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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Frugal Fun, Frugal Fan, Frugal Fur

What I really want to write about is a post on a 60s mink jacket by the blogger une femme d'un certain age, but I guess I have to do my frugal duties first.

Frugal Fun: Last night, we visited Frugal Son at college. We needed to bring him his French grammar book. Luckily, since we are in the biz, we were able to borrow this $150.00 tome. Merci bien! That's frugal right there.

Frugal Fan(s): Then,we were treated to dinner on his board card. In the cafeteria, we met two important people. First, we spoke to the manager of the cafeteria, an energetic and well-dressed fellow, who clearly adores his job (which is a big one, since several thousand people eat every day). Frugal Son had told him about my mention of the high quality of the food on this very blog. He shook my hand and said, "You said it was restaurant quality, not cafeteria quality." He was so happy. I am definitely a fan of this guy.

On our way out, Frugal Son said, "That's lleger!" A reader of this blog! Hi lleger and thanks for the tips.

Frugal Fur: I am a terrible typist and actually typed furgal fur. If I do that again, it's not because I think it's funny.

This morning, I checked out the blog of une femme, a stylish woman, who is a fantastic writer. She wrote about scoring a 60s mink jacket. Hey, I have a jacket that looks just like hers. I bought it a few years ago at Goodwill, where it was hanging with the regular old coats and not with the "Special Prices" stuff. I'm sure it had not been scooped up because it was about 98 degrees outside and so customers probably were not scoping out the coat racks.

I was going to send la femme a comment (and I will do that), but I wanted to mention my furry credentials. As la femme points out, this mink would have been dead long ago anyway, so don't get all righteous over this.

Besides, I have a certain fondness for fur. I strive to be PC in all things, but I have a reason for my fondness. My grandfather Harry came to the United States as a small boy with his mother and siblings. This was around 1910. At Ellis Island, they were met by the dad, Benny, who had saved for their passage.

Does this sound like the sequel to "Fiddler on the Roof"? Well, it is. Benny died in 1913, after the hospital botched up treatment for something relatively minor (or so the story goes). Harry, age 10, and his older brother, age 12, had to go to work to help support the family. They sold candy at factories. Their mother Rose, who was pregnant with her fifth child, opened a small grocery store with the proceeds.

A few years later, Harry and a friend, whose last name was Ferrara (as far as I know, he didn't have a first name), had an entrepeneurial idea. They went to the factories that made fur coats and asked if they could buy the scraps. Thus started their business of making fur collars, cuffs, and muffs from the scraps.

As a little girl in the 60s, when girls had to wear wool coats and dreadful leggings, I always had a grandpa-made fur collar. I had the best coats!

Mr. Ferrara retired, but into his 90s my grandfather continued with the business. The last time I saw him, he was gluing little fur mustaches onto Groucho Marx masks.

So it is no wonder that I bought that mink jacket at Goodwill. I am enough of my grandfather's granddaughter to know that there is good mink and not-so-good mink. You can tell when you touch it. My Goodwill find is not so good. But that's OK.

Anyway, please read the Fur Story on the blog of une femme d'un certain age: http://www.unefemme.net/2009/01/that-touch-of-mink.html

8 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

It sounds as though frugality and the enterpreneurial spririt run in your family; thanks for sharing that story!

I don't know enough about fur to judge quality, but I love the color and style of my jacket and the fur is still in great shape (very little noticeable wear at all). Thanks for your comment over at my blog too!

Logan Leger said...

I've always thought the same thing about him. He really does take it very seriously--and it shows. That cafeteria is really great; I'd wager it's one of the best in the country. It's not like the cafeteria where Frugal Son and I went to high school--this is seriously good food.

It was a pleasure to meet you as well! I wish you continued success.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Deja--Thanks for stopping by and thanks, too, for providing the inspiration. I once saw an amazing mink coatat Habitat--it had a $12,000 appraisal attached. They were selling it for $1200. The label was Ungaro. Wow! Hope you didn't think I was casting aspersions on your great find; from the pic it looks a lot nicer than mine.

@Logan--Nice to meet you too. I want to put a pic of the manager on the blog. He always dresses so well.

Terri said...

I have often touched and admired the fur coats I have found in thrift stores, but I have yet to purchase one--because I don't want some assertive PETA person to ruin my joy in it.

Frugal Scholar said...

Terri--Maybe wearing vintage fur honors the animal??? Just a thought.

Duchesse said...

Frugal, I love fur. My love affair began with two coats from my mother, a hand-me-down (sheared beaver, wears like iron) and a raccoon. I now own one, a sheared mink duffle coat I bought on eBay- great bargain! But I no longer buy furs made from trapped animals. Animal rights people of course abhor any fur (even recycled b/c it still sends a 'fur is good' message). Each person will make her own moral decisions, and I resent anyone imposing theirs on me via violence.

One of my mom's friends owned a mink ranch. I saw how they were raised and killed. It's acceptable to me. Ideally I suppose I'd wear a grizzly bear coat (shot, not trapped) b/c there is an animal who would eat you back.

Logan Leger said...

He really does.

What's sad is that his staff doesn't emulate him. Some of the workers are lackadaisical and obviously don't want to be there, others are immature and aren't working. Few are the ones who are honest workers who serve with a smile.

But I mean, it still is a cafeteria.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--I totally agree with you on the fur. When I was in first grade (1960), my grandfather gave me some fur scraps to take to school. One was a snow leopard scrap (was it endangered even then? I'm sure my grandfather never heard of such a thing)! I recently asked my mother where it was. She said it was stolen that very day.

@Logan--Working in a cafeteria is hard! I've seen lots of cheerful people there. Hope to see you soon and thanks for coming by again.