Six hundred and eleven

I have a confession to make…

(Note: this is not my photo. I borrowed it off Flickr because I lent my camera out)

I sew my socks when they get holes in them.  I know it’s crazy, but I do.  I made the mistake of mentioning this at work the other day and got teased for it.  It takes less time and less money to sew up a little hole, than it does to go to the store to buy a new pair.  Obviously when the holes get too big, I give up sewing them.  But then I use them for dusting or cleaning rags.

I don’t really know where I picked up this habit.  Maybe from my grandmother or my mother?  Or else I’m too thrifty to not use everything I buy to the fullest.  I use every last drop in any creams and soaps before I throw the bottle out, or reuse the bottle for something else.  I swish water around to pick up any last shampoo suds.  I have been known to cut open tubes of face creams to scrape out every last bit of it left inside.  There were times in my life when I didn’t have very much money and those few extra days of soap suds made a difference on my budget.

Then there is the environmental factor.  We already consume too much as a society.  Our waste is atrocious.  If I can stretch out the lifespan of a pair of socks by a few months by taking two minutes to sew up a little hole, I am going to.  Less waste is always better.

Just after my co-workers made fun of my sock-sewing habit, I read one of those “forward-on/feel-good/chain letter” stories on Facebook. It’s about an older lady who talks about how the world has changed so much and that although there was no such thing as “green” in her day, she had much less waste than our generation does.  (I generally hate chain letters, but I’ve added it below if you want to read it.) It really made me think of how much we do waste now, what silly things many of us spend our money on, and how proud I am that I sew my socks.  When I finally buy a new pair of socks, I really understand the value of them.  Hello, my name is Lindsay, and I am a sock-sewer.

Being Green
(I’m not sure who to credit this to, so if you know, let me know and I’ll add the author in)

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 f or 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 truely 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?

10 thoughts on “Six hundred and eleven

  1. This is a timely post. Most Americans will be heading to the store in a couple hours to go Black Friday shopping, the biggest waste of money ever. They go to get yet another flat screen TV, another crockpot because they’re only 5 bucks at 4 am, a half dozen DVDs to add to the closet full at home. It’s sad how this shopping phenomenon has spread and lurched to cover an entire holiday weekend, and in some cases an entire week! I grew up on a farm, had hand-me-downs, no cell phone, no iPad. We had trees, fields, dogs, cats, art, skiing, and board games – remember those? I won’t blame the elder generations for all the harm done, no no no – it is pointed firmly in the direction of capitalists, money grubbing CEOs, and the non-existence of global environmental protection.

    Happy Holidays 🙂

  2. Love that email forward…so true!! And for the record I sew my socks too. And other clothing. I honestly miss some of the great things I used to have and were no long savagable.

  3. I really like your blog. Just so you know I found this inverted bottle holder ( that gets every last drop of lotion and other products like hot sauce out of the bottle. It’s how I stay eco friendly!!!

    • Thanks caracaleo. And awesome; that’s such a great gadget! I’m always trying to balance my bottles between things so I can put them upside down to use everything in them. They inevitably fall over to the side and I have to start the process over. And staying eco-friendly is important to me too, so I want to use every last drop. Thanks for the tip!

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