Too much of a good thing

Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

On The Way

By Olivia Fowler

We’re constantly told we’re living in the information age, but I’m not convinced this is the best thing that ever happened to mankind.

All we have to do is turn on the television and we’re inundated with reports that shock, scare or flabbergast us. We’re told that yellow dye No. 5 will give us cancer and our mattresses are full of dust mites and dead skin. The latter info I could do without.

Although it’s good to know about yellow dye no. 5, the color added to Mountain Dew and Sundrop for as many years as I’ve been alive, the news has probably come too late to make a difference to people of my generation. I quit drinking them some time back but unfortunately consumed enough gallons during my late teens and twenties to put me into a high risk category… There’s still time for all those younger people out there, and I wish them well.

But the alleged facts about mattresses are another matter. We are being advised to replace our mattresses every eight years because they’ve become repositories for so much disgusting microscopic dirt we may be risking our lives by sleeping on them. Replace them with what, I’d like to know. We surely aren’t expected to cough up the money for new mattresses every eight years. Nobody in their right mind would do this.

Maybe our used mattresses are hazardous to our health… But I have my doubts. I know for a fact that there were mattresses in my Grandmama’s house that were used by at least three generations. When a mattress became too decrepit for further use it was sent to be restuffed and recovered. This is something many households did.

I can remember taking feather pillows down the road to Lena McPhatter, a nice old lady who would take the pillow ticking apart and spread the feathers out on an old table covered with screen wire in the back yard. She’d turn and fluff the feathers daily so the sun and fresh air did their work. Then she’d wash the pillow ticking and hang it on the line to dry in the hot sun before restuffing and stitching the pillows.

This routine took place every spring, and the pillows supported generations of heads.

We were taught to reuse everything until there was practically nothing left. We passed down coats and clothes to the next in line.

So much of the information we are drowning in seems bent on convincing us that we don’t have the right clothes, makeup, hairstyle or toy. We must have new gadgets, toys, cars and appliances.

I just don’t agree. I’ve never seen anybody made happy by owning things. Nor have I ever met a mega-consumer who seemed satisfied with what they have.

The newest mattress in our house is probably 20 years old. We still refer to it as the new mattress. And there’s not a thing wrong with it. So I guess we’ll keep it. I hope this doesn’t bring the mattress industry to the brink of economic ruin, but if so, so be it.