Friday, August 29, 2014


Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.  

The woman apologized to the cashier 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 didn't care enough to save our environment for future generations."

The older woman agreed, and then she said, ”Our generation didn't have “The Green Thing" in its day. She then went on to explain:

“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" in our day.

“Grocery stores bagged our groceries in biodegradable brown paper bags that we reused for numerous purposes. Most memorable besides their holding household garbage brown paper bags were used as covers for our school books. This was to ensure that our sciobblings did not deface public property. [The books were provided by the school and paid for by the local taxpapyers.] Besides, these brown paper covers enabled us to personalize our books any way we liked. But,  wasn’t it too bad we didn't have”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 needed 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 disposable kind. We pinned our dried clothes on a line and dried them outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, not in energy-gobbling machines. 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, we didn't have “The Green Thing"  in our day.

Back then we had one TV in the house –– not one in every room. And the TV had a screen the size of a handkerchief –– remember that? –– not a screen the size of the state of Montana. 

In the kitchen we blended and stirred mostly by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us, although I do remember mother using her Sunbeam Mixmaster on rare occasions when she had some large scale baking to do for a church Bazaar, a wedding shower or the annual production of eight or ten different kinds of Christmas cookies she put in tins, gift-wrapped,  and gave to every member of the family and select friends. 

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up newspapers to cushion it, not styrofoam peanuts or plastic bubble wrap. 

Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn either. We used a push mower. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a gym to run on treadmills powered by electricity.

But, 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 wanted a drink of water. 

We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying an endless succession of new pens, and we put new blades in a permanent razor instead of throwing away masses of whole razors when the blades get dull. 

But, we didn't have “The Green Thing" back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus to work or to go downtown to shop, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of using their mothers as an on call taxi service in the family's van or SUV, which cost what a whole house used to cost before “The Green Thing" came into our lives. 

We generally 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 in outer space in order to locate the nearest ice cream parlor or hamburger joint.

Isn't it ironic how the current generation laments our carelessnes and wastefulness just because we didn't have “The Green Thing" when we were young?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a young know-it-all.

We don't particularly enjoy being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to provoke us –– especially from an insolent tattooed punk with spiky, purple and orange-colored hair sporting a rivet in his tongue, who thinks he knows it all, but can't make change without the aid of an automated cash register.

~ A Gift from Mr. & Mrs. Netwitz, edited and embellished by FreeThinke


  1. During the Carter years, there was a push to cut down on the use of paper bags. My grandmother, the Seamstress of the World, made several wonderful denim tote bags. I wish that I knew where those are now. Alas! I put them somewhere "safe" and have lost them.

  2. FT,
    Love that final paragraph in the body of the blog post!

  3. Makes a whole series of excellent points with wit and gentle sarcasm. I too enjoyed the final paragraph. Unfortunately what's described is not an exaggeration. I've seen it, myself, too many times. Is it any wonder so many prefer to do their shopping online these days? Of course it's not yet possible to buy groceries that way, so we're stuck, aren't we? Pitiful, isnt it?

    ------------> Katharine Heartburn

  4. Boyle R. Plaite said

    Terrific post, so of course it got ignored. Typical. If they can't hate it, they don't want anythng to do with it.



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