My Neighborhood: More Entertaining than Television3 August, 2008
I live in the city of Wilkes-Barre. Its a small city (ca.40k), yet boasts four high schools — Grand Army of the Republic Memorial, Myers and Coughlin (all public schools) plus Holy Redeemer (a Catholic school). The city was founded on coal and heavy manufacturing, but since the industry left (30 to 40 years ago), the city has no idea what it wants to be. There are two excellent colleges (Kings and Wilkes), yet until recently the city actively discouraged any businesses catering to students. New immigrants (Central America, South Asia and East Asia (plus some of the ex-Soviet republics)) are buying houses in town and opening small businesses, but the school art teachers (in the public schools) still make Christmas ornaments for art projects. In other words, Wilkes-Barre is like many other small towns — changing, but in ways the town fathers do not expect (and may not approve).
The street I live on fits right in. About three out of four houses are owner-occupied which makes for a pretty good block. Weird, but pretty good. Our neighbosrs are Muslim, Catholic, B’ahai, and unknown Protestant. Which brings me to the point of this post.
Last night, (((Wife))) called me to the front window. She pointed out a family just down the street. Actually, she pointed out the trunk of their sedan. At first glance, I had no idea what I was looking at — the trunk was open, and there were four off-white ‘things’ piled in the opening. Mom slapped one of the ‘things’ and it registered that I was looking at the legs of her son and her son’s friend (wearing shorts). They hopped out of the trunk.
Okay, I thought. Playing in the trunk of a car is odd and dangerous, but the mom is there, right? No harm.
The two teenagers (about 13 or 14) got in and out of the trunk a couple of times. Then dad came out with the baby (toddler) and a cooler. He put the baby and the cooler in the back seat. He put the teenagers in the trunk. He closed the lid. Mom and dad got in the front seats and drove away, heading for a drive-in theater. A drive-in about ten miles away.
Now I know that hiding people in trunks is a long and cherished tradition. That is, stopping a quarter mile from the drive-in and loading them in the trunk there has a long tradition. Not ten miles away! (Honesty in blogging — I once drove twenty miles with 29 teenagers in my ’69 VW Microbus (at low speed) so I am not claiming to be perfect)
I called 911 and let them know. (((Wife))) called Children and Youth Services to report it. The guy at C&Y was a little slow with the idea that the kids were in a car trunk, but eventually got it.
Oddly, this couple looks down on (((Wife))) and I. We don’t go to church. We don’t carry a Bible with us. We read books other than the Bible. Then again, (((Wife))) and I both work (niether one of them does). We know better than to stuff two 13-year-olds into the crumple zone of a subcompact. We know better than to put children into an area where exhaust fumes can accumulate. We also don’t cheat theaters.
I guess if the Bible said “Thou Shalt Not Put Children In A Car’s Trunk” they would know better. That’t the problem with thinking all wisdom comes from a bunch of bronze-age myths.