The stepfather who raised me spent most of his working life in the Far East as an expatriate businessman before World War II. Early 20th century Standard Oil men agreed to spend their first three-year tours as bachelors. Only then could they expose a wife to the rigors of life in sometimes-primitive outposts. So finding a wife could be difficult for these men.
Dad used to tell the story of a Shanghai colleague, engaged to be married, who ordered engraved wedding invitations from Tiffany’s in New York. By the time the invitations arrived by steamship several months later, the engagement was off. Father’s friend had found a new love.
Rather than waste the expensive invitations, The newly betrothed couple put them to good use by crossing out the first bride’s name and hand-lettering the name of the second in black ink.
It was probably during the Depression when people
said, “Use it up, wear it out. Make it do or do without.”