By Jim Raykie
Herald Executive Editor
I thought about this recently in a store when I was playing peek-a-boo with a child in a nearby shopping cart. The little girl giggled at the sight of a guy in a tassel hat making faces at her as she gazed around the aisle.
Shortly, the adult who she was with returned to the cart with a wary look and sped off to the dairy section. My wife, grounded in common sense, was aware of what was happening and said, “Jim, you just can’t do that these days, you have to be careful.”
I realized that she was right, sadly so, and grumbled how the widespread perversion involving adults and children have made parents suspicious of everyone when it comes to their children – rightfully so.
Last week when I looked at Facebook, I saw an old photo posted by a friend, Jill Cattron Mihocko, of her grandfather, Doc Cattron, standing on the corner of Main Street and Mercer Avenue in Sharpsville in front of his house near the former Deeter School (Wade Mertz Towers occupies that location today).
Many of the comments said how much Doc had enjoyed waving to passersby, and especially to the children who rode the bus to school.
I thought about my expererience in the store. If Doc Cattron was standing on the street corner today waving at young Sharpsville students, Sharpsville police probably would be watching him closely or it would be a topic of discussion at a Sharpsville Area School Board meeting.
All of this sounds incredible to folks of my generation. When we were growing up, we didn’t have to live with such cynicism. When we walked to and from Farrell Junior High every day, the same people would sit on their porches in the morning, and say hello. One older gentleman offered candy – butterscotch balls – every morning. He was a terrific old guy, but try getting away with that today.
It doesn’t help matters when almost every story published in The Herald about the sexual abuse of a child, someone says, “No one would have suspected it. He was such a nice guy and a good neighbor. Who would have thought he could do anything like this?”
Things are getting so bad that some parents don’t let their children go trick-or-treating at Halloween or sit on Santa’s lap during Christmas shopping.
Granted, much of the skepticism borders on hysteria, but folks would argue that one can’t be too careful these days.
They’re probably right, and that’s the shame of it.
Something’s amiss here
Many years ago, I nominated former Farrell High basketball Coach Ed McCluskey for induction into the national Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for the high school category.
He didn’t make it and that comprehensive file on him is probably collecting dust in the stacks of archives at the Hall in Springfield, Mass.
Mac died in 1987 and never was awarded the honor that he truly deserved.
I find it absurd that a clown like former NBA star Dennis Rodman, our latest “ambassador” to North Korea, has been enshrined in Springfield.
It’s crazy, like him.
Jim Raykie is the editor of The Herald and his column is published on Mondays.