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Moseyin’ Along

Going back to the basics

April 23, 2015
Westfield Republican

This morning, as I read the paper, I came across an article that stopped my coffee cup in mid-sip.

It was one of those "now I've seen everything" moments.

The headline that jumped out at me said (and I'm not making this up, folks) "Cloth Diaper Workshop Offered."

The article opened with, "In recognition of Earth day this month, 'People for Trees' will sponsor a free workshop: 'Using Cloth Diapers, It's as Easy as A-B-C.'"

The piece continued, "over 27 billion disposable diapers end up in our landfills every year..and they will take from 250 to 500 years to decompose."

"The expense to parents for disposables is estimated to be from $800 to $1,000 a year for each child."

Then the article added the big come-on: "the program will include hands-on demonstrations on how to diaper a baby with a cloth diaper and how to deal with soiled diapers and a diaper pail."

I read the piece several times and even looked at the date to make sure it wasn't written on April 1st, April Fools Day.

No, this important opportunity for parents will be an honest to goodness workshop held at a local library.

The article made me realize something I've been ignoring in recent years. It confirmed, in black and white, the growing number of every-day items you and I have used all our lives that are quickly becoming obsolete.

A whole generation is growing up with little knowledge of such basic activities as adding a column of figures without the aid of a calculator, reading a letter written in script or deciphering a road map.

If this is any indication, I expect there will soon be an explosion of learning opportunities, from workshops to college courses, dealing with such topics as:

How to Operate Writing Instruments, including Pencils and Pens, for the Twitter Generation

How to Travel Without the Use of a GPS

Recognizing 20th Century Antiques such as Typewriters, Slide rules, Rotary Phones

How to Read a Book Printed on Paper

The Art of Letter Writing

Mastering Math Without a Calculator

Oven Baking for Nostalgia Buffs

You may think some of these titles are a bit over the top, but not according to recent conversations I've had. One friend told me, "I haven't used my oven in years." And another pal moaned, "Since my iPhone isn't working, I can't read my book!"

Today's youngsters are living in an era of electronic toys and tools that change almost daily. And, as the world adapts to the amazing capabilities of every new invention, folks are developing a language of abbreviations as well as short cuts for many of the activities of life.

I remember when fast food meant the apple I grabbed as I ran through the kitchen, posting was what you did when you dropped a letter in that big blue box on the corner, the telephone was used for only one thingconversations between two people and reality TV was when Barbara Walters mis-pronounced the name of a newly-installed African leader.

I'd love to meet the instructor who will be chosen to teach the "Cloth Diaper Workshop." No doubt it will be a grandmother who has had plenty of experience with babies' bottoms and one used to dealing with new parents who don't know which end is up.



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