Once upon a time, a woman named Amy Dacyczyn wrote newsletters examining thrift from every angle. These newsletters became books, then eventually a hefty guide called The Complete Tightwad Gazette. That book became one of my favorite things of all time.
You may have guessed that last bit. Back when I attempted to write “Five Books that Made a Difference to Rebekah Jaunty,” it’s the only book I ever covered (yes yes, I am the pokiest of puppies). Plus I linked to the Savvy Housekeeping interview with Gazette author/founder/illustrator Amy Dacyczyn here. When I realized I had two months (and twenty cents) to plan a wedding, I turned straight to my (beloved, secondhand, hardback) copy of the Complete Tightwad Gazette.
Devoted fans have wondered for all these years— whatever happened to the Dacyczyns? At the height of its fame, the Dacyczyn family were featured in magazines and on TV shows. Critics of the newsletter’s frugal ways argued that the Dacyczyn kids would grow up feeling poor and deprived, then rebel by spending like frivolous, extra-extravagant sailors. What was it like being a child of the Frugal Zealot herself?
The Frugal Shrink (no relation to the Zealot) had the most scathingly brilliant idea: why not ask them?
The interviews are brief and respectful. As a nosy fan-girl, I want to know so much more… what’s the family like? How does everyone get along? Do they get together much, or have the young’uns moved away? What do they do for fun nowadays? May I please become friends with Jamie? When can I come over, and what’s for dinner? I was a young girl when I started reading the Gazette books, so I was (and am) keenly interested in the Dacyczyn kids. Naturally, a psychologist is too polite to pose such invasive questions in a public forum.
I’m crossing my fingers for interviews with the Dacyczyn sons next— perhaps we should all ask very, very nicely. Eh, eh?
Do I hear yawning? Fair enough. But know that I won’t rest until I’ve persuaded you to read Amy Dacyzcyn’s books. Take the easy way and give in. Check your local library.