Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Going Green in the Good Ole Days


Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the 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 its 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 truly 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 the state of Montana. 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. 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?

This post was copied from Facebook. Post by Richie Bulldog.

The textbooks we covered with grocery bag paper were used over and over again with each new class of students up until some time in the early 60's in Alabama. And any package we mailed was always carefully wrapped in that same brown grocery bag paper.

We didn't need to run on treadmills, because we played outside! And we ate wholesome REAL foods that didn't come in lots of cardboard packaging and had not been genetically modified or filled with antibiotics and hormones. So obesity wasn't such a problem back then - it was actually rather rare. I only remember one girl and one boy that I went through elementary school with who were at all fat - and they were far from obese.

Those automobiles we were driving way back then? You could actually replace parts on them easily and cheaply! Now even a fender bender turns into a major bill.

Yes, I really do remember TV screens no bigger than a handkerchief. We did have more than one electrical outlet to a room (for lamps and maybe an alarm clock), but other than that, the lifestyle this poster describes fits my early years perfectly.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Segregation - Integration Memories

Yesterday was the end of a week long 50th Year Celebration of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham.

So it seems like a good idea to pull together in one place the links to previous posts I've made of my memories during the Civil Rights Era. I lived and went to school in Birmingham, Alabama, until after I married in the 60's and then taught nearby when Integration was just beginning. So I think my memories represent some unique views on the events of that time. With that said, here are some posts you might want to read. Your comments are certainly encouraged!

See Dick See Jane

Jim Crow Rides the Train - Chicago Train Memories Part II

Historic High School Memories Part I

Historic High School Memories Part II

Integration Memories Part II - Stand in the Schoolhouse Door

Integration Memories Part III

Black Like Me

Integration Memories

Integration Memories - A Final Look

If you are old enough to have memories of that era, I would love to hear from you. I realize some of my old students may read some of these posts, but I have written how things seemed to me at the time.

I have grown to love the community we have lived in for the last 42 years and have tried my best to be equally considerate of every student I ever worked with, regardless of racial or economic background. I can only hope that they would agree with me on that.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Breathes there the man with soul so dead...

As I think about America's Independence Day celebration this week for the 4th of July, my thoughts turn toward this excerpt of Sir Walter Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel:
    Breathes there the man with soul so dead
    Who never to himself hath said,
    This is my own, my native land!
    Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
    As home his footsteps he hath turned
    From wandering on a foreign strand!
    If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
    For him no minstrel raptures swell;
    High though his titles, proud his name,
    Boundless his wealth as wish can claim
    Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
    The wretch, concentred all in self,
    Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
    And, doubly dying, shall go down
    To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
    Unwept, unhonored , and unsung.

Our prayers go out to those patriots who honor their country with service in our military, and to those family members who wait expectantly for the day when their loved one's footsteps are turned toward home.

God Bless America!!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Clean Water Memories

When our children were little I used to walk with them down to Pump House, to the overflow of the spring that provides our town with drinking water. We'd take the dog along, and I'd let them wade around in the cold spring water to their hearts content. I didn't need to worry about snakes with the dog splashing around with them. They would pick watercress to use in salads, try to catch the minnows and frogs, and marvel at the Water Boatmen and Dragonflies.

Thanks to homeland security concerns, the pump house and spring have been fenced off for some years now, and the old pier we used to walk out on is long gone. But you can still hear kids laughing and playing in the creek behind our house in the Summer.

Sometimes their friends would invite them to go swimming in nearby Lake Logan Martin, which is fed by the Coosa River. They would get mad, because I wouldn't let them go. I knew that the e-coli count was high. Even back then it was polluted.

Today, Logan Martin and the Coosa River are favorite haunts of plenty of water sports enthusiasts. And plenty of fishing is done, but very few people eat the fish they catch in the Coosa. It's just way too polluted to be safe.

Hubby and I belong to the Coosa River Keepers, a non-profit organization whose goal is to clean up the Coosa River and restore it to a living river. You can help the River Keepers win a cash prize by voting and giving 5 stars for this short video in which a long time resident of our town recounts her childhood memories of the Coosa River.

I urge you to find a local group working to protect a habitat near you.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What's Wrong with a Brokered Convention??

I find it amusing how little history most people seem to know. Hubby and I have been amazed when we hear commentators making the possibility of a brokered Republican convention sound like the most horrible thing that could ever happen to the Republican party.

When we were growing up TV was in its infancy, so they showed ALL of the Convention process on TV. And it was not at all unusual for there to be quite a few pollings of the delegates before a candidate was picked. It was fascinating to watch and listen to all the talk about backroom conferences and deal making. By the time a candidate was picked, we really felt like we had seen history in the making.

Nowadays the conventions are just plain BORING, as they are a coronation ceremony at best.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be a convention worth watching!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Me, Myself, and I

Ok, before I go on a rant, I acknowledge that English is a living language that is constantly evolving.

Now, with that said, I'm constantly irritated by the way Americans, including myself, consistently misuse the words me, myself, and I. "I" is to be used as the subject, while "me" is to be used as the object in a sentence.

So does this sound right to you? - They asked Jane and I to go to the ballgame.

 Using "I' just "sounds" more correct to most people these days, based on the way public speakers, radio and TV personalities, and the general public use it. BUT it should be Jane and ME in this sentence, because you wouldn't say, "They asked I to go to the ballgame." It's the object of the verb in that sentence.

In an effort to avoid making the decision about whether to use me or I people are starting to say myself, instead. So you hear people say, "They asked Jane and myself to go to the ballgame," but you wouldn't say, "They asked myself to go to the ballgame."

Is it any wonder that we're losing the ability to use these little words properly when we hear them used incorrectly constantly?

I don't make the mistake in writing, but I do catch myself using it incorrectly in casual speech. And it's like fingernails on a chalkboard when I realize I've done it.





Monday, October 10, 2011

Where Have All the Manners Gone?

I'm an elderly Southern lady who has some difficulty walking. Sometimes I use a cane, and there are times when I use a walker.

So I fit in the categories of being Female, Elderly, and Handicapped.

When we're out in public I am appalled to find that people have gotten so rude.

It's become the norm that when I arrive at store isle intersections I'M the one who has to stop and let the other person by. If I don't, I get run over.

Although some people will help with holding doors open, most do not. People, including even store employees, speed around me with no regard for the likelihood that they are going to knock me down.

I'm old enough to remember when it was normal that people would respect their elders, show deference to women, and go out of their way to be helpful to anyone with a handicap.

My wonderful hubby ALWAYS shows his good manners and goes out of his way to be respectful and helpful. But then he's from the "Old School" and was taught good manners as a child, as I was.

This is one time when I DO wish for the "Good Old Days', and I make a point of saying Thank You to anyone who still shows good manners!!