The tin bucket generation

posted by Jason Kottke Dec 03, 2008

After a reader accused WSJ financial columnist Jason Zweig of being "a coddled member of the silver-spoon generation", Zweig set the record straight.

I was raised in an old farmhouse on a dirt road in a village of fewer than 100 people in northern New York State, midway between New York City and Montreal. The nearest stoplight was 12 miles away.

Because we got our water from an old stone well, we did not have a dishwasher or washing machine. My mom did the laundry once a week, in the laundromat 14 miles away, among her many other errands. We - usually she - washed the dishes by hand.

Every August, almost like clockwork, the well ran dry. My brother and I then had to fetch water from the pond, which we boiled for drinking and cooking. (We also had to bathe in the pond, but sparingly; we were teenage boys.)

Zweig says that the most important lesson he learned from his upbringing is that "money is not wealth".