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My Blog

Earth Day and Days of Old

Good morning to everyone. I hope that you had a memorable Easter weekend. It was such a beautiful day here in the Chicago land area.  This was quite a different type of Easter for me, but so rewarding.  I spent Saturday with loved ones making Pierogi and we have now deemed that it will be a yearly tradition. I cannot remember how long it has been since I have made them and it was certainly an wonderful memory made.  I am so happy to pass down the tradition to them and I look forward to many more.  I was even asked by a friend if her daughter and she could come one day to learn as they no longer know the tradition and their is no one able to teach them.  I was very honored to be asked. Traditions are so important to me and the more that we can hang on to and continue, the better for everyone.  I pray that my own children and grandchildren will want to continue them.  When I spoke with my daughter yesterday, I was on my way home from working.  She told me about how they were invited for an Easter breakfast at my Granddaughters boyfriend's families home.  How they had breakfast and how the young ones went outdoors for an egg hunt.  She was now home preparing ham like I had taught her many years ago.  There are some things that are different for her and yet some that are the same as when she grew up.  It made me happy to know that she has kept some of them. 
As for today's blog, I thought that tomorrow being Earth day...I would touch on that subject for today.  Growing up, I don't remember an Earth Day.  But back then, things were so different than they are today.  On Saturday, my friends and I sort of touched a bit of the differences.  Back in the day when I was young, so many things were different.  For one, when we had soda, it came in glass bottles.  The soda tasted better and we returned the bottles for cash.  As a kid, I remember going around the neighborhood searching for bottles...that was extra change in your pocket.  People back them still tossed them around...just like today.   We weren't privy to all the fast food places that there are today and certainly there were no Styrofoam containers around.  I remember years ago, working in a restaurant....I am going back 40 years....and when someone wanted to take home their food...we literally wrapped it up in either saran or foil and it went into a bag.  A bag that actually said "doggy bag".  There were no containers, no plastic bags for the containers to go into.  Now, I grant you, the containers today are probably easier....but the old way fared just as well. 
The other thing I remember about how we contributed to a so called Earth day was...there were no plastic bags back then...there was only paper and they were recycled.  We either used them for garbage and also used them to cover        school books to keep them clean when we returned them at the end of the school year. 
Another thing I remember was that there was no such thing as a shower where water continuously ran down the drain.  We would take a bath....and it was not a daily thing either!  We did something called a sponge bath.  Now if  you have never heard of the term...let me explain.  A bath was usually a once a week event...in my home it was done on a Friday night.  The rest of the week...we filled a small container of water in the kitchen sink and used soap and a washrag to wash ourselves from top to bottom to continue staying clean. Today that might seem unreal....but we all did perfectly fine.  Our facials were usually done on rare occasion and it was with an egg white placed on our faces and we would let it dry and then wash it off.
Our laundry was often times done by hand...the small items....and all the laundry was hung out on the laundry line to dry...this was not a choice, this was just the way it was. There were no dryers at all.
We also walked...ALOT!!!  There were no taxi moms to drive us around to this and that.  We either walked or we took our bikes.  We also walked for enjoyment.  All the kids would gather after supper and we would just go for walks and talk. That was considered a fun evening.  There were many bus trips, many people back then did not have the luxury of owning a car...more or less 2 or 3 per family.
To rewarm food...we usually placed it in the oven or fried it in a pan on top of the stove...There was no such thing as a microwave or convection oven. 

Our appliances were basically hand held and hand powered...a hand beater was a masher or a whisk...not a powered machine.  Many used a fork as their mashers.  As for a can opener...we had a hand held one...in fact...I still use it today.  I recall my daughter once going over to a boyfriends house and was making lunch and needed a can opener and was searching through the drawer and was frustrated because she couldn't find one.  When she asked where it was....he told her it was on the counter...she still had no idea where it was...and when he came and showed her the electric one...she didn't know how to use it!  Funny how we managed to get along with out all the electrically powered tools.  The other day, while we were making pierogi, we talked about a bread making day and my friends husband asked if I used a bread machine....well, the look on my face gave him his answer.  We made bread by hand and I still do till this day.  I remember getting a bread machine...but it only made ONE loaf of bread.  In my house that would just never do...and it really didn't make the work any easier.  But it did need electricity!  
I remember hand squeezing orange juice each morning for breakfast, that was how you got you juice...pulp and all.  Then my Grandmother would use the orange peels and slice them up to make candied orange peels. 
We talked about making Root Beer and homemade Ice cream  My friend was amazed when I told him how simple it all was.  We are just too used to the way things are.  Some might be a little more convenient, but back then, it was more of a family thing and a way of life and entertainment. 
I ask you....tomorrow...just stop and look around.  Take a good look of how life is being run...look at how children are being occupied.  Take a good look at families and how the are all separated.  Look at how children are playing. Look out your front door and count how many people are sitting on their porches or gathered together to talk.  How many neighbors have your phone numbers and how many do you have?  Can you depend on them in an emergency?  Do you have automatic lawn service and automatic lawn sprinklers?  how many cars line up in your driveway?  How many of your children own cell phones...ipads?  How many computers and televisions are in your home?  Take a good look around and consider the old days.  Some changes are not all that hard to make our Earth a better place to live.

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