COLUMN: Food, clothing and shelter

Most Canadian kids expect their parents to provide the basics such as food, clothes, a nice, warm bed and an opportunity to attend school.

Most Canadian kids expect their parents to provide the basics of living in a developed country such as food, clothes, a nice, warm bed and an opportunity to attend school.

I remember the day when I was nudged a little bit closer to adulthood when I asked my mother for a pair of jeans.

All of my friends had Lee brand jeans and I desperately wanted a pair, too.

Mom looked me in the eye and told me there was no money for Lee jeans. (or any jeans for that matter) She sat me down and said with four kids in the house, I was old enough to start buying my own clothes.

Reality check. In my neighbourhood in the 70s, no money meant simply no money.

My parents didn’t have a credit card and I didn’t even have a bank account.

I went out and got my first job, age 15. Before long, I had saved enough to buy my Lees.

How I loved those jeans! I wore them long, then as cut-offs and was finally told by Mom they were no longer decent.

I think about what made them so special.

Was it the fact that I saved my paycheques earned 75 cents per hour peeling potatoes 25 lbs. at a time? (Yes, 75 cents per hour.)

Was it the pleasure of anticipating how those jeans would feel and look?

Was it the fun I had going to the store multiple times to try them on? Or was it just the idea that I’d been given a challenge and had learned to appreciate the fact that everything has a cost and someone (me!) has to pay for the things we need and want.

We live in an age of great expectation. Literally.

Over the years, I’ve seen trends come and go but what I see blossom like a roadside weed can only be described as a distinct desire for more!

In our plentiful corner of the world, I sometimes wonder when something (or everything) is finally, enough.

When I began observing these trends I did what librarians do best research.

The results are most interesting. As we move further into the technological age, virtual and real worlds interact, clash and mingle and the question “how much is enough?” prevails in both.

An interesting read, “The entitlement cure” by John Townsend gives a comprehensive outline of this aspect of our current society.

A funny look at the practical side of entitlement can be found in “Cleaning House” by Kay Wills Wyma and in “The Power of More” Marnie McBean talks about achieving big goals by earning them bit by bit.

As my Dad would say, “If you have a pair of shoes, a full belly and a good bed everything else is gravy.” (How we’ve come to love our gravy!)

Sue Kline is the Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library and still loves Lee brand jeans.