Felisa Rogers' essay about the embarrassment she felt toward her eccentric hippie parents' intensely eco-friendly behavior -- from composting to hand sewing her clothes to shunning labels of any kind -- drew nods of sympathy from letter writers. "That sounded like my childhood, too," wrote S.K. Veln. "I feel your pain," wrote Bergenia. But our favorite response came from Parisho, who reminded us that such creative frugality is certainly not singular to 70s' outliers (or the trendy green warriors of the 21st century).
My parents were older than yours and had lived through the Great Depression. Trust me, in some ways your hippie parents were just like my older children of the Great Depression parents. They would never throw anything out if it could be reused. I never went to school with clothes my mother hadn't sewn herself, and I don't think my parents ever once paid someone to fix anything in the house. My dad did all the plumbing, electrical, construction, etc., and any work on the car. My mom cooked from scratch and we never threw away left overs. We didn't use paper towels when she had tons of rags instead. We had a garden in the back yard and our compost all went into the garden so we didn't have to look for pigs to feed. Oddly enough, we never considered ourself anything but middle class. Funny really, they were a lot like the hippies they professed to hate with their long hair and loud rock and roll, while your hippie parents were just a throw-back to an older generation.
To read the rest of the letters, click here.