing to an art form. Bologna isn’t that great in its quasi-natural form; however, fried and placed like foie gras upon toast, well then. Pot roast has every right to assume its lifespan ends when served with carrots; however when it remarries some onion and bacon, it is reborn. Its name is “hash.” Well then.