I felt the need to add a My Opinion blog to my web page for one reason. I need a place to vent how I feel about things that are going on in our community today and the world around us. First of all how would someone define the word community. It has the proper definition as being a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. A feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals. According to this lengthy definition there can be many communities inside one large community but how many people are going to break it down to the smallest community in the cluster , listing them from least populated to most populated. Unless you are conducting a census I don’t think people give a shit about the community and what defines one.
I am a little over a half century old. I like to say that because it sounds cool and sophisticated to me. I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. When I was young I would ride my bike down the street noticing how the street went from paved to brick at a certain point which later on I learned that was the borderline of Cleveland and Brooklyn. The snowplows ended their shoveling at the border line made by the brick road. It was strange to me why they would do that just pile up the snow mounds for traffic to not get through when it was deep.
Back when I grew up all the neighbors knew each other. The street was full of family’s and a lot of kids grew up with us. My house was known for the strict father I had and there were times when the neighbors would be outside staring across the street at our house because Dad would be yelling at us or we would be getting a good old-fashioned ass whipping. The main thing was that we all looked out for each other. If someone was going to be out-of-town, the neighbor would get your mail and newspapers for you. They would tell on your kids if they were doing something bad and as long as our house was done first I could go make money by cutting grass and shoveling snow for the neighbors. There were four of us growing up and we would all work together to do the snow shoveling and make our money for Christmas or for a special want we had. We didn’t get an allowance. Dad said “You live here. Why would we pay you to do your chores?” Instilling a good work ethic in us kids was one of those things some fail to see. I began earning money when I was eight years old. By the time I was 12 years old, I had a job babysitting for the couple who lived on the next street directly behind us.
I would walk or ride my bike wherever I went. We weren’t carted around by our Mom to every place we wanted to go. We went together until we were old enough to go alone or with a friend from school. We felt safe going to school not worrying about being beat up for our tennis shoes or gunned down in the cafeteria in school. There wasn’t any cable television, we were lucky if we got different channels. We weren’t babied by our parents. We didn’t have cell phones or computers back then. If you wrote a letter, you had to write it with paper and pen, address an envelope, buy a postage stamp and walk to a mailbox three blocks over and put it into the blue mailbox. There wasn’t any e-mails or easy ways to send it within three seconds. You had to check your mailbox every day to see if you received a response. I had a pen pal in Sweden I wrote to once a month for a while and looked forward to hearing back from her.
We went outside to play all day, coming in for lunch and dinner even in the winter time. We built igloos in the back yard and forts in the summer. We went camping on weekends and had a lot of fun. We weren’t angels but we weren’t the worst kids in the city either. I went to school from kindergarten to graduation with the same people every year. You knew what was happening in your friends homes. There was no 696-kids or social workers at the door if you went to school with bruises or suspicions of molestation. The teachers knew what was going on and I believe they did their best at the time to help. Sometimes it just wasn’t enough. I believe 50 per cent of the kids in school got high off some type of drug. We had keg parties on weekends and got high before school.
I moved into this neighborhood a year ago and I have not met any of my neighbors. No one speaks to each other. There is not a sense of community any more. Last Halloween, I decorated the house and was going to pass out candy. Not one kid was trick or treating in the entire neighborhood. No houses are decorated for Christmas and if something happened to someone’s property not one person would be there to look out for them. I had burned my leg with hot grease in the summer. I was screaming bloody murder and not one person called a cop or reported a disturbance. I don’t know when it happened when kids couldn’t go outside to play because they are stuck in a game boy or x-box. I have not seen any children out in the winter playing in the snow or helping out the older neighbor living alone with their trash. What happened to the community that was once thriving. It is a sad state when not one person can tell or recognize when something is wrong with an individual who then walks out and shoots up a school killing six-year-old children.
I saw on the news today where a woman reported her ex-husband for threatening to make himself famous by killing more people in a Las Vegas casino she works in and keep killing until he finds her. She saved a lot of lives by reporting him. The FBI arrested him and now he is where he belongs and she is an unsung hero. She paid attention and took his threats seriously and had the courage to speak . Kudos to her and let her be an example that if someone says something about killing a bunch of people take it seriously and report them to the authority. Hey there is a form of gun control. Being a part of the community by reporting when something doesn’t seem right.
What are your views about community Share your comments with us