By Stephanie Walker.

“No, really!”, she said. Her old back creaking as she lifted her granddaughter onto her lap. “There really was a time when you could drink water right from the tap in the kitchen sink. I mean, some people bought water in bottles but back then it was to be fancy, not because that was the only way.”

“But how could that be true, Grandma? Those huge unsalting machines take so long to clean just a bit of ocean water. How could there ever have been enough to come right to a house?”

Carolyn laughed. “You mean the desalination machines, Libby. You just turned eight years old, but believe it or not, when I was your age, about sixty years ago, we used to waste water!”

“Waste water?” Libby gasped. “Grandma! And they didn’t put you in jail?”

“No, honey. We didn’t know back then. We just didn’t know how little freshwater we had left,” Carolyn said, hugging her granddaughter close as she looked over to the rusty old faucet in the dry, unused kitchen sink.

“We should have paid attention honey, but we thought we had time. Now we have to pay so much money for one whole gallon of desalinated water.” Carolyn laughed again sadly. “It reminds me of the days when gasoline was so expensive.”

“What’s a gasoline, Grandma?”, asked Libby, eyes wide with wonder.

Carolyn smiled at Libby and said, “Sit with me for a little while longer, darling, and I will tell you all about the gasoline.”

Photo by Darla Hueske.

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