My cousin, Marianne Volk, and Cindy Stanoszek Mitrik shared their friend William Lankenau’s story recently and I really enjoyed it. I thought I would share it with you to enjoy as well. I took the liberty of “embellishing” it and bringing it a bit closer to home for all of us. I hope you enjoy it!
Checking out at Giant Eagle, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags the next time that she shopped 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.
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 a few blocks. But then again, back then, neighborhood family owned grocery stores like Manns Bros., Isadores, Kennedy Meat Market (aka- Andys), Alexanders, etc., were just around the corner or up the street a bit. Supermarkets were not the first “go to” since the smaller “Mom and Pop” stores did not try to price gouge you but were honest and fair to all of their customers, neighbors and friends. But she was right …we didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.
Those same 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 scribbling’s. 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.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store or to the beer distributors. They would send them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized and refilled so that the same bottles could be used over and over. So, they truly were recycled … but we didn’t have the “green thing” back 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.
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 store in the basement or 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 or even the garden hose when we were thirsty instead of using a styrafoam 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 to McKeesport or Eastland. Kids rode their bikes or walked to school, their friends, the library or Little League practice 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 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza or hot dog joint. We ALL knew where Irene’s Pizza and Jim’s Hot Dogs were!
But isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were, just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?