Tell us about the one luxury item you wish you could afford, in as much detail as you can. Paint a picture for us.
I went online to see where the phrase “Keeping up with the Jones” came from and from what I have found, it is primarily an American saying that developed in the early twentieth century. A cartoonist named Mormond developed the cartoon “Keeping up with the Jones” as a social commentary on his previous experiences living in Cedarhurst New York which was part of the five towns in Long Island, a very affluent area of New York where each family was very aware of their neighbors social standing and spending and adjusting their own behavior accordingly. The surname Jones supposedly was picked because of Edith Wharton’s own family, she was born a Jones and her family was very wealthy in the state of New York and within their circle of wealthy friends and socialite’s, each family built grander and grander mansions along the Hudson River near the towns of Rhinecliff and Rhinebeck. As early as the 1850’s the Jones’ had increased their existing wealth by marrying into other families involved with banking primarily as their chosen industry, Banking emerged as very lucrative in the late 1880’s and then again in the 1920’s and when the cartoon “Keeping up with the Jones” came out in 1913, it found an instant audience and remained popular for 26 years afterwards.
I had heard that expression growing up and I found it to be very comical because being a Jones, no one was trying to keep up with us. Growing up, my sister and I don’t remember having a lot of things, the things that we did have, we loved, but the most important thing for my parents was to send us to see our family in France as often as possible and that is what my mother saved for, those vacations and for an eventual house.
Nowadays I am a Nichols, and I am still not trying to keep up with the Jones’ , I admit that I love admiring beautiful things, but I love looking, I don’t necessarily need to acquire them. My two favorite houses of fashion are Hermes and Chanel, I do have a piece of each from years ago and I cherish them, one is a handbag and the other is a scarf. Both, I know will be in fashion even fifty years from now if our planet is still alive and therein lies the rub of consumerism. The saying “Keeping up with the Jones'” has unleashed a consumerism that has gotten completely out of control and today is, ironically in reference to the spirit of this post, Black Friday, the absolute expression of consumerism raging out of control in the U.S.
I have decided to be mindful of the notion that we cannot take anything with us and what is most important is not what we have, but who we are and our possessions do not define us, our spirit does.
So since I am a Jones from birth, all that I need to do is keep up with myself, no one else.