Saints We Love

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

But we didn't have the green thing back then . . . From my Deacon

Over the age of 35?   

You might want to read this . . . sent from our Deacon 

9 January, 2012

Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own 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 we did have . . . 

Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop 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 240 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 Wales.   

In the kitchen, we blended & 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 petrol 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 water 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 mums 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 . . .



Terry Fenwick said...

Just a bit of a smile.

Truly in my day we did not even have television and we also used a little tin cup at the pump at the school yard - the tin cup stacked in little sections and fit in our book bag. We used the same tin cup for years.

Anonymous said...

When this link showed up on Facebook several of my friends and I pointed out that our Mums always used the same shopping bags and baskets and reused everything, dishclothes were old vests,notepads the back of envelopes etc you cant recycle better than someone who went through WWII in the UK like my Mum she could scrape a jar clean with a knife to get the last bit out.Here in Wales its become popular because free carrier bags have been abolished but theyve only been around 20 years or so themselves

Terry Fenwick said...

Great story - I love to hear these things - love it!!!

Terry Fenwick said...

I really like to read things you used to do to save when you were growing up.

I remember driving for a carpool for one of our sons to a newspaper office in Santa Barbara. We left first so we finished and had to wait in the parking lot until all the cars were filled and ready to leave.

I was driving a VW van than seated 9. These were the days of no seat belts. Had to be in the 60s. 

When we came out to the car I remarked how much I enjoyed see the newspaper office and mentioned I had never been to one before. The children in the car were amazed and one said, "Mrs. Fenwick! Didn't you go to one when you were a kid in school?" I told him that I was never a kid - no, I did not, but I told him when I was a kid in school parents did not drive cars for field trips.

I was a kid during WWII and everything was rationed. If you had 2 cars one was up on blocks and gas was rationed. They did not know this. They had never heard of rationing in WWII. So, I told them about the coupon books for groceries and the meat that was rationed with stamps and tokens (red or blue) for change. I told them about sugar being rationed to 5 pounds a month for the family (remember we did all of our own baking then) and IF YOU HAD ENOUGH left over at the end of the month you could make fudge - but it had to be peanut butter fudge as there was no chocolate available during the war. There was no candy but for lemon drops and horehound drops. (They, of course had no idea what a horehound bar was but they snickered a bit.)

They had never heard of shoes being rationed! Two pair a year, as I remember - for kids - as our feet grew. Does anyone remember this? They loved best - I should have blogged this and might - but they loved best the way I used to - with my little red wagon - collect newspapers and sometimes magazines, if anyone gave them away, every other Saturday. I did this alone - rain, snow or shine - faithfully. The other Saturday I collected grease. Now remember we had no plastic yet, so there was no saran wrap, and there were no rubber bands - yes, we had waxed paper but it had to be tied with a string. No one gave up jar lids if they had them as they, too, were rationed, so when you picked up the grease in glass jars, they were all tied with string around waxed paper. By the time you arrived to the drop off, if it had been warm weather, the grease was slopping all over the wagon. I do have to tell you that these kids were leaning over the front seat fascinated with this. It was like it had happened hundreds of years ago and it was only about 25 years - if that.

I could not believe schools did not teach about the War and rationing. They loved the idea of stickers on the car and the A B C telling how much gas you were allowed and for what reason.

It was a cool rainy day so they were happy to be close and listening. 

Two days later, the teacher of this class I drove for, sent me a large manila envelope with a cover page over 9 handwritten thank you letters. The teacher said in her cover letter that they always asked the boys and girls to write a page telling about what they learned on their field trip, and what they liked best. The teacher thought I might be pleased to learn what the boys and girls had said. 

Without exception - they all wrote, "On the field trip to the Newspaper Office, I learned about WWII and the rationing, not having candy, red wagon pick ups, cars on blocks because of gas rationing."

I would love to know how many people did all this.