By Jim Raykie
It’s a scary world out there. It leaves me scratching my head about where, why and when society began to go wrong.
The world was far different for folks of my generation when we were kids. I know. I know. Things never stay the same. And people may get tired of hearing how good things were “back in the day.” But some things still leave me scratching my head, nonetheless. All one has to do is read The Herald on a regular basis to learn of the dysfunction in some elements of society, rearing its ugly head right here in the communities that we call home. Things we seldom heard about or that seldom happened in the 1960s or in the preceding years.
Like on Wednesday night in Sharon. A 16-year-old mugs a 77-year-old disabled woman – who was using a walker – while she was walking home from shopping at Sharon City Centre shortly after 8 p.m.
Or all of the vile perversion that is running rampant in our area. It’s almost daily, you can find a story about adults sexually molesting very young children, some of whom have yet to reach an age of double digits. I often wonder what my no-nonsense grandfather would say about all of this. When I was growing up, I remember him having little tolerance for community misfits.
When I see stories about all of the theft of scrap, especially copper pipe, it brings to mind my days of dealing “scrap.” But far different than copper and other metals. We saved the foil from wrappers of sticks of gum, and after tediously removing the paper backings, we crunched them into a ball. When it got to be about the size of a baseball, we would take our carefully guarded ball to scrap dealer Chubby Marini in the alley between the 1100 blocks of Hamilton and Emerson Avenues in Farrell.
In the summer, we would find Chubby sitting in an easy chair near his garage that fronted the alley – scales and scrap all around. He’d weigh our stash, and would give us enough money to make a quick trip to Pastryland Bakery on Idaho Street between Emerson and Beechwood avenues for a bottle of Coke, some Popsicles, or fresh doughnuts.
Depending upon the weight of our metal ball, or Chubby’s generosity that day, we might have enough remaining to stop by the G.C. Murphy Store on Idaho and buy the hit 45 record of the week. Or pass on the record and catch a movie at the Columbia Theatre in Sharon or at The Capitol on Idaho.
The debate rages at think tanks across America about the root of these problems plaguing our communities. Video games and the Internet always come up, but my take on it is bad parenting, and sadly in many cases, no parenting – all leading to a lack of role models for today’s kids.
Harvest moon harbinger of winter
The Harvest moon last week was magnificent. But that big old orb, combined with the annual job of closing our pool for the season, was a big bright signal – of winter lurking around the corner. People always tell me: “If you hate winter so much just move.”
Well, it’s not that simple. Yes, I loathe winter and the snow that it brings, but this area is my home filled with family and lifelong friends. I enjoy having a drink with them as the snowflakes fly by the windows as the trucks driven by members of the community street crew roar by with yellow lights flickering.
Bottom line is – for as much as I love the heat of summer and hate the conditions of winter, I value my area roots and my friendships to a much greater degree and prefer to complain to them about the ills of changing seasons.
Jim Raykie is executive editor of The Herald and writes this column on Mondays.