Friday, January 6, 2012

Back in the Day and The Green Thing

We've all heard our parents tell us stories of  "back in the day" we used to walk 10 miles uphill with no shoes to get to school, and with just an apple for lunch! We didn't get to ride in a big, beautiful SUV to a school that is two blocks away. And we didn't get money so we could eat our lunch in the various lunch bars you have in school now. Maybe we've even been the parent sharing that little bit of wisdom with our own kids. Sure...some of it is embellishment, but mostly it is true.

I remember riding 45 minutes on a bus to get to school in the morning. We were the first kids on the bus so we had to traipse all over the county picking up everyone else and on the way home the bus driver reversed the trip so we were the last ones off...but we didn't complain. Besides, our bus driver Mrs. Calhoun didn't put up with any of our shenanigans!

Well my sister in law sent me an email that I would love to share with everyone. I think many of you will find it interesting and relevant to the "going green" trend we're in. Now I believe in going green to some extent and recycling and saving our resources for the next generation....but I also agree with a lot of what's in this email. Read for yourself...

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman 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 -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

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 over and over. 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 streetcar or a 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.

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?

***Linking up to the WEEKEND BLOGGY READING PARTY hosted by Serenity Now. Please go and check out some of the other favorite posts of the week from the bloggers participating! Happy Reading!***


  1. Great article. Yes, back then they didn't need the "green thing" like we now do. The grocery clerk would have been bagging things up in biodegradable, brown paper bags, not plastic. Gosh, I do sometimes wish we still lived "Back In The Day!"

  2. I'm from the 80's and we didn't have that green thing back then. I walked to school or rode my bike. We would grocey shop at the grocery outlet where there was no bags, you take your own bags or carry the groceies in your hands. Love this post.

  3. The repetition of "we didn't have the green thing back there" , makes your post even a better piece of writing, as it helps emphasizing clearly the fact that this green thing is not a discovery of the present generation. It certainly was there back in the past.

    You've made use of wonderful illustrations to make your point: bottles of milk, laundry drying on the line, push mower.
    Great post, Alicia!!

  4. So true! I hope that your 2012 is off to a great start! Happy Saturday!...hugs...Debbie

  5. So I want to know who REALLY invented the "green thing!" LOL
    We ARE a throw-away society! I try to do my part and use Freecycle to get rid of my unwanted things and I ask for paper bags instead of plastic at the grocery store. The bag boys don't like that much, but I just smile and thank them when they're done. I had a cloth diaper service for our son. I buy only minimal paper towels- the husband tends to use way too many of them when he dries off his hands or wipes the counter. hello... I like dish towels!
    Great food for thought in your post, Alicia~

  6. frugal-interior-design, Sometimes I wish I lived back in the day too...but remember frugal, back in the day you and I wouldn't be communicating via the internet, and I for one would so miss my bloggy friends :)

  7. Angie - Thanks Angie. I remember the grocery outlet in Wasco. It was on main right? Or maybe I'm thinking of the Family Bargain Center? I used to love that store!

  8. Electrical Service Indiana -- I do believe you might be spam that blogger missed. I'll have to remember to go delete you!

  9. Duta, Thank you! It was fun trying to find the pictures to go with the story. I think every generation thinks they reinvented the wheel. I can remember my grandparents having a push mower, it was fun to use.

  10. Confessions of a Plate Addict - Hi Debbie, thanks for stopping by. So far so good on the 2012. We'll see how it goes. I hope you have a good one as well!

  11. Sue - Not sure who really invented the green thing but I know that I can remember when I used to just throw aluminum cans straight into the trash. Now it's sinful and I just can't stand to see one thrown away. I'm almost OCD about

    My sister yells at me however because I leave water running in the sink while I'm doing something and she says it's wasteful to waste water. I tell her water is a renewable source so we don't have to worry about saving

    I take a lot of stuff to Goodwill, then I end up buying it back! I guess as long as we all do a little bit then we're helping.

  12. I think my parents generation was the greenest, they were too busy making babies to be bothered with energy consuming activities. Of course one first world baby has the carbon footprint of 25 third world babies, so maybe they were not so green after all.

    The other thing we didn't do back in our day was send 153 billion text messages per month with the average intellectual content of "Watzup?" "Nuttin." (Which btw may have a different meaning in rural Iowa than in Beverly Hills.)

    Nor did my father sit around on computer for hours every day idling away hours on blogs and emails consuming energy. He sat around at a bar. Is socializing on the Internet less green than getting plastered? I don't know, but I know he used a hell of lot more gasoline driving to & fro his various alcoholic haunts than I do walking to the computer in my den. On the other hand, I did read that the energy required by Internet activities exceeds the energy used in world wide air travel. But then again there seemed to be a hell of lot more bars around to consume energy when I was a kid--and I spent time in every damn one of them...maybe why I am not a big bar person today.

    Despite my post, and very true!

  13. Thanks so much for the words of support on my blog! And I think your makeup looks fabulous!

  14. Witness the terrible effects of global warming, of ozone depletion, and the sad effects of pollution on the health of so many people and you will do an automatic double take and look for solutions to these problems. We need to work fast before its too late.

  15. Sextant,
    I think almost anything we do consumes energy. I know that I send 100's of those annoying texts that you speak of. It's the only way I can communicate with my kids. And both my brothers used to hate texting and now it's the only form of communication they will respond too. And don't even let me get started on emails because I email all day long with co-workers, some of it work-most of it not; my sister, my sister in law and various friends and family.
    Then there are all my bloggy buddies that I visit and comment with, not to mention new buddies on goodreads! But it makes me feel better to know that I'm making my contribution to being green by not driving one of those huge hummer vehicles! (Not that I could afford one even if I wanted one!)

    As to you mentioning your crankiness...I think you need to spend more time in front of the Christmas tree and it's dazzling lights.

  16. The Zadge,
    wow...a visit from the Zadge??? I am giddy with delight! Thank you for complimenting my makeup. Anytime you need tips, let me know!

  17. Love this post. Just tweeted it because everybody should read it.


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