Hand-me-downs: a single income necessity

Here is a poem from More Heart Throbs an antique book of poetry that I have had for a long time.  This collection also has short stories, some fictional, some real-life.

This one is anonymous, and titled:

Family Financiering

"They tell me you work for a dollar a day;

How is it you cloth your six boys on such pay?"


"I know you will think it conceited and queer,

But I do it because I am a good financier.


"There's Pete, John, Jim, Joe, William, and Ned.

A half-dozen boys to be clothed and fed.


"And I buy for them all good plain victuals to eat,

And clothing-I only buy clothing for Pete.


"When Pete's clothes are too small for him to go on,

My wife makes 'em over and gives em to John.


"When for John, who is ten, they have grown out of date,

She just makes 'em over Jim, who is eight.


"When for Jim they become too ragged to fix,

She makes  'em over for Joe, who is six.


"And when little Joseph can't wear them no more,

She just makes 'em over for Bill, who is four.


"And when for young Bill they no longer will do,

She just makes 'em over for Ned, who is two.


"So you see, if I get enough clothing for Pete,

The family is furnished with clothing complete."


"But when Ned gets through with the clothing, and when

He has thrown it aside, what do you with it then?"


"Why, once more we go around the circle complete,

And begin to use it for patches for Pete"


We had 4 girls in six and a half years.

Hand-me-downs are a way of life.

Along with rummage sales, thrift stores, and of course the S and A boutique(that is Salvation Army). I simply am incapable of paying mall prices for clothing (including my own),

I am not ashamed to admit, I get a genuine and thrill finding good, quality, name brand clothes like Ralph Lauren, GAP, Talbot , for a couple bucks.

I can spot quality clothes ten feet away on a thrift store rack.  That is all I buy cuz if it is gonna be passed down three or four times, washed a couple hundred times, its gotta be made well.

I am lucky in that I have sisters who are older, and so have girls who are older than mine own.

My girls are so used to hand-me-downs that don't even think of it as cheap or low class.  Just recently we got another black garbage bag from a friend of a friend, my girls see it and exclaim happily,

"New clothes!"

Well its new to them, and that's all what counts.

Hand-me-downs are a blessing, and a test of good old fashioned resourcefulness.

It is just another example of how to use our cultures excess, for your own "financiering" gain.





One thought on “Hand-me-downs: a single income necessity

  1. Love your post! And I can so relate- I only have two girls but we love hand me downs and the S and A boutique. I am also very fortunate that I have a sister-n-law who’s hobby is shopping; she will hunt a bargan down every weekend. Just last Sunday we were at her place and she handed me 12 brand new dresses for the girls. I don’t think she paid more than $7.00 a piece for them. Have a wonderful week:) How’s your embroidery coming along?


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