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Fanning Files


October 9, 2019

By Me

I remember my first taste of Sun Drop. It came out of a vending machine at an archery range in Sparta that had been set up in an old warehouse down by the railroad tracks. I was about 12 years old, and the vending machine was the kind where one had to pull the glass bottle out by the neck. The machine was equipped with a handy bottle opener. The glass bottle was ice cold, and the magical drink inside was the best thing I had ever tasted.

When I got older, soda (or “pop”, depending on where in the country you live) was sold in plastic bottles. It never tasted quite the same after that.

October, 2019: someone posted on Facebook-

It’s hilarious, all these school kids preaching to us oldies the we ****ed up the planet! Back in the 60’s and 70’s not a plastic bottle to be seen. It was all glass that was reused, pop bottles taken back to the shop. No plastic bags, loose food was in brown paper bags. Mothers used shopping trolleys to carry heavy stuff or used a linen bag. You walked to school from 5 yo to 16 yo not jumping into mummy’s 4x4. No McDonald’s or Burger King plastic toys, no polystyrene food boxes for you to litter the streets with. We had used newspapers to wrap our hot food in. Our milk was delivered…

The post went on a bit longer, but it’s easy to see how disgusted the writer was with “Kids these days.”

My first impression was that this person was on to something. My second was that they were from England or something like that.

But suddenly I thought, STOP…You idiot, you’re making us “Oldies” look like fools.

And the more I thought about it, the angrier I became. Because for all of the imperfections our younger generation may have, they cannot be blamed for any of this.

Coca Cola first started putting its product in plastic bottles in 1978. That was in the heart of my public school years, and 10 years after Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson successfully implemented the first Earth Day. “We only have one earth, so we need to take care of her,” he said.

And from that point on, all of the events the author of this Facebook post claims they can blame on school children began to unfold.

I would have been 12 years old (right around the time I had my first Sun Drop). So, even my generation cannot be held accountable for plastic bottles. I would guess that has to be credited to the generation the author of this Facebook post belongs to.

Now, on to the plastic bags we use today. I was relieved to find out that even my generation was not responsible for this “epidemic”. Plastic bags were invented in Sweden in the 1960’s, but became the bag of choice, and replaced paper bags in the United States in the early 1980’s. I was just graduating high school in 1984, and I am fairly certain plastic bags were quite common by then.

I am not old enough to remember milk being delivered by one of the local dairy farms in Sparta, but I do remember taking back empty glass milk bottles to Herman’s Dairy on the north side of Sparta on Highway 21.

Then there is the wrapping hot food in newspapers thing. This is where I get the impression the writer is English, or something. I don’t remember this at all.

The point here, I think is this. We can look at our younger generation and believe they are going to be the end of civilization as we know it, but we cannot place the blame on them for the sins of the generations that came before them.

They see the mess we’ve made. And with all of the labels we place on them, “lazy”, “stupid”, “antisocial”, “have no common sense,” they will have to be the ones who will clean it up. They are not the reason for the rise in hatred in our country, that we can blame mostly on old, white-haired disgruntled people, who reside only in their own mind and write letters blaming someone else for their own wrong-doings.

As for the author of this post, there may be no better example of the old proverb… “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

Because when the glass pieces fall they will most certainly dig in to cut the skin of the person dwelling within.


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