WHEN two of my little grandkids asked me to bring to their room the television that was not being used, I told them that they are more lucky now because when I was their age back then, we just had one Black and White TV in the living room.
I related to them that back then we tuned in to radio news most of the time to update ourselves on what was going on in the world and to entertain ourselves too because there were no cellphones then. They do not know what a radio looked like so I showed them an old small transistor radio I kept in a drawer.
Time went by so fast that the COVID years of 2020 and 2021 seemed to have come by quickly to remind us of Mother Nature’s way of slowing the world from spinning so fast that we are getting killed by viruses that are mutating faster than we can invent vaccines.
Sometimes the unexplained things make us stop and wonder if we humans have abused the world we are living in and that it is getting back at us. It makes me recall the years when there were no cellphones and Facebook.
Sometimes I see disadvantages in the advancement of a fast-changing technology because of the tons of waste material the industry produces that largely contributes to climate change. Maybe slowing down and going back to life in the 80s could liberate us from these baffling events.
I remember back then when we were asked to run to the store for coke and other soft drinks, we returned the bottles after consuming the contents and the storekeeper paid us back the money we deposited for the bottles.
Once in a while, enterprising old women drop by to collect empty soda bottles that they sell to Chinese traders. I also see delivery trucks pick up the bottles that are sent back to the factories to be washed, refilled and used over and over again.
The bottles were recycled back then. Today, storekeepers do not pay for the bottles and the old women have disappeared. The bottles now are thrown away as trash and picked up by garbage trucks, delivered to plants where these are crushed.
When the grass in the backyard grew high, we did not use lawn mowers powered by gasoline. Instead, we used bolos and sickles which are ordinary garden tools, or we used a grass cutter that functions by pushing it.
Back then, there were no plastic bags to recycle. Grocery baggers placed the goods you bought in paper bags. Today, the store clerks have to ask you to bring your own bag because cellophane sando bags are prohibited by law and they say these are bad for the environment.
Water supply was so safe then that we drank it straight from the faucet, not from plastic bottles that we buy today, which are also the culprit in the problem of pollution of our rivers, lakes and oceans.
My mom back then washed our clothes and baby’s diapers in running water because there were no disposable single-use diapers. The washed clothing and wet garments were then dried by the wind and sun, not by dryer machines that consume electricity.
I remember the old dirty kitchen in our house that was gutted by fire in the early 60s. It had a cast-iron wood burner oven where mom cooked dinner. The burner also served as a fireplace and heater where papa smoked and sipped coffee. Today, some houses have fake fireplaces lighted by electric firewood.
Bedrooms had only a single outlet for at least one important appliance, not many outlets for electronic gadgets, chargers and cellphones. And we did not need computers then to find directions or locate addresses because we moved around guided by common sense.
While the new or young generation enjoys the luxury of modern apparatus and the comfort that it brings, I feel sad for them just the same for they did not experience the time when coughs and colds did not develop into the deadly coronavirus that led this world to a new normal.