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Letters: A look at how times have changed; Buy native bushes to help the environment; Less government efficiency, please| READER COMMENTARY

A look at how times have changed

As I grow older and wiser, I think back to another time in my youth as to how life has evolved or changed. For better or worse depends on one’s point of view.

1. 1940s: 3-cent stamps and penny postcards.

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2. 1950s: Interest rates on bank savings at 6%.

3. Your weekly pay was paid in cash, no deductions. It you earned $40 a week, you got paid $40 in cash.

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4. School vacation meant no school only. There was no planned family vacation, no weekend trips, only free time at home, plus chores. It was barefoot time from June to September.

5. Hershey bars, 5 cents; Cok 5 cents and penny candy galore.

6. Snow tires on your car from November to March. In snow states, you could be fined if no snow tires were on your car in winter.

7. Highways were not salted for snow. They were ashed by hand from the county road truck.

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8. Candidates for local offices handing out Tootsie Rolls to voters as they entered to vote (banned now).

9. Elementary school kids selling 10-cent packs of garden seeds in the spring for the PTA.

10. Elementary teachers teaching two grades in one room. No school buses, no snow days.

11. Big department stores with an elevator operator sitting on a stool, with a jaunty cap, taking you to your requested floor.

12. Mother was always home with a hot cooked meal from a wood stove.

13. World War II vets returning from war in 1945, bringing softball to its fruition. Leagues were started, the ball was soft (mushball), no gloves for fielders and wooden bats only.

14. Easter egg hunts with real hardboiled eggs.

15. When grandma was a child’s best friend.

As I pen this, am I showing my age?

Harry H. Griffith Sr., Hampstead

Buy native bushes to help the environment

On April 18, there was an informative column with lovely photographs about author Judy Hake’s efforts to establish a pollinator garden. To the writer’s credit, she mentioned many species of flowers that would provide food and resources for all types of pollinators, even including moths which do much more work at night with populations far outranking those of butterflies.

In the article she mentioned the butterfly bush which she acknowledged was labeled as invasive but to her observations, that seemed contrary. Indeed, this bush does attract several different kinds of pollinators. However, the problem with invasiveness appears when the 40,000 seeds that form on one single flower spike (among many) will disperse by the wind or by birds who fly to trees after having pecked at the seeds which pass through to the droppings left on the ground. Eventually, the bushes that grow from these seeds crowd out native flora that do provide food and shelter for caterpillars and other fauna. (Butterfly bushes do not provide food for caterpillars.) Without caterpillar food nearby like milkweed or dill, the adult female butterfly won’t lay her eggs. Then the butterfly population is reduced. Also, this Asian bush crowds out native bushes. (This information came from a google search “butterfly bushes invasive” which led to the Brandywine Conservancy website.)

In addition, the birds with seeds in their bellies go to forests. Years ago I read that the resulting sprouted butterfly bushes have taken over entire forest floors, thus crowding out the native flora. Then of course the animals that need those familiar plants can’t find food and die out. Plus the butterfly bushes and pollinators that like them won’t thrive in the shady forest, a tragedy all around.

When someone asked me about butterfly bushes and I told him that scenario, he said that his neighbor had a tree under which there were several volunteer butterfly bushes, probably having sprouted from birds flying to that tree after pecking at his bush.

If you have a butterfly bush, cut the flowers back as soon as they fade to prevent the wind and birds from scattering the seeds. Better still, buy native bushes like clethra or plants like joe pye weed, coneflowers or liatris and help the environment in so many ways.

Dee Krasnansky, Westminster

Less government efficiency, please

I was so thrilled to read that the Trump appointee heading up the Social Security Administration wants to stay on the job because he is improving efficiency.

We’ve all seen and been impacted by another Trump efficiency “expert”' at the U.S. Postal Service, laying off employees and reducing benefits doesn’t make any business more efficient.

Could be we need less efficiency in both organizations, but more empathy.

Albert D. Taymans, Westminster

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