Thursday, September 1, 2011

1 September 1957 “Hurricane Irene, Rental Dilemmas and Idle Teen-Agers”

Here we are entering September and I was hoping to get back into my daily posting swing. We have, alas, not as yet found tenants for the house. As you well know by now, the level of cleaning and disposing of garbage was so in depth during the last three weeks of August, that I was only able to begin showing the house yesterday.

I have also not posted after Irene came through. We, here on the Cape, were lucky in that we had none of the rain. Our winds did gust strong enough to break some trees in half and really litter the yard with branches. Over all, it was rather like a strong Nor’easter, which we are rather used to here on the East Coast. We did lose power for roughly one day, but were happily restored quite quickly. All our preparations, thank goodness, were not needed.

We did enjoy some kerosene lamp fueled Scrabble and endless hands of Gin and tinned food. Though we could easily have used Gussie’s stove, which is propane, we opted not to. She lives in a little cottage on our property, but we didn’t feel safe running between the main house and it as we did witness one of our trees hitting a power line and sending sparks flying. So, we happily played “Little House on the Prairie” and enjoyed the flickering gas light on our old wooden beamed ceilings.

However, the continuing bad luck of our rental house became apparent the day after Irene. I drove there to check it out and to prepare for the first showings the next day. As I drove down the street, I was pleasantly surprised to see no downed trees and really not even any way ward branches. The street seemed to be untouched by the high winds. That assumption soon became false as I turned into the drive of the rental house. There, blocking most of the drive and my access to the side door and deck, were two large trees down and one half broken but hanging a good 20 feet in the air.

So, back home to get hubby (who had the day off, but was coming down with a cold and was hoping to stay in bed) and return to the property. We spent the rest of the day chain sawing and moving all the lumber and branches out of the drive and into the wood pile and compost pile. This left, of course, no energy for our own yard. We did attempt some clean up there, as a large locust tree branch fell into the yard and was still attached to the tree in a dangerous way. Were I of a superstitious bent, I’d think that house, or some malevolent force, were out to get me! The luck we have had, well is no Luck at all really. But, one gets up, brushes oneself off and moves on.

Whenever I have shown the house I always meet interesting people from all strata of the socio-economic ladder. Yesterday I met a young mother, twenty-five, who has a 5 year old son and a dead-beat divorced father. Her woes made me rather angry. She was such a hard worker. She works over 40 hours, put herself through school, pays for day care and her husband contributes almost nothing. She was telling me that she was trying to get some help with health insurance for her son, as he has a condition that requries various surgeries and he also has a tube in her nose etc. She was telling me how she just had to pay $100 for his prescriptions. She has to be fine with no insurance herself, as she cannot afford it, but was hoping for help with her son. His dead beat dad, who was in the military but somehow is not now, ‘forgot’ to pay the insurance that would have given his son covereage through the military. When she tried to get Mass health for her son, she was denied because they said she makes too much money. She laughed because she said, “Well $1300 of it goes to rent, I have to pay daycare five days a week, and the rest goes to food and medicine with no savings”.

She then went on to tell me about the area she lives now which has much Section 8 housing. There is a woman next door who pays $100 of the 1300 required (The rest paid by the state) she gets Social Security and also has food stamps and some form of extra cash bonus, that I had never heard of. She has three adult daughters all with young babies, living with her who all work despite their being on welfare as well.

She also told me of an ex-friend who had four kids in a row as a teen and received so much money, she was able to go to school full time (paid for) had food stamps and extra cash and because of some ill treatment to her children was given full coverage of day-care five days a week (despite the fact that she did not have to leave home except to go to school for free). It is so frustrating when we seem to always help those who aren’t trying or really help people to not want to try. And, in my belief, it has very little to do with political parties or who is president (as this has been going on through Republican and Democrats).

I really had to hand it to her that she, despite her being able to just give in and become lazy, refuses to become a statistic and wants to teach her son a good work ethic and that everything isn’t just handed to you.

This brought me to an interesting article I have in one of my Vintage magazine. This is written in 1955 by a Superior Court Judge. It addresses the then current issue and concern over juvenile delinquency. This was a very real problem and concern post war. The growing generation of teens who had just missed war service, but were finding themselves in an ever increasing world of less work needed to do things and a burgeoning economy lead to an epidemic not really apparent before.

In this same vein it is interesting to think that at one point graffiti didn’t exist as it does today. It may have been funny little scribbles, or “Killroy was here”, but the defacing of public transport, buildings statues and so on was, at one point, unheard of. It is a slippery slope from these past 60 years and just this subject along would fill an interesting book on the sociological changes in ‘youth’ and our perception of ‘teens’.

Read the article and give me your opinion on  how it is addressed. Do you think teens today are in any way as respectful as teens in the 1950s. And  the teens in the 1950’s were considered much less respectful than those during the Depression. We always feel the next generation is ‘trouble’ I am sure, but do we really see a very tangible change happening in how youth has a general lax attitude towards each other, respect for themselves and those around them, including property (which I have had dealt first hand, though not by teens).

chorecartoonThere seems to be no real adults left anymore. As I have said many times, as we lose the last of the “Greatest Generation” I feel as if the world is being left with a spoiled baby-sitter who wants to talk on the phone to its boyfriend more than pay attention to the needs of its keep. Let’s discuss and Happy Homemaking.

This week’s news deals with 50’s Teens and can be read clicking the link to the right or going HERE.

Now, on to the article:

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  1. Glad you are safe after the hurricane:) Would someone please be able to authorise me for the forum....i am still waiting and i really would love to get on there?
    Kelly in Yorkshire, England

  2. I want to let you in the Forum, and many others have emailed me, but I haven't a clue how to do it.
    A while back I had one of our followers become a moderator as we have been getting so much spam and now we seem to have so much trouble allowing anyone to join. We are punishing the good because of the bad.
    If anyone out there can help me, including customaprons if you see this, to know how to enable more people to simply join forum, please let me know. You can even do so here on the comments. I miss our forum, at least with all the spam we could just erase it and still have our good conversations.

  3. I'm glad to hear that you are okay and that downed trees in the yard was the worst case scenario for you.

    I will have to come back to read the teen articles when I have bit more time. I'm interested to read what the judge has to say. In the early 90's, I taught special ed to junior high boys, many that were in public housing and were being "thrown away" by society because they didn't want to deal with them. It was not surprising that many of them were toying with criminal activities because traditional roads to success had been closed off to them. It was one of the reasons I became an education professor--so that children would stop falling between the cracks.

  4. I'm glad you came through the storm relatively unscathed!

    I'm sure you're continuing to rent out of necessity, though I'd wondered if that was wise considering your last tennants. Is there anything that you can do legally to avoid something like that happening again? I ask because I'm completely ignorant of renter/landlord laws.

  5. Thank you for responding to me:) What a shame about the forum; I hope someone can help.....I really love your blog; just reading it from the beginning as changed my life and my family's lives for the better:) Thank you.
    Kelly from Yorkshire, England

  6. Kelly, thank you so much for such a lovely compliment.
    As soon as I get this house rented (Showing people again today!) I can get more of my life back and I will really get to the bottom of the forum and try to reclaim it. I will do a post about it as well so we can have a sort of 'calling all vintage lovers' and get everyone joined up. Thanks for the patience.
    Thank you all for continuing on my crazy journey.

  7. You're very welcome; it's all true; the biggest change is that now I have become an avid baker and my family are loving the weekly treats....I even baked cupcakes for my old grandad's birthday this week and he said they were the best tasting cakes he's ever had for a birthday cake....which I guess is a compliment when he's had 75 birthdays! I felt very proud and every day I am proud of the way I am doing things thanks to reading this blog:)
    Kelly from Yorkshire, England

  8. Hi 50s Gal! I tried to join the forum months ago, but never received the confirmation email. I thought maybe the forum was closed to new members. Sorry to hear you're having technical troubles.

    Good luck with the rental property!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  9. Interesting thoughts....juvenile delinquints of yesteryear and today. My theory on that topic, as well as other unpleasantness is that it has ALWAYS been there, but it wasn't "out in the open", so to speak. Ugly stuff, just not mentioned. I really don't think there were."good old days".

  10. Poor hubby! I hope you pampered him a lot afterwards.

    And poor single mother. I’m glad we have “free” medical/doctor/hospital care here in Denmark. Free meaning we have to pay a damn lot of taxes (pardon my French). But we don’t have to deal with such worries. But be aware – if she cannot pay for such important things, how will she pay you rent?

    How can you be on welfare when you work? It is not legal in Denmark, but I guess some people always find out how to cheat the system.

    Aah, teens! Older generations have always thought they are worse than themselves. I have a teen, and I think he is quite OK. He is of course lazy and don’t care about some things, but in general he is a good boy. He has just got an apprenticeship as a gardener, and he is very happy about his job. A few weeks ago I saw my first James Dean movie, Rebel without a Cause, and realized that teenagers have always been … teenagers! They were stupid, violent and provocative – and the movie is about 60 years old. So I suppose nothing is changed.

  11. Based on my reading and observations from film ... I believe that "teenagers" as we know them are really a product of the 20th century. Even the term "teenager" was coined in the early 1940's. With more mothers working outside the home, increased luxuries, extended immaturity and childhood and act of intentional marketing, the American "teenager" was created ... and soon a separate focus and identity for one segment of the population (and too a "generation gap") became the norm. A young person in 1855 had little to nothing in common with the "teenager" of 1955.


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