Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Passing community service to the next generations

. It’s time we find some common ground to save one of the good parts of the old Society.

  • Virginia Walters For the Peninsula Clarion
  • Saturday, February 22, 2020 10:24pm
  • Life

We belong to several organizations around the town. We’re from that generation who joined things for entertainment. We had Scouts, Campfire Girls, 4-H, and church groups outside of school. Then there was Letter Club for the guys, Girls League for the girls, Masque and Dagger, FFA, FHA, Journalism and several other in-school groups. We didn’t have TV or computers so needed to find someway to expend the energy we had left over from daily chores, and also to salve our social needs. The best way in the world to get away from home for a few hours to see your friends, maybe even borrow the car, was to go to church youth group (and of course take your brother).

This inclination came from our parents who belonged to the Grange, Oddfellows, Eastern Star, Masons, Moose, Elks, PEO, and various card playing groups and/or hunting clubs, neighborhood women’s clubs and any other gathering of three or more people who could get together regularly. It was a time of socializing. One that the younger generations no longer understand, much to their detriment, in my opinion (or is that IMO?).

Everyone went to town on Saturday night in the summer. The kids would go to a movie, or maybe evening swimming. The parents used the time to shop, meet friends and enjoy a little adult time. We usually started home by 10 at the latest. That is unless there was a dance, and then it might be midnight. Saturday night dances at the Grange Hall were common, and all ages attended. A local group would supply the music: fiddle, guitars, piano, occasional vocal; they were fun get-togethers that don’t happen these days.

Any excuse to get together with friends and family was legitimate. Sunday dinner at Grandma’s, Saturday night card games at the cousins’, drop-in for coffee at the neighbor’s. And that doesn’t count the spur-of-the-moment bonfires, keggers, and ‘let’s go to the lake’ drives. I’m not sure when the inclination to join others ended. My older granddaughters, born in the early ’80s, were social, and still are. They belong to book clubs, girl groups, card nights, and other get-together functions. The younger ones, born in the late ’90s, not so much. Their phone is the connection. They know their friends’ names, phone numbers and social media aliases, but may not know where they live or who their parents are.

But, back to Me! These days we attend a meeting a week in the winter. A bunch of old people gather in a convenient meeting spot and rehash the last meeting and missing members. Business conducted usually involves money, spending it or making it. The spending is usually a scholarship or a memorial or a piece of equipment for some other entity. Making it, not so easy.

As mentioned earlier, the membership is OLD. We have all been around the block so many times we’ve worn a path. New ideas are lacking and the old ones are a little stale or require a lot of work no one wants to (or can?) undertake anymore. So organizations are fading. Many exist only as a token of what they once were. So-called service organizations can barely field enough members to maintain the title, let alone supply the activity they are famous for.

The youngest members these days are the Boomers (I am allowed to use that word because I am older). Gen Xers are peeking in, but only testing the waters. The antique membership scares them. When an organization does get some new, young members the old guys often pooh pooh their upstart ideas and turn them off immediately.

I guess we have to concede that the nearest thing to a Saturday night dance we are going to see these days is the Blue-Grass group at the Senior Center and we probably attended our last kegger about 1969. Time to convince the kids that unless they step up, the next scholarship may be the last, and the memorial bench for the hard-working homesteader turned community leader won’t be forthcoming because the old codgers running the world these days are just too darn tired to do it again and the Boomers are getting there.

We old members don’t think we are intimidating. The youngsters don’t know we find them a little scary. (Didn’t Jim Reeves have a song about “When two worlds collide”? and don’t you dare say “Who is Jim Reeves“!). It’s time we find some common ground to save one of the good parts of the old Society. Maybe show the youngsters that it’s easy to interact face to face and being social has its rewards.

Hey! We had to learn the internet and social media to do our banking, they can learn eye contact and polite conversation to continue a beneficial tradition.

More in Life

Robert C. Lewis photo courtesy of the Alaska Digital Archives 
Ready to go fishing, a pair of guests pose in front of the Russian River Rendezvous in the early 1940s.
The Disappearing Lodge, Part 1

By the spring of 1931, a new two-story log building — the lodge’s third iteration — stood on the old site, ready for business

Viola Davis stars in “The Woman King.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)
On the screen: Women reign in latest action flick

‘The Woman King’ is a standout that breaks new ground

Artwork donated for the Harvest Auction hangs at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Auction, juried show to showcase local talent

Kenai Art Center will host its annual Harvest Auction this weekend, juried art show next month

Sweet and tart cranberry pecan oat bars are photographed. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Cranberries to match the bright colors of fall

Delicious cranberry pecan oat bars are sweet and tart

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Take a chance

The fact of the matter is, you can find a way to hurt yourself in just about any athletic endeavor.

Alaska Digital Archives
George W. Palmer (left), the namesake for the city in the Matanuska Valley and the creek near Hope, poses here with his family in 1898 in the Knik area. Palmer became a business partner of Bill Dawson in Kenai in the last years of Dawson’s life.
Bill Dawson: The Price of Success, Part 5

Thus ended the sometimes tumultuous Alaska tenure of William N. Dawson.

File
Minister’s Message: Plenty

The Bible story of Joseph in Egypt preparing the harvest in the seven years of plenty teaches us some vital lessons

From left: Lacey Jane Brewster, Terri Zopf-Schoessler, Donna Shirnberg, Tracie Sanborn and Bill Taylor (center) rehearse “Menopause Made Me Do It” on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Applause for menopause

Kenai Performers’ new play takes aim at ‘not the most glorious part of womanhood’

A still from “Jazzfest.” (Photo provided)
DocFest could be the golden year of documentaries — again

Homer Documentary Film Festival returns for 18th year with solid mix

Most Read