I get a chuckle over the way the older generation (which includes me) talks about the younger generation: “I don’t know what’s to become of them, they’re nothing like we used to be.”
This concern has been a source of worry ever since time began, and will no doubt continue as long as more than one generation inhabits the earth at a time.
Of course, progress changes some problems while others remain remarkably similar. Today’s fast cars are a far cry from the boxy old vehicles of the early 1900s, but both proved to be a source of worry for parents.
The following story appeared in The Slater News on Oct. 3, 1923, and tells how a mixture of cars and kids can sometimes mean trouble, even back then.
“Everett Briley, a young man residing near Alleman, attempted to break speed records on the streets of Slater with his Ford last Sunday afternoon and found the effort a costly experience – sixteen plunks.
“With a companion, who, by the way, had nothing to do with Briley’s foolish escapade, he was driving down one street and up another with the flivver wide open, disregarding speed limits as well as all traffic laws in a manner to rouse the ire of the people on the street to a point where they could stand it no longer.
“Unable to locate the marshal, they secured the services of a deputy, P.L. Hill, and found Briley and his car in the yard at the home of Mrs. Ole Johnson, where they had landed after driving over the sidewalk and the high embankment. He was immediately placed under arrest and taken to the city hall and placed in jail.
“Mayor E.C. Rood (my grandfather) was notified and he was immediately on hand to hear the case. Young Briley pleaded guilty to the charge of fast driving and was given a fine of $15 plus $1 in court costs for a total fine of $16, which he paid with a check, after which he was given his freedom and permitted to go.”
Yep, the cars may have changed, but kids will be kids and you can depend on that.
Another story appeared in October of 1923 that tells of an activity which was once mostly limited to the younger generation, but now has became popular (if not an obsession) with the older generation.
Getting the Pep
“Two women from this area motored up to Ames last Friday night to attend the opening of the Ames Style Show, a display of fall and winter goods by the merchants of that place.
“While viewing the many and varied displays that graced the various windows, their attention was called to an unusual noise that came from the west.
“With others they stopped short to determine for themselves what was up. Someone shouted ‘RIOT!’.
“Their first instinct was to run, but which way? They thought of their car on a side street and made a bee line for it. In doing so they ran directly into the path of the oncoming ‘mob’, which proved to be a bunch of college students, several thousand of them, who were invading the downtown section for a pep meeting in preparation for the football game at the college the next day.
“Details are lacking, but it seems as if they were swept onward by the rush of the student body and before they knew it both of them found themselves inside one of the movie houses.
” ‘Horrors!’ yelled one of them, ‘If the home folks should see me here.’ The other one, her hair looking as if it had been tossed about by a Kansas cyclone, rather enjoyed the novelty and joined in the spirit of the occasion and was yelling at the top of her voice, ‘Fight, Team, Fight,’ with the rest of the gang.
“Both came out of the demonstration a little ruffled up, but unharmed and are still laughing over their novel experience of being caught in a college pep crowd.”
So there you have it. Kids will be kids and grownups will be…well, whatever.
Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times. He and his wife, Sharon, live near Cambridge.