We no longer travel a lot by train, as we once did. But it always takes me back to our early car-less years here in Italy. When my husband rode an old moped 12 miles (20 km) to work, rain, snow, or sunshine. Italy’s public transport enables car-free living in some areas. But no buses passed our cluster of houses near that Varese province village.
So our sole outings were our 3-mile (4,8 km) treks to town. With funds as scarce as passing buses, even ice cream or cappuccino were but rare treats. But towing our wheeled shopping bag, we enjoyed the special times of long talks and singing.
Never seldom feeling deprived.
Read | For When You Feel Marooned.
And indeed we felt really spoiled after getting our first TV (in 1989)!
Which introduced new, low-cost family fun times! We were pretty strict over what we watched (and still are). But still found plenty of good shows like Furia, il Cavallo del West (Fury, Brave Stallion), La Ruota della Fortuna (The Wheel of Fortune), and wholesome old Disney movies. (You can watch the Fury theme song in Italian, at the end of this post!)
Our children loved those weekly Disney films so much, that they purposely went out to buy the Italian TV guide and a VHS cassette. So they could watch the films, over and over, while munching hand-cranked popcorn from our stove top popper (above).
That house super, super small house was a real challenge. (Hello,Tiny House Movement!) With a mean landlady, mostly unpleasant neighbors, and far from everything (at least with no car).
Even drying laundry on the small folding rack was a real challenge. Especially in that tiniest and dampest of all our homes, (tent and camping caravan excluded)! And yes, these challenges complicated life. But it was, at the same time, also more simple and pleasant.
Because of not having much, we appreciated the little we did have, all the more.
Progress has brought the west so many things, and we race to get it all. Bigger homes, nicer furniture, bigger and flatter TVs, thinner phones, and new cars. Often working overtime to afford it all, with little time to truly enjoy it.
At times we barely had enough. But we were wealthy in life’s true riches!
A loving family, a great marriage, and countless good friends. Health, happiness, joy, communion with the Lord. AND time to appreciate it all! No car — but more time to enjoy the flowers along the way! No clothes-dryer — but more fresh air hanging laundry out! No phone of any kind — but no phone bills either! A super tiny house — but easier to clean!
It’s true that we had few things. But we did have the much of little, and that made us so very rich!