Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wild kids and animals?

There was a lot of important animal news in the weekly paper. Raccoon raids, puppies and kittens born, turtle burials, even the killing of a chicken hawk by a broom-wielding angry woman. Working mothers seemed to have caused the most widespread consternation, though. Both employed moms and inattentive schools were blamed in the press for juvenile delinquency. The Superintendent of Schools lectured in the state's schools, big and small, that the cure for problematic kids would be to get those darn working moms back home. The Superintendent's name began with a Mrs.!

To put things in perspective, however, it must be noted that the Island's delinquents seemed to be boys who badly aimed their BB guns (which all boys and even some girls, had - a rite of passage). Although there was one loudly reported incident of some kids doing damage to a vacant house. Not that such behavior should be chalked up to "just being kids." It's just that in comparison with the level of difficulties now, BB guns seem pretty tame.

It's a good thing the Island was pretty much crime-free. There was not an Island-based county sheriff until 1947. Because the county seat was(is) in Port Orchard and peace officers were headquartered in Bremerton, it was quite a long trip from or to the Island. Two ferry routes and a long highway stretch meant travelling either way would take a good three hours or more.

When I read and talk to people about those years, it seems that social events often ended in brawls. The Saturday dances at Stanley Park on the Island's north end, the Wing Point Country Club bashes, and the waterfront tavern referred to as "the bloody bucket" were all infamous for their apparently popular fisticuff events. Even Winslow council meetings could end in arguments. One time a well-known councilman and an attendee got into it after a meeting. I don't think the councilman resigned his post. He was just spirited.

Have we become more civilized? A state to ponder.

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