Monday, February 24, 2014

The Green Thing

I know this has been circulating for awhile now - but with the off chance that some of you haven't seen it I'm posting it now.

I've searched high and low for the author to no avail - if anyone knows who this should be credited to please let me know - it's beautifully said..................


Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much 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 our 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.

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 North America.

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 in the family's $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the "green thing." 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 smart ass young person....We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off... 
Amen to that !!!  ( sorry if anyone takes offence to the last paragraph but It's not up to me to change someone else's words - and I agree with them anyway lol )

Is 54 old?
Because I can remember all of it.............

And I'm still recycling - including furniture :)

Have a great day all !

Sharing with
Adorned from Above                            Common Ground                     Chase the Star
My Turn for Us                                   the Chicken Chick


  1. In addition to all that, they didn't have a passion for consumerism. Whatever they bought, they kept forever. One dining room suite, one bedroom suite, one set of good dishes, the same ornaments. Everything was cared for and intended to last a lifetime. Just think about what didn't go into the landfill.

    1. Amen! I think we just might be the last generation to appreciate the "old" things our parents and grandparents handed down to us. Treasures I tell ya!

  2. Here Here,I am 68 and remember it all. Everything now is throw away.If a wireless or television,or other meagre item failed,we took it to get repaired. Now it's throw away. No repair people today.Work clothes,and sunday best that fitted into a tiny wardrobe not a whole wall of built ins too.Grandma made quilts for the beds from worn out clothes not new fabric,and cut the buttons of shirts before hand. Turned collars on shirts when they got worn,and darned socks.I could go on and on. So sad.

  3. I keep thinking that if we could convince young mothers to use cloth diapers how much space would be saved in landfills by that act alone. And water bottles! Good grief!!

  4. I LOVED your "hand-me-down" post so much I shared in on FB! Thanks for the beautiful glimpse into what was our past. We even recycled food.....leftovers and vegetable soup were a weekly recycled supper! Have a beautiful day Suzan!

  5. Hear Hear! I remember it all too. :)

  6. LOVE this post! (and they don't like me at the grocery check out...PAPER ONLY!) Blessings~~~Roxie

  7. How incredibly true. My grandparents raised children during the depression and taught us to use everything over and over. Clothes were passed form person to person and when too worn were used as cleaning rags. My granny bought yards of toweling and made her own towels. We used metal lunch boxes with a Thermos for school lunches. Our sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper instead of plastic baggies. Our meals were small, but we ate all of it - no waste. Yes, we were green way before green was the "in" thing!

  8. So true. I grew up in a household with parents that grew up during WW2, they knew what it meant not to waste.

  9. How I miss my annual trip to the grocery store with the whole year's worth of Pepsi bottles to be returned. I wasn't entirely on top of that chore.

  10. You Go Girl! And you're not old! (I'm 53)LOL - We still have a milkman who delivers our milk in glass bottles to our back door. I love it! I grew up in a house with parents that grew up themselves during the Great Depression - the apple doesn't fall far from the tree - and I'm proud of it!

  11. wouldn't it be nice to give a copy of this letter to that cashier?! It would sure give the cashier something to think about. I'm sure the streets were cleaner then and the front yards of houses too, kids more respectful. I think its 54 years young :)


  12. This is perfect. I am 48 and Suzan I can remember all of them too. Now we aren't old, it is that when you think back to those times we were old enough to really remember. It is amazing how true this really is though, amazing.


  13. I've seen that before too. I loved going up to Scheiers for the bottles of milk! That was VERY early in my childhood, but I still remember it. When we no longer bought milk that way, I still had the carry case in which I then carried around all my stuffed animals. SEE? Still recycling.

    And my husband is my second marriage and HIS second marriage. We even recycle spouses.


  14. I remember it all, too. I try to be green now, but I can't hold a candle to my parents' and grandparents' generations. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I remember all that, plus paper drives. our church youth group would round up volunteer drivers, and pick up old newspapers that other members would save for us. and we made good money with that. But, we have to admit, that some of what's wrong with this generation is our fault, because we were determined that our kids would have better than us, but was it really better?

    1. It was more our parents that did all of this- these were the homes we grew up in - not ran ourselves really.
      WE were the culprits - not the older generation - and not this one - US lol

  16. I'm 47 and I remember a lot of these! Me and my friends used to take drink bottles to the store and sell them, then we'd buy cigarettes. Forever ago.

  17. I remember it all, too, Suzan...and then some, like didn't have central air, we opened the windows; we didn't run the dryer all day, we used clotheslines. Ah, those were the days!

  18. Fantastic post!....We were definitely "very green" back in the day!...I washed my son's diapers as he was allergic to those "new fangled" disposable diapers!...No diapers in the landfills!
    And I remember coming home every day from school and helping my mom take the clothes off the clothesline!...

  19. My hubby showed me this a while ago, and I absolutely love it. I remember a lot of this stuff. My parents were recyclers, reusers, and repurposers long before the green thing... so us kids were too. Somehow my parents made it fun. Nothing could be wasted or thrown away. I still feel that way. Can't help it. I'm 52... so no... 54 is not old.

  20. The Green Thing. Great rant, Suzan! Haven't seen this one before but boy-oh-boy it sure brought back a lot of memories. No 54 is not old - I'm about to be 60 and that's not old (though it is a HUGE number). Yep, you're right, as always Suzan, it really is too bad we weren't green back then. And, yes it was our parent's generation but ours wasn't a lot different. Things were much simpler; not always better just simpler. And I'm OK with that.
    P.S. Another one to add to my "Favourite Post" board on Pinterest.

  21. AND, something else needs to be said........ Your new home. Take it from someone who has been following this wonderful journey from the very start, I cannot believe the amount of work that has been done in such a short period of time. You and John and family and friends have done 99.9% of it all on your own. You should be proud, amazed, exhilarated, happy and all the other superlatives that could and should be applied here rather than tearful, frustrated and generally not liking your new home. We, your readers and friends, are all thinking the superlatives and are behind your original decision a gazillion-and-more%. Can't wait for what comes next. Tears and all!!!!!!!!!! Way to go, you guys!
    P.S. No thanks needed - just take the comments as well deserved.

  22. As a member of generation X I have to say I do know what the "older generation" did and on the whole I recycle and cook from scratch and we grow our own fruit and veg but no way would I want to use cloth nappies. I have tried a few times but ugh nope not going to do it. My grandpa who was just the love of my life growing up used to cut the cereal boxes down to postcard sized pieces to write notes and lists on. When he died there were piles in his work space just waiting to be used :)

  23. I've always loved this ~ and I lived it! Such a kinder, gentler way of life...


  24. So true. My grandparents and parents "recycled" because that's the way it was done...being thrifty...not wasteful. My aunt and I were talking this morning about how we use paper towels for things that a cloth one would do just as well. That's something I need to change. I recycle and compost, although my grandmother just gave the veggie scraps to the chickens, and they "recycled" them into eggs and meat. So, this old gal remembers those things, too. :)


Due to a large amount of spam ( that I'm tired of going back to posts and deleting ) I'll be using comment moderation from now on !!!
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