Dolly Freed Lifestyle

In the 1970s, teenager Dolly Freed wrote a book called Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and with (Almost) No Money. It was about how she and her father decided to reject that they called “money living,” i.e. consumerism, and live a self-sufficient lifestyle growing their own food and reusing and recycling and so on. That way, they could live without having to work at a “boring, meaningless, frustrating job to get […] money,” Freed wrote.
Freed had such a practical, logical approach to her lifestyle that she appealed to many people, even though she was essentially saying what Thoreau said back in the 1800s–if you live simply, growing a garden and not over-consuming, you can live a free life without having to work. Of course, you need a house and some land first, but once you get started, the concept seems to work pretty well.
Anyway, writer Paige Williams tracked Freed down, and it sounds like she is still pretty awesome. She’s a former NASA aerospace engineer and an environmental educator. She composts. She has a wildlife sanctuary in her backyard. She makes homemade gin and rabbit sausage. She gets free fruit from an abandoned orchard. She put minnows in her neighbor’s swimming pool to take care of the mosquito problem. I hope she writes another book.
From the article:
“The best way to save money is not to spend it,” she e-mailed the other day. “We might see something in a magazine or at the store, but just because we like it doesn’t mean we have to buy it. Think of it as going to a museum and seeing pictures—you can admire them, but you don’t have to own them. It also helps to stay out of places of temptation. Bookstores and kitchen stores, for me, and electronics stores, for Pete, are dangerous places. Except for the used-books store, we never, ever use shopping as entertainment.”
Here’s a short documentary on Freed made in the 70s after her book came out. It is worth watching. (Via Jezebel)
Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

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4 thoughts on “Dolly Freed Lifestyle”

  1. Good Lord- I remember reading about Dolly Freed and her father in I believe People magazine- One of those articles that sticks in your head. What I recall is her father and her would hunt pigeons. Great article by paige williams. Glad to hear how everything played out.


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