Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Old Coffee Mugs

The other day I was reminded of a comment my daughter made a few months ago about one of our old coffee mugs when I was washing the dishes. We had been watching home movies one evening. In one of the many dusty tapes was our little yodeling tribe coloring Easter eggs. I`d say Miss Yodeling was perhaps three at the time, still filled with that wide-eyed innocence about Santa and the Easter Bunny. We had several of our glass coffee mugs on the kitchen table, each filled with fizzing tablets of red, orange, purple and blue. And of course, we had eggs to dip in with that flimsy wire egg-dipper that comes with the fizzy tablets.

As we were sitting around enjoying her precious little self on videotape, my daughter said this.

“Wow, we still have that mug!”

My husband and I looked at her in befuddlement. “Well, sure we do,” I said, “Why wouldn`t we?”

“But it`s so old, why didn`t you toss it and get a new one?”

“If it ain`t broke,” Mister said, “Why would we throw it away?”

That got me to pondering about how we, and by ‘we’ I mean Mister and I, look at things differently than my child does. Is this some sign that my husband and I are getting old and refuse to part with things that we really should part with? Or, is this ‘Throw it Away Simply because it’s Old’ mindset something that is part of the younger generation?

I can see both sides after doing some deep pondering. Yes, Mister and I do tend to hold onto things. We were raised in a different way and time. When we were young, you didn`t simply toss out something because it was a couple years old and, therefore, outdated. Mainly because our parents couldn`t afford to replace things just because technology has moved onward so quickly. I can`t imagine going to my mom, a single mother raising two children before she married my step-dad, and saying that I needed a new phone because mine was a year old. She would have looked at me as if my brain was addled then launched into a speech about money growing on trees.

Today, your cell phone is looked down upon if your phone isn`t the newest and most improved model available. If your laptop is a year old, the software isn`t compatible with anything and you have to get a new one. And the kids of today feel entitled to such things. As if they deserve new gizmos simply because they are here. ‘Just pitch it and buy a new one’ is the theme of things it seems.

And here it comes….the inevitable ‘Back in my day’. Back in my day, if you were really lucky, you had a record player. And you cherished that old record player, AND the severely scratched records like they were Montezuma`s gold! The only time a record was thrown out was when it got broken. Toys were kept way past their prime and were not whipped into the trash, but were passed down to a younger sibling or a cousin, niece or nephew. The same applies to clothes, if it were feasible gender-wise, of course. My younger brother in a dress wouldn`t have worked too well I reckon.

Maybe it`s just me. Maybe I grew up learning to cherish the things that my parents worked so darn hard to give us. And this is in no way a slam against my daughter. She is a very wise and respectful child who knows that money isn`t easy to come by. This pondering post is simply asking if the generation that will follow us can understand that one old coffee mug means more than just being frugal. That coffee mug, even with its chipped handle, means that we saved that much money in order to spend it on something more important than having new mugs - Her. That old mug means that we, as parents, didn`t care if our mugs matched or lacked paint on one side. Keeping that old mug with the worn-off paint on one side means we value what we own.

Old principles? Perhaps. But ones that I hope are seen to be valuable as the teens and twenty-something`s mature.

Coffee, anyone?


Texan said...

I think its part of the "new" generations make up. They have seen as you say with techonology mostly I think, every six months something new is out and one must have it! LOL or its "old".

Throw away and get new, seems to be the trend. sighhh.

Of course that said, stuff just does not last like it used to either! Boy now that makes me sound old but its true. So much of what we buy breaks and it would cost more to fix it than get a new one.. sighhhh...

Where will it end LOL

Rina ... also Chester or Daisysmum. said...

This new generation is a throwaway one, your right about the new phone and all the other stuff. Nothing is made to last anymore, otherwise how are they ver going to make any money, and that is a proven fact esp if it comes from China. We used to roll our eyes about Chinese goods, but find me something that does not come from there. Cheap and nasty!

Coffee would love to pop over only I am a little far:))

Jim said...

Great post! It was like sitting down with you and having this discussion over coffee.
I agree that we live in a throwaway society now.....things are really different. If something gets 'old' then it is no good.
Our culture does not respect or value what older people have to offer them. We could learn from other cultures that still hold up their elders with great respect and value their opinion.
Time for another coffee! lol

Sall's Country Life said...

This post just rendered me speechless! You are so dead on about today's generation feeling entitled to the latest and greatest gadget being marketed! We've become such a throw-away society, soon our trashed gadgets will out weigh our soil!! Where are our grand-parent's morals and why aren't we instilling them into our children?? Waste not - want not...if it ain't broke, why fix it?? Ugh, too many young people are wasting time texting when they could be sharing real face time with real experiences! Oh my this subject is a hot one for me! Forgive the long comment, but it is nice to hear someone else's stories of cherishing the things our parents struggled to buy for us. My principles are just as old as yours and I'm damn proud of them...now, what was I saying about being speechless??

V.L. Locey said...

Wow, this topic seems to resonate with many people! It just struck me how so many of the old principles seem to be getting tossed out with last years $500 cell phone by the upcoming generation. Maybe, once they mature more and have to earn thier own wages, they`ll come to understand how every penny counts.

P Cutting said...

You hit the nail on the head with this one! We grew up with this sentiment:
Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make do,
Or do without.