Built to Trash
Is ‘heirloom design’ the cure for consumption?
As the middle-class daughter of a refugee mother and a Depression-era father, I grew up straddling two worlds. My parents could afford much more than they were willing to buy. Most things that broke could be and were repaired. My German grandmother’s aphorisms lingered in the air: “Waste not, want not,” “A penny saved is a penny earned,” “A stitch in time saves nine.”
By the time my own children were born, America was flooded with cheap and cheaply made goods. So while my parents continued working at the sturdy antique desks they inherited from my grandparents and sleeping beneath a hand-crocheted bedspread, my children and their friends became the first and last owners of a seemingly endless supply of plastic toys and particle-board furniture.
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