The circle of life

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The first thing I remember buying for my first born, was baby diapers. Friends, this was back in the 1940s before anybody even thought about making disposable diapers or anything like that. No one had figured out another way of doing the baby toilet training.

Just in case — and it’s no doubt true — some of you don’t know what a “regular” diaper is. It’s one made from cotton cloth. OK, you’re thinking, “what in the world do you do with that?” Once used, they’re emptied out via the usual means, a toilet, soaked in some kind of container with bleach water, then washed and hung out to dry. Believe it or not, they’re then reused.

In my life, during most of the last century, I used a wringer type washer machine, washing, rinsing and hanging diapers outside to dry, always hoping for a nice sunny day. If not, you did what was necessary, hanging the diapers in your basement or any place in the house where they could dry. In Pennsylvania it wasn’t always easy, but I did it through raising five sons.

Now, in my later years, and I DO mean later years, I find myself using the same kind of contraption my babies used, I sometimes must use a diaper. You’re surprised? You shouldn’t be. Of course not many older folks will admit to this, but they’re not telling you the truth. Now advertising is proving that not only are we ladies using diapers out of necessity, so are our male counterparts, even former football players.

I was watching one of those ads on TV advertising diapers for men, and I laughed out loud. It got my thinking about the way companies are advertising products that we never, ever advertised in any way, shape or form years ago. Now we actually openly advertise them on television. Let me tell you what it was like in the 1940s.

We all know that “ladies” have a product they must buy monthly that men don’t need. In the 1940s they were only sold in drugstores wrapped up in plain, brown paper and never left out on a shelf exposed for all to see. Yeah, like nobody knew what was inside of those brown paper bags. Sound ridiculous? Of course it was.

Today we not only have an assortment of these feminine “items” displayed in every supermarket, drugstore, or corner grocery, we also have adult diapers, as well as sections for other situations in adult bedrooms. This brings me to those ads on television that I find a little over the top. No, I find them a LOT over the top, friends. Do we really need advertisements on television talking about what goes on in our bedrooms, such as intimate adult toys?

Good grief, Mabel, enough already! Getting back to this diaper thing,

I really do appreciate this product. Most of us ladies get to a point — into our 70s or so — when we are up two or three times a night to head for the bathroom. It’s really annoying. But that’s life. We who have this problem want to go out into the real world comfortably to shop, or eat out, or whatever. Every time I go into Walmart or any supermarket, and find this particular product, I’m very thankful and grateful we’re not back in the 1940s. We need some items that keep us from embarrassing moments. But all of this causes a problem, one most people don’t think about. Ask anybody who works at a garbage disposable site about the enormous problem they have with the amount of baby diapers that pile up all over the place.

It’s a real problem. Of course I have a solution. Why don’t all these young mothers just buy real cotton diapers and clean them the way we had to do back in my day? Not only would that help with the environment and garbage disposable sites, it might save them a ton of money. However, who am I to talk? What about all those “adult” diapers that are also now filling those same sites?

Progress is fine and necessary, it really is. Thinking back to before anyone thought about we “old folks” and our aging problems, I’ll take today’s solutions instead of yesteryears. The reality of “the cycle of life” has finally set into this old gal’s brain.

So here’s a very heartfelt “thank you” to those who make products that comfort we old folks.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer.


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