Sunday, January 8, 2012

This was making the rounds on Facebook the other day and truer words have never been spoken...

Checking out at the grocery store recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. I apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days." The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations." She was right about one thing -- our generation didn't have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then?

After some reflection and soul-searching on "Our" day here's what I remembered that we did have back then... we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day.

 Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us.

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?


  1. AMEN! Joycee! We went thru this with a 'kid' recently too ... well, my reflections of our times came rushing forth to SHARE with him!! I also told him that eco was CREATED BY US! And, then ... quiet.

    Have a beautiful week.
    TTFN ~

  2. Good for you! I think that clerk was a bit rude myself! I am all for recycling. I still hang my clothes on the clothesline weather permitting. I usually use re-usable shopping bags. However, I don't think we humans are the cause of global climate changes! They occurred long before we came along!

  3. Great post!...puts a whole different slant on lots of things..

  4. I remember these days and actually miss them!

    I think it may have been Loretta Lynn that said, "I've washed so many diapers, I've got diaper rash on my hands!" I know what she means. AND, I still have those very same cloth diapers, even though we only use them for burp rags now.

  5. Love it! Can't believe someone took such an audacious approach in a situation like that. After hearing my Mom talk about life, I'd never think of her generation as not being green.

  6. "You go girl." ( my daughter once told me never to say those 3 words outloud again) but I thought it appropriate for your rant. Love it.

  7. You know, I read this too, and I'm in the generation that lived this way--but you know, just as soon as everything came in plastic, and the fabulous SUVs came on line, and the appliances that suck up all the electricity showed up in all their bright colors, and everything you could buy could be thrown away cheaper than you could fix it--we bought it all. We bought it all. We're trying to edge our way back to smarter times, some of us, but we're wasteful as hell. Our ideals didn't stand up to convenience and power. Wish it weren't so.

  8. very nicely put. Nice post! I'm certain we are considered backwards by some but we live on a little farm and don't have a lot of the fancy things that others do. When our t.v. stopped working, we accepted a freebie and that is what we use. (When we watch, which isn't often!)
    xo, Cheryl


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