Letters to the editor: Sept. 4-5, 2021

The Shawnee News-Star

'Youngsters' with freedom

Dear editor,

As I aged out of childhood, our summer activities matured also. Walking to my buddy Damon’s house across the golf course [now a housing addition], I stopped to use their hose to poke down a ground squirrel’s hole. They came out mightily agitated but otherwise unharmed.

Damon loaned me his grandfather’s double-barrel, breech-loading shotgun. I loaded one end with a marble stuffed in with a cloth pad and the other end with a three-inch firecracker with its fuse snaked through the opening in the breech. It was where I learned to shoot within a yard or so of turtles in the Willow Street Creek. They were safe and not even bothered.

By sixth grade we boys had built tree houses on both sides of the Washington Street Creek-also now a 48” storm sewer beneath a housing addition. Like Tarzan [Johnny Weismiller to us], we swung from one side to the other — if we made it. Sometimes we walked in the swollen creek in water up to our necks. Damon’s dad built his own house with homemade concrete blocks, which we helped fill with homemade cement on occasion.

Not living near any body of water, we fished with a limb, cord, and some salt pork. We didn’t catch them with a hook: they grabbed our bait. I don’t recall what we did with them. The fun was fishing, not catching.

Summer ended and school—and shoes—resumed. A man came to our sixth grade class and asked if we would like to earn a ticket to the circus. Naturally I volunteered and got to be one of the two boys holding a 4 ft. steel tent stake while three employees of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus pounded it into the ground to hold up their three-ring circus. [Now defunct.]

Leaving Moler Drug where I bought a cherry phosphate fountain drink – both also extinct — I crossed the street to the vacant lot where the minstrel show could be seen nightly. It was a truck with its entire side that was hinged to create a stage for its performers. It was free and funded by various potions that apparently cured everything! Walking on, I passed the Bond Bread Company with the wonderful aroma of baking bread.

Youngsters now may enjoy more exciting activities, but we enjoyed more freedom.

Bob Allison

Shawnee

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Wearing masks works to control the spread of COVID

Dear Editor

“Oklahomans want parents to be able to choose the health options and what’s best for their kids” says Oklahoma Governor Stitt. Has Stitt looked at the child abuse statistics? In 2019 over 15,000 kids were reported victims of child abuse. Clearly there are some not great parents. Other parents lurk in the gray realm of benign neglect. We’ve all taken care of their children too. I want to believe most parents do care for their offspring. The schools are doing everything they can to control this latest outbreak of the COVID-19. Everyone needs to be on the same page to assure the health and safety of not only kids but their teachers and school staff. What’s so hard about wearing a mask?

What exactly is the Oklahoma Republican platform on children’s lives? They go to unprecedented lengths to legislate control over women’s reproductive rights (not men’s) to assure unwanted babies, for any reason, will be born. When these and other babies get older, what then? Save children from abortion to let them die or possibly be affected for life by a virus? Where’s the concern or care for our youth? What kind of hypocrisy is this? The all-encompassing pandemic is reaching deeper into younger populations. Even college campuses are again going virtual because of so many Delta cases.

Health officials have proven time and again wearing masks works to control the spread of this nasty disease. How would people react if this virus had killed and infected children instead of the older population. COVID has so far killed 642,000 people in year and a half.

Oklahoma schools, despite being underfunded, are trying to keep their people healthy and need strong support. The goal: schools full of learning and life.

How does endangering our youth and the rest of the population benefit anyone?

Deane Carlberg

Shawnee

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