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 young 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
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 truly recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
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 as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure
that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not
defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on
the brown paper bags. But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.
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 throwaway
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
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
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. And 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 the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were
just because we didn't have the green thing back then?
Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in
conservation from a smartass young person.