Yvonne Hollenbeck: A Spoiled Generation Perhaps?
Thinking back to my younger days, I’m sure a lot of us, myself included, were somewhat spoiled. Money was tight and frivolous spending was unheard of, but I remember wanting a bicycle and received one for my birthday…a used one that cost $5.00, which was a big item back then. My sisters and I got an allowance, which to begin with was ten cents per week. As we got older, probably about 4th grade age, it got bumped up to 25 cents a week, provided we did our chores and helped whenever asked. Soon we were babysitting, car hopping, and working outside the home for our spending money and thus ended our allowance. Each year, before school started, our parents bought us a new pair of shoes and a couple new school dresses, and always had warm winter clothing. Being the youngest of four girls, you can about imagine the hand-me-downs I wore. If we wanted a new sweater or anything special, we had to buy it ourselves and you can bet we learned to take care of our clothing and possessions. We were no different than any other family of that era. Boys and girls learned to work and to take care of what we had. Very few young folks had a car gifted to them, much less plenty of spending money handed to them.
Several years ago there was damage to the beautiful lawn at the Valentine Rural High School. Someone had driven their vehicle onto the lawn, tore wheelies in the turf and peeled rubber on the sidewalks. After seeing this, I recall my husband saying, “Well, whoever did that never had to buy his own tires.”
Another incident that will bother me to the end of my days, involved our community. We were trying to raise money to fix up the Clearfield Hall. One of the projects was to make directional signs. We charged $15.00 per board and sold enough for ten signs, with at least ten names/boards on each. A workshop was set up in one of our sheds and for several days a number of neighbor ladies worked tirelessly sanding, hot branding the lettering on each board, painting them (two coats), then meticulously painting the lettering. Posts and supplies were purchased and one Sunday afternoon, groups of neighbor men with their loader tractors, placed the signs on various corners in Southern Tripp County. It was just a matter of days when most of the signs were destroyed by vandals. Sadly, the group decided to remake them so went through the same ordeal. This time the men welded frameworks from pipe which they hoped would thwart the efforts of vandals trying to bust them over. It wasn’t a month later when most of the boards were busted from the framework. One night, someone shot the windows out of the hall. None of this made any sense.
The horrible events of rioting and destruction that has taken place in our country this past year is basically in a much larger scale than what our small communities suffer, but one can only wonder why? I’m sure some of the perpetrators were just following the crowd, some were angry because of political issues, some had other issues they were venting through all this, and who knows what all, but they acted like spoiled kids throwing a fit because they didn’t get their own way. I know what most of us would have received if we had even thought of acting that way when we were young, and it would not have been pleasant. Like the goofballs that damage public property and vacant farmsteads, that blow holes in road signs with high powered rifles (sometimes with livestock grazing beyond them); they apparently never learned to respect other folks’ property. I certainly hope there are lessons learned from all of this, and that somehow we can learn to respect one another, but I cannot help but wonder if we are witnessing a spoiled generation.
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