I learned sustainable ways from watching my Grandmother, but it was never a lesson she vocalized, it was through watching her actions over the years. She would never think of it as sustainable though, she would think it is resourceful. She grew up in Kansas during the depression with 12 brothers and sisters. There were hand-me-downs, and items were used and re-purposed nothing was thrown away.
The greatest example of seeing the sustainable and appreciative way that she treats all items in her house is during the holidays. Every year my Dad’s side of the family goes to my grandparents house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. After dinner and the activities wind down we help my grandmother dry the dishes. Now this is a process that us grandchildren cannot understand. My Grandparents have a dishwasher, but they use it as storage, this astounds us. So we hand dry the dishes after my grandmother hand washes them. She is at the sink and the four of us create an assembly line, we dry and then put the dishes away.
As she hands the dishes to us she shares that the dishes we are drying are the fine china she received as wedding gift over 60 years ago. The towels we are using to dry the dishes are made from an old blanket that used to be on my dads bed when he was a kid. The holes in the towels are also mended with stitches, not thrown away until they are worn away.
She values the items and holds on to them making sure to fix them before throwing them away. As I think about it, this is a concept that has been long forgotten and it was not until this year that I realized how amazing this really is. I hope to incorporate these ideals and ways more into my own life and through Ellery as well. Join me on this journey won’t you?