Perhaps due to depression-era patterns established long ago, Grandma would always have 30+ rolls of paper towel in her home. The closet between the back bedroom had a bottom shelf that was dedicated to her favorite brands at the time:
Hi-Dry was a favorite, especially in the early 80’s.
Viva took over when the Hi-Dry corporation went, well, high and dry.
Brawny certainly had a place in her paper towel shelf.
Bounty was her brand of choice most of the time.
Grandma would make us climb the shelves of the supermarket to find her Bounty with teal printing on the paper towel roll itself. This was because her kitchen counter was teal, and these must match. A visit to the grocery store (A&P, later Farmer Jack) was triggered by the paper towel level in the closet dropping to dangerous levels. She would panic when there were only 15 rolls.
“Grandma, what happens if you run out of paper towel?”
The answer didn’t matter. Maybe my sister can remember how she answered that question, but I don’t. It didn’t matter. We were going to the store and I was going to climb the shelves.
For Grandma, paper towel was a currency to pay the bills — the bills of spilled milk, dirty walls, wet dishes, and crummy counter tops. She was rich, like some kind of wealthy land owner on a very messy island.
This is what I grew up with. It seemed normal until now.
A TED talk reminded me. These memories came into my mind like a thick fog that couldn’t be wiped up. The TED talk suggested that we use too much paper towel and suggested the “shake and fold” method for using less paper towel. On one hand, I’m glad we’re working to conserve. On the other hand, I’m glad that Grandma isn’t around to see such blasphemy.
It’s because of her that I get eerily uncomfortable when the paper towel is out. It just doesn’t feel right to use Taco Bell napkins. It seems strange to use a dish towel. Wiping my hands off on my pants only works on days when I’m not going to the office.
Then again, let’s save the environment.