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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

Oh, yeah? We invented "Green," young man!

Posted Sunday, December 4, 2011, at 8:16 AM

Shared email from my sister:

"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 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 recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our 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 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 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.

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 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza 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?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person.

We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off."

From the wet, gray hills of Tillman, where I lived through most of these "green" experiences (esp the dirty diaper business!), this is your selfish-old-roving-reporter Madeline, singing in the Sunday morning rain!

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Hey, hey, hey, GN! A little bird told me you were here! As for the popcorn popped on the stove, I had some tonight! I like it better than the microwave variety.

Madeline had better get on the stick--or she'll fall off the page with the next new post!!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 9:26 PM

Besides all of that, we carried our recreational board games,such as SCRABBLE, home in a crisp brown paper bag. We played with friends or family who all sat at the same table, only after the dishes were hand washed, dried, and put away. If we popped corn to snack as we played, it was done in a pan over a stove. Progress is good in some ways, since we can now play our games across the internet waves, still remaining in contact with friends who are miles away, as we sit in our pajamas eating popcorn hot from the microwave.

Forgive me my slight digression. I really was thinking about a green SCRABBLE game when I jumped in with the comment.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 10:20 AM

Great article Ms. DeJournett, I also can relate to many of the ways life was lived daily by everyone in are little neck of the woods. As far as green goes let us take a trip back in time and study how people earned money,saved money, and spent money much different today. Most people want things now.

-- Posted by gdh1958 on Mon, Dec 5, 2011, at 10:57 PM

Our generation knew how to converse and hold a conversation.

We did not need the foolish 4G $100.00 monthly charge to say hello to our friends and whatcha doing!

I will take 1951 over 2011 everyday.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Sun, Dec 4, 2011, at 5:39 PM

Oh, my!!!! What the generation that WE are can remember, and should be passing forward to the next! MD, I shall be most pleased to share this blog, especially with more than a few of those who decry the present state of ecological concern(s). Great Granny's smock!! If one more of the Millenials climbs on their "horse" within my hearing about how "the Boomers" messed it all up, well then, it'll be on like Donkey Kong, in the verbal sense of the "Event"!!!!! Just opining won't cut through the "cheese" coatings in those ears, but seriously high dudgeon, delivered crisply and on point can bring smiles of satisfaction within!!! Be Well, molater, kkr

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Sun, Dec 4, 2011, at 2:39 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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