I have mentioned in previous posts the way I was brought up. We were green, old-school. Before green was cool. Take a look at the photo to see what green living looked like in 1969,
All the other mothers were cooking Betty Crocker cake mixes and heating up frozen dinners, Mad Men style. Alice was home-cooking fresh foods every night (though none too happily, I must add).
I don't think their decision to eat whole foods was based on their objection to preservatives or unprounceable food-like substances, which we now know all those convenience foods were/are full of.
Their eco-friendly approach was more of a habit, based on what I would call the original conservative lifestyle -- but it had the same effect.
So when people get all righteous about bundling their newspapers for recycling, when I read entire articles about not letting your faucets drip, or warnings about keeping your car filter clean, I have to remember, "These people were raised by modern Americans. " It's like they're from a different culture.
Drive Me Batty
One of the ways my parents managed to teach me about saving resources while infuriating my inner glamour-puss was by never wasting a car trip.
This whole thing about "running to the store" for something was just not done in our household. We would eat spaghetti noodles without sauce, and cereal without milk if supplies ran out before my mother was ready to go to the grocery store.
And it wasn't just the waste of gas, it was the waste of time they objected to. I totally get that now.
Every shopping trip we made, every errand we ran, was choreographed down to the nth degree to be the most efficient use of time and energy. There were no spontaneous trips or diversions.
We were literally on a business trip.
Park and Shop - Taking it to the Streets
Who could have predicted, just when I reached my impressionable 8's, that Milton Bradley would come out with a board game that turned general life tedium into a testy competition? Called sexist by some, demeaning, and totally vapid, this was a board game that I immediately credited with providing valuable life skills, skills I had witnessed first-hand.
Park and Shop of course became my board game of choice. I have taught it to my daughters and they love it too.
Here's how it works: You draw cards listing random errands to be run all over "town." First you have to plan your route, and then you have to execute.
Whoever returns home first wins, and just like real life, you get good and bad rolls of the dice. In every game, some unlucky bastards have to spend two turns in jail. Even in a child's game, it pays to know a good lawyer =)
Thanks to my early experience and summers down the basement playing board games with my friends, to this day I can run errands like nobody's business. My husband's head spins when he accompanies me: "This is not a timed event," he will say.
Says who, I wonder? Not Alice or Mitch.
Her Point of View
Designer Paule Hewlett takes on design, culture and modern life.
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"Life is too short for ugly dish towels. Really, ugly anything."