|This morning when I slipped on a new pair of slippers I noticed the tag which said that the slipper was made from man made material in China. Nothing new about that. Practically everything I buy says the same thing, even the beautifully made U. S. Army Sherman tank I bought as a birthday gift for Chuckie.
Good grief, I thought was there ever a time when products were either natural material and not made in China? Of course there was even though I’m sure my children can’t remember it.
My earliest memory of the wonder of synthetics was nylon stockings, just before I was considered old enough to wear them. Before then ladies hosiery was made of rayon or silk. Anything silk or cotton I could wear with ease and comfort, anything made of rayon or wool made me itch unbearably. Nylon made my life much more worth living.
Nylon seemed to open the doors to laboratories producing the wonders of the modern age from nylon to Teflon and way beyond. Every day there was yet another product to hear about and learn about using and many of them seemed to be the answer to a personal problem.
Two biggies were scotch tape and the ball point pen. People forget that prior to scotch tape almost everything had to be pasted and not with the easily applied Elmer’s glue but with thick, sticky stuff that was hard to handle and miserably messy. I remember with horror trying to use it to make the numerous scrap book type projects demanded in school and, particularly, by my Girl Scout leader. It didn’t help that I was manually feeble.
Scotch tape was and still is, wonderful but, believe it or not I still have lots of trouble using it without becoming entangled or lousing up the piece I’m trying to get off the roll.
Until the advent of the ball point pen I would go to the ends of the earth to avoid using ink. I couldn’t avoid it because cursive writing was taught in the early grades using a pen with a nib that had to be dipped into an inkwell. It’s too painful to remember the spills and inkblots, (indelible), I had to endure, not to mention my poor mother who had the job of trying to get rid of them. It’s no wonder she bought me one of the first ballpoints ever sold.
I’ve always had detergents available for laundry and dishes. As a child, however, I remember Mama using soap for both chores. The biggest drawback was the trouble rinsing anything washed in either. It took a lot of work, time and water to do the job successfully. Not doing it well could lead to stiff clothes and stomach trouble.
The various wraps caused a big sensation. Aluminum foil was considered something of a marvel. Before it, foil for wrapping was called tinfoil and whether or not it was made of tin I still don’t know. You never could cook with it and I don’t remember its commercial usage except I think it was used in cigarette packs and people were asked to retrieve, keep it and turn it in to the government during World War Two for military purposes.
Go through the house and see how many synthetics you can find and name. I’m almost afraid to. In addition, try to find how many objects are made in the USA. The first quest could take you all day, the second just a few minutes.
The plastic wraps were also an innovation. Anything you wanted preserved could be wrapped and saved. From sandwiches to documents. That is, if you can handle the darned stuff, which I can’t. No matter how many times I try I cannot manage to pull off a piece and not have it fold back onto itself, never to be straightened out. Forget covering a plate or bowl. I yank out a piece of foil which I can use - if it’s the super heavy variety.
I find myself in the middle of a deep dichotomy. Take my new slippers. I refuse to wear anything made from animals so how can I object to my footwear of faux suede and shearling? I can’t. They feel and look like the real thing, but couldn’t they have been made in Bangor and not Beijing?