Resourcefulness vs. Wastefulness – Wise use of that which others would normally overlook or discard (Luke 16:10) – Bill Gothard
Six boys in one room and me, sitting like a princess, in my canopy bed. If that’s not a recipe for jealousy, then I don’t know what is.
My parents would often go to little “retreats” put on by the QF/ATI crowd wherein they’d discuss the practical issues of living QF. How do you fit seven children in a house built for five people max? How do you feed your quiver? How do you clothe your brood? In the beginning, the answer usually involved the patriarch finding a way to make more money or the matriarch finding a way to start a home-based craft business.
For my mom, it was sewing up respectable and “delicately modest” nightgowns for “delicately modest” women. This was before the internet days, so it was all word of mouth and internal referrals. This was before the Jim Sammons seminars, so while we lived frugal by necessity, it hadn’t become the mantra that would keep us all in worn out hand-me-downs and ratty shoes,…yet. So, mother also made our clothes. This income provided the reconstruction of the boys room.
Until this point, the five “older” (non-infant) boys shared two double beds that were shoved into the room. They barely fit, which meant that there was essentially one, room-sized bed. Mom appealed to my father to change it because, as it was, she and the boys couldn’t ‘use’ the bedroom to move around in or store anything (like clothes).
To enhance her chances of getting him to do something about the boys’ room, mom offered to fund the endeavor by dedicating one month of her earnings to it. She made $135 (this was back in the day when $135 would go pretty far). Father prayed about it and sought advice from his council of fathers and agreed.
A few of my father’s friends came by and they got to work. They built triple bunks out of pine. The lowest bunk was just low enough to fit a milk crate under. Then the question arose: how can we afford mattresses for these boys? Someone suggested my mother buy egg crate foam rolls and cut them to size. The only egg crate foam mom could find was smaller in width than a twin bed, so the men cut the bunks to fit the egg crate. The result was, really, a series of stacked stretchers on either wall of the room, with a window in the middle.
Mom did her best to make that room look cheery, but it always reminded me of an army barracks. She consulted my father on colors and he chose khaki and green – so that didn’t help. Mom made removable covers for the egg crate and pillow cases to match. The boys didn’t use sheets, just sleeping bags or blankets.
Until the infant (at that point, it was Luke) was old enough to use the bunks, he slept in a very small, portable crib (not a pack-and-play) that they used in hotels. The crib was shoved under the window. The men also bolted milk crates to the end slats of the bed, where the boys were to store their socks and underwear, so that there was room in the closet for the clothes and precious few toys they owned.
This is what quiverful is about. Have as many kids as you can and accomodate them in the sparsest means possible! Because, unless you are independently wealthy, or have a television show, you can’t keep up with the exspense of so many children. Creativity is a bonus, but not entirely necessary.