The Signal Tribune newspaper

The last straw?

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I was a schoolboy in England during World War II, and every day all the students received a third of a pint of milk, which we drank through a straw. Plastic had not been invented at that time, and the straws were made from wheat stems cut to length. That’s why they are called straws!

Soft drinks, soda and milk shakes just didn’t exist, so there was little for a child to drink except water, milk or home-made juice drinks when fruit was available. That never worried us, and my siblings and I grew up to be quite a healthy bunch.

As for the straws, they were quite strong, and we would poke the narrow end of one into the wide end of another to make long spears, which, of course, we threw at each other when the teacher was not looking.

After the war, paper straws appeared. They got soggy very quickly and were not as much fun as the straw straws. But they came in pretty colors and very quickly the biodegradable straws almost disappeared. But they’re not all gone! There are still companies that cut, sterilize and sell real straw straws. If everybody used them, we would soon see the end of plastic straws. We don’t need government regulations. We just need consumers insisting on the genuine article.

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Serving Bixby Knolls, California Heights, Los Cerritos, Wrigley and Signal Hill
The last straw?