TAKE A MOMENT: This “Green Thing”

Take a moment.  To be honest, the French are pretty good about conservation and using less rather than more.  But, back “home”, we members of the “Silent Generation” (born in the 1930’s) can identify.  I don’t know who wrote it, but I really like what it has to say.  So just take a moment aside from your busy day – 

“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 young girl 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.”

The older lady said that she was right our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady 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.  ((Note: I remember the green coca cola bottles as well as the milk bottles.  Mother would leave out the empty milk bottles and the milkman would leave full ones.  I lived in a “dry county” so no beer was available.  Most families had one or two alcoholics in them, but it was hard liquor.  Nothing “over the counter”.  I had milk delivered in bottles, “Alta Dena”, after I moved to California (1968) for several years.)

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 school books. 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.  (Yes, I remember.  But, most of the time, we were handed out a used-book by the teacher.  I was always glad when I got a good used-book.  I never liked that brown paper cover.  It came in after my time.  And, when I got to college, I tried to buy “used books”.  But, most of the time, they were new.  Law School had great Used Books.  Helped me get through some hard courses – note in the margins.  Highlighting things to remember.)

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.  (Note: I was so happy that I had a diaper service – cloth diapers always.  And we had a dryer.  Mother was so happy.  The French hang clothes out. I do, too).  

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.  (Mother made us dresses from the chicken-feed sacks which had pretty little flowers on them.  I hated those dresses.  But, we did not have a lot of money when I was really young.  Daddy was just starting out.  His financial success came later.)

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.  (We had a radio.  I listened to Tom Mix, The Shadow, Fibber Mcgee and Molly, Jack Benny …..)

In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.   (Mother had a beater with a wheel on top.  You turn the wheel around, and two things on the bottom would mix it all together.)

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.  (We saved old newspapers in a stack to wad up for numerous things.)

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.  (I loved pushing the lawn mower.  Darrell made me stop when I got pregnant with Tracy because he was embarrassed that I was pregnant and pushing a lawn mower in the front yard.  “What would the neighbors think?”)

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.”  (Track meets and phys. ed. were always part of the school day.  I always asked Mother if I could “play out”?  That meant go outside to “play” kick-the-can” or “snakie-in-the gully or “Red Rover” or  “Movie Star hopscotch or……). 

    –  Author Unknown

This was a fun one to write.  Not that I was ever “silent” in the “Silent Generation!!!”

Best, Jay

Janet - the ACTRESS


Published by jjaywmac

Jay W. MacIntosh (born Janet Tallulah Jewell) is a retired attorney, actress, and writer from the United States, living in Paris, France. She is a member of the California Bar and selected to the 2018, 2019, 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers list. She holds a Master’s Degree in Drama from the University of Georgia and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Zodiac Scholastic Society. As an actress, she is a member of The Actors Studio, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), SAG-AFTRA, and ASCAP, performing in film and television in the United States and France. Her published works include Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 1, Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 2, The Origins of George Bernard Shaw’s Life Force Philosophy, Moments in Time, Capturing Beauty, JAYSPEAK on the Côte d’Azur, and Janet Tallulah.

2 thoughts on “TAKE A MOMENT: This “Green Thing”

  1. Those were the days…..I lived through all of that. Now, I live in a Smart home, smart TV, I only speak what I want, lights on or off, call somebody if I should fall or just want to talk from anywhere in the house, change the thermostat to any degrees I chose, video all that cross into my yard, and most anything else not mentioned here My son had this done mainly because I live alone. But….. I still exercise and drive. Are we better off ?

    Liked by 1 person

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