My grandmother was born in the 1920s. She lived until the autumn of 2020, but well before her death (at the age of 94) she was no longer at home in this world. Addy had no telephone or computer. She read the newspaper, but what it contained did not mean much to her anymore. Not only because her mental health was deteriorating, but especially because of the unimaginable changes that had taken place in the timespan of her life.
As her Alzheimer progressed, Addy's memories went further and further back in time. It didn't bother her that she often told people the same story. I enjoyed dreaming away in a world of days gone by that I had never experienced. As a child, my grandmother had consciously experienced the scarcity of the war years and she had never stopped living frugally. People didn't know any better in the old days. The grocer on the corner sold his goods plastic-free and he knew the origin of his products. You paid quite some money for new purchases, but they were enjoyed for decades or even generations. Shoemakers and tailors did creditable work, as did handy housewives and grandmothers. Nothing was wasted.
“Sometimes, a feeling of nostalgia for the old days creeps up on me. I wonder why the quality of the past is no longer available. Our shoes and coats last only a few years at most and even electrical devices have an increasingly short lifespan. Is this progress? I find it incomprehensible that masses of clothes are being burnt every year without being worn. And that thousands of chickens are being killed due to bird flu." I hear my grandmother cry out in indignation. No, Addy did not understand any of this, but neither do I. Have we not gone too far in our conception of prosperity?
I now own my grandmother's sewing equipment. Now that she is gone, I repair my own clothes. Old-fashioned? Not at all. I believe that with today's knowledge and resources, we can work together on a future-proof economy, one where production is not about money, but in service of life on earth. For me, the future belongs to things that last a lifetime, so that my grandchildren will also be able to say "Look, this was grandma's".