LAF comment: a friend of mine in Florida (who is about my age) recently sent me this. I thought it was too good—and too accurate—not to share with my readers.
My friend was checking out at the grocery store when the young cashier told her she should consider getting her own cloth bags to put her groceries in, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.
My friend apologized to the young girl and told her, “We didn’t have this ‘Green Thing’ when I was your age.”
The clerk responded, “That’s why we have a problem today. Your generation didn’t care enough to save the environment for future generations.”
My friend said she thought our generation had done quite a lot for the environment. She explained:
“When I was young, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized, and refilled. The same bottles were used over and over. So they really were recycled.
“Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags to make book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.
“We walked up stairs because we didn’t have escalators and elevators in every store and building.
“We walked to the grocery store.”
LAF comment: when my mother needed a loaf of bread, a half-gallon of milk, or a pound of potatoes, she didn’t even think about going to the grocery store. She gave me a dollar or two and told me to walk to the store and get what she needed. The store was about eight blocks away.
“We didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. And when we were in the car, we didn’t use it to drive from the grocery store to the pharmacy, half a block away
“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 those days.
“Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their older brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
“When I was young, we didn’t have a television—just a radio. When we did get a TV, we had one—not a TV in every room. And the TV had a screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana.
“In the kitchen we blended and stirred everything by hand. 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.
“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.
“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 throwing away the old plastic pen and buying a new one.
“We replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
“Kids rode their bikes to school or walked, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van. A ‘soccer-mom mobile’ today costs what a whole house did before the ‘Green Thing.’”
LAF comment: I walked to school every day it wasn’t raining, juggling half a dozen text books and another half a dozen spiral notebooks. The school was about ten blocks away. After school I walked to my job at the grocery store, then walked home.
“We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. The only thing plugged into the outlet was a lamp.
“We didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.”
But isn’t it sad that the current generation thinks we old folks were wasteful just because we didn’t have the “Green Thing” back then?