Thank you Simon Upton for a trip down memory lane, and a reminder of where my green roots came from. Simon Upton wrote a moving article about his recently deceased father, musing whether self-professed greens had a monopoly on green values, or whether there should be a place for representatives of the older generation on the billboards he admires. “Without even having heard of sustainable development, he lived on the basis that his choices should not foreclose those of his children’s generation. Doing that required prudence, thrift and a measure of self-denial. It seems a world removed from the debt-fuelled consumerism of our times”, he writes of his 87 year old father.
I think you would find, Simon, that many many greens were influenced by such examples of good living by our older family members. This one anyway owes a huge debt to her Auntie, too singular to ever need a qualifying name – she’s “plain Auntie”, my sister famously told a visitor. She and my parents were all products of the depression, and my parents were also frugal by necessity, but it was Auntie who best expressed that passion for frugality and making a game out of making do. I remember laughing at her in my callow youth for washing and reusing the gladwrap from round the supermarket celery. We were equally amused, embarrassed and excited by the steady stream of second hand clothes that she picked up for us kids, and later, our kids, from the op shops in Newtown decades before op-shopping became chic. Continue reading