Checking out at the supermarket, 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 apologised and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green
thing’ back in my earlier days.”
The young cashier responded, “That’s our problem today – your
generation did not care enough to save our environment for future
She was right — our generation didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in its
Back then, we returned milk bottles, lemonade bottles and beer
bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed
and sterilised 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 shops bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we re-
used for numerous things, most memorable besides household bags for
rubbish, 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 personalise our books on the brown
But too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.
We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have a lift in every
supermarket, shop and office building. We walked to the local shop and
didn’t climb into a 300 horsepower machine every time we had to go half
But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s Terry Towel nappies because we didn’t
have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-
gobbling machine burning up 3 kilowatts wind and solar power really did
dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids had 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 radio or TV in the house – not a TV in every
room and the TV had a small screen the size of a big handkerchief
(remember them?), not a screen the size of Scotland 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
petrol just to cut the lawn. We pushed the 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 tap or 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 bus and kids rode their bikes to school or
walked instead of turning their Mums into a 24-hour taxi service in the
family’s £50,000 People Carrier which cost the same as 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 computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites
23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest Pub!
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