The Just-About-Managing

From the earliest verbal stories to the most sophisticated prize winning novels, humans are obsessed with stories about people who have made money or lost money. Cinderella married money. Oh how we love a Cinderella story! Oscar Wilde’s Happy Prince redeemed himself through losing everything. The noble sacrifice. But what about the JAMs?

Personally, I think that a hero can also be someone who swims upstream. Today, we look at the people in Ukraine, denied heating and light, their homes destroyed under missile strikes, and we admire their fierce spirit. They have lost their European cafes, their magnificent theatres, but they are determined to win their freedom and keep their culture. Their stories are heartbreaking and inspirational. I applaud them all. But I also recognise that for millions, their endeavours will never hit the headlines, because they are just about managing to keep everything going.

Daisy Suckley was born into privilege and money. By 1930, all the money had gone on a mixture of mismanagement and the 1929 Stock Market Crash. Some have portrayed her as rather fey or weak, yet nothing could have been further from truth. Denied a college education, or a marriage, by circumstances beyond her control, she girded her loins and determined to keep her beloved home, Wilderstein, afloat. Today, the house is a museum, refurbished and magnificent, but in 1930, it was a money pit and without a salary, the family would have sold it for proverbial peanuts in the Depression. But Daisy didn’t complain. Instead, she went out to work and paid what bills she could. How she found that work, and the friendships she made as a result, are part of the story of Daisy Chain.

So I believe those who struggle, and cope without a fanfare – they are the quiet heroes. The ones who work without accolades, who scrimp and save and just about manage to pay their bills; those who light candles because electricity is scarce; and those who keep going rain or shine – they also deserve a pat on the back. So if you are a JAM – well done. Take a bow. Because life is hard when no one recognises your diligence. And you deserve a mention – just like Daisy.

Wilderstein, 19th-century Queen-Anne-style house on the Hudson River, Rhinebeck, NY, USA

5 responses to “The Just-About-Managing”

  1. As a JAM myself, as well as someone who considers an abacus the pinnacle of my technological understanding, sign me up.


  2. Looking forward to seeing you soon. X


  3. Love this! Full of truth


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