- In many ways, my mom’s mom was a thoroughly modern woman. She was one of a small group of females who graduated from McGill University in Montreal in 1939. She played on the women’s hockey team, and was proud of the fact that never once in her life did she put on a pair of figure skates. At a time when none of her peers would ever opt for “menswear,” she donned pants for outdoor sports – considering skirts to be for sissies.
But in the realm of her home, my grandmother was a bit old-fashioned. She resisted disposable containers of any kind (particularly plastic), went out of her way to get local ingredients and never let a piece of food, fabric, yarn or furniture go to waste. She could always make something with the scraps; recycling was a way of life for her.
What Goes Around, Comes Around
In the new millenium, my grandma would be considered modern – leading-edge even. While she shied away from new technologies, she stayed true to her personal style and her own way of thinking, regardless of the flavour of the moment. Her anti-synthetic mentality may have seemed anti-style in the ’70s, but these days, fashion is embracing natural materials, textures and, increasingly, manufacturing processes like never before. And as consumers, we are encouraged more and more – by social forces and necessity – to consider the sources of our food, our resources, and where and how our favourite goods are made.
While there is still debate about the exact causes of global warming, I think we all agree that contributing to more waste and pollution is undesirable. We need to find newer, cleaner ways to enjoy the luxuries we’ve come to appreciate.
In the meantime, things have changed considerably since I lost my grandmother. It’s hard to say whether or not I’ve turned out much like her. I never took to competitive sports (I chose figure skating over hockey) and I’ve never really felt I had the time to do canning or preserving (homemade preserves were a staple in her pantry), but I often choose comfort and practicality over “fashion” and try to be super-conscientious about what I consume. If my grandmother taught me anything, it was how to be true to myself.