My children are constantly reminding us to “go Green” and recycle. We do our best. But it’s as if this younger generation is the first to think about our environmental concerns. A young clerk in the grocery store the other day asked that I bring my own bags in the future as the plastic ones are not good for the environment.I felt a bit chastized when she retorted that my generation did not care enough for future generations to save this earth. She was correct. We didn’t know of the term, “the Green thing”, back in the day. Robin and I are both products of the 50’s. Back then we collected soda bottles and beer bottles to return them for a few cents each so they could be washed, sterilized, and re-used. Our milk came in glass bottles which were also returned, to be used for another day.
We walked up stairs because escalators were a scant novelty, usually only found in airports. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t start a car to drive just a few blocks. Our diapers were cloth and washed to be used over and over as the throw-away kind didn’t exist. Our clothes were dryed by the wind and sun on a clothesline, using solar power. My brother wore my hand me downs and Robin got her’s from her older sisters. The young clerk was correct as we didn’t know the “Green thing.” We had only one TV in our houses, not one in each room. Our was the size of a magazine, not a screen the size of Wyoming. Our moms stirred and blended in the kitchen by hand, without the aid of electronic devices. When sending a fragile item by mail, we crumpled up newspapers to assist in cushioning the package, not bubble wrap or styrofoam. I mowed the lawn with a push mower, now a gas-guzzling tractor. Health clubs were non-existent as we exercised all day long by working or playing from morning till the “street lights’ came on. We drank our water from fountains when thirsty instead of a cup or plastic bottle. We refilled writing pens and razor blades instead of throwing them away when emptied. And yes, we still didn’t have the ‘Green thing.’
I rode the bus to my Little League games, others took the streetcar or just rode their bicycles instead of being taxied everywhere. Althought it was only 3/4 of a mile from home, I walked to school, Robin a bit further. We had one electrical outlet in each room of our house, not an entire bank to power multitudes of appliances. There was no computerized gadget signalling from outer space satellites where the nearest pizza joint was located.
I love progress. I like the amenities and gadgetry that science has brought to my life. But don’t ever think this older generation has no idea about conserving, recycling and saving. We just never put a color to what came naturally.