A baby-boomer's answer to a green ice-breaker question

Twenty-somethings felt their efforts put "[image-1]


I'm all for "green", born on the green, first day of spring. For many, over the years, thoughts of sustainability, has been a matter of direction and degree. The impetus around it depended on the decade, where one lived, their partner at the time, public awareness, economic urgency, convenience, or a lack thereof.


I wondered what my green story was and down the rabbit hole I went. My favorite introspection spot is out on my second floor porch, surrounded in lush greenery, swinging in my purple hanging chair. I feel like a human pendulum. "Start anywhere and follow it everywhere." I quickly jumped back to recollections of the mid-70's, on vacation with my best friend in Boulder, CO and the Renaissance Festival (where I purchased said chair). Boulder, a town where everyone was my age, artistic and full of joy. Granted it was an Amsterdam of sorts with its proclivity towards chemically-enhanced attitudes. But what a lifestyle-- nothing, yet everything mattered. I was enthralled by how conscious (hemp clothing), healthy (my first encounter with yoghurt & granola on a menu), friendly & unconventional (love the one you're with) and ecologically natural it all was. Compared to Florida as depicted in retirement ads, this seemed more real. The floodgates were opened and juicy memories spilled forth.


A Baby-Boomer's retrospective: introduction to strained, jarred baby food of the green variety. The taste matched the color, which immediately was spit forth to make challenging food stains. Dexterity was learned with canned green peas-objects to smash, flick, smear and otherwise drive my mother nuts as the firstborn. Mornings with the loveable Mr. Green Jeans, handyman and sidekick of Captain Kangaroo, on a black and white RCA TV with rabbit ears. 1960's and Dr. Seuss, "I do not like Green Eggs and Ham, I do not like them Sam I am"...a clever way for parents to fool us back into trying green foods again. Popeye and cans of green spinach.


The 4-H line "green is for growth" and the penciled height marks on the doorframe. Playing outside in nature's greenery from sunup to sundown without supervision or fear.  Learning green isn't a primary color and the magic in mixing blue and yellow to create it. Singing songs in the station wagon, "Green for go, red for stop, be your own little traffic cop." Exploring the Crayola box to pick the right shade of green for a drawing to be proudly displayed beneath tacky magnets on the fridge. Lime green Jell-o in a fancy mold filled with fruit cocktail was sweet. Green limes were not. Daring a friend to bite-into-a-slice-without-making-a-face.


Roughhousing at recess with bruises resulting. Watching my skin transition from purples and blues to green and then yellow. As a tomboy, sliding in the grass, getting green stains on my knees and rear. The laundry powder (with a free glass inside) could not get them out but then Gain detergent hit the shelves in the green box with green crystals that promised everything. Faking being "green around the gills" to get out of school. And if I truly had a cold, learning the significance of clear, yellow and green mucous to enhance chances of being convincing.


Red marks on a geography test for thinking Greenland was green and Iceland was ice. Overhearing my step-father's conversations about patients with gangrene-not a good thing. Green Acres, a slice of farm living and the very cool Kato and the Green Hornet adventures. Reading the Lucky Charms box at breakfast, hating the marshmallows but wishing to have Leprechaun's green powers.


Why were brown uniforms worn by Brownies but green uniforms, beret and merit badge sash were worn by Girl Scouts? Wearing orange on St. Patrick's Day, in honor of William of Orange, because Dad is Protestant. Then getting pinched by Catholic schoolmates because I didn't wear a bit o' green. Finding out Mom was a resident alien with a Green Card but the card is blue. Driving up to Quebec every summer where trees are evergreen. Grandparents who had extreme green thumbs-today they would be considered organic gardeners. Seeing the effects of swimming pool chlorine on friends' green-blonde hair. Licking each and every S&H Green Stamp to complete books for redemption shopping-free stuff.


Ghost stories shared around the campfire led to science fiction tales of green men from Mars. Picking green black walnuts to dry in the sun and having dyed green hands for weeks. Living vicariously through comic books. 1970s introduced The Green Team, a try-out magazine of DC Comics, where the prerequisite for joining was one million dollars to pay fortunes to anyone who could offer the team a worthy adventure. Meeting the green-eyed monster amidst young love and broken hearts. Greensleeves on the record player each Christmas. Green Bay Packers.


Being green at a new job. Exploring greener grass on the other side of the fence, trying out new careers in pursuit of more greenbacks. Getting the green light on a project. Waiting in the Green Room for my 15 seconds of fame then shooting it in front of a green screen location. Exposure to Soul Food of collards, kale, chard and turnip greens, now considered nutrient-dense health food. Being greenwashed about Simple Green that cleaned mechanics' hands equally with fine silk. Green Goddess dressing that isn't green. Blue-green algae supplements-good, green algae bloom-not good. Green slime, golf course greens, Soylent Green, Fried Green Tomatoes. Two of my favorite movies-Green Destiny and The Green Mile. The Green Party, Green Politics, Greenpeace, green tea, Y2K run on heirloom seeds for the greenhouse, Greenhouse effect, 4th Chakra color of the heart, green auras around caretakers and health workers, building community around the village green.


Lately green is an adjective for almost  everything-- green jobs, green collar careers, green economy/buildings/packaging/agriculture/curriculum/living, etc. Doesn't it all boil down to homeostasis within and among all living systems? My hope for all is to remain healthy, living authentically and happily passionate until like a workhorse, being put out to green pastures.

"What has "Green" ever meant or been associated with for you?" Go ahead, try it. Don't limit yourself to the media's current interpretation. Put your green-tinted glasses on, go way back to your childhood and recall everything labeled green. I randomly went up to strangers and tried this question out as a non-threatening ice-breaker. It worked—sparking fun, interesting remembrances that gave us insights on each other's life experiences.

Theses days anything that can support meaningful conversation, to find connection with another, is a great place to begin. No matter what our beliefs, we're all roommates on Planet Earth. As we hurtle through space on this relatively small speck of mostly collaborating rocks, soil, water, air, and organisms—we might as well converse.

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