Parents? Do you know where your children street urchins are?

streeturchinI was walking home from the Plum Market after work today when I saw an even smaller street urchin than this one throwing a large tree branch into the path of high-speed oncoming traffic on N. Maple. N. Maple has a 35 mph speed limit but you can’t tell me that anyone obeys that limit because I cross it on foot frequently and have to run like heck to get across without getting hit. There was actually a whole gang club of kids involved in this dangereuse experiment (you can see a bit of leftover tree-branch debris down there on the lower left) but this character was the only one brave enough to hang around after three people (me and a 30-something runner guy and an older wise Latina waiting at the bus-stop) yelled at them.

Okay. The moom in me was screaming (really, I did yell) “GET AWAY FROM THE STREET! YER GONNA GIT KILLED!!!!!”

The crabby old Concerned Taxpaying Citizen in me (don’tcha know) was harrumphing around about where the kids’ parents were and worried about those big tree branches damaging the motorized vee-hickles that hit them, and thinking about calling the po-leese. On retrospect, maybe some of those vee-hickles deserve a bit of damage if they are going 55 mph in a 35 mph zone and aren’t looking at the good old big picture enough (cell phone, anyone?) to slow down and *avoid* the damn branch. Er, and potentially the kids street urchins. I didn’t call the po-leese. The Wise Latina at the bus stop was already doing that.

The fiscal conservative/social liberal continually morphing political persona I inhabit when I’m paying enough attention to politics to decide what my political persona is was remembering part of an Obama speech I heard random bits and pieces of on NPR this morning: “I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers”. Disclaimers below. These kids were, as you can see, African American, and because of where they were “playing”, they no doubt live in the “projects” across N. Maple from my neighborhood. Whatever you think of Obama (and I know I have readers with differing political opinions), all children of every genetic background, however their DNA expresses itself in regard to physical charactistics, need to know that they can attain whatever they want and all of us need to support those dreams for all children. The best we can, that is.

But then there was the child street urchin that still lives inside of me, underneath the bushy old gray-blonde hair and the saggy baggy old Limpopo body. The crabby old Concerned Taxpaying Citizen was starting to think, “Well! I never! We did *not* do those things when we were kids.” But she was drowned out by the street urchin who said, “Yes we did! Don’t you remember?” I mean, I don’t ever remember throwing big tree branches into the street. But that could be partly because we only had a couple of streets in that town that ever had the volume of traffic that N. Maple has and that we had a whole lot of other opportunities to play that didn’t involve interfering with a major public thoroughfare. But we did live on the edge sometimes. There was the time that my friend Helen had a sleepover for her 13th birthday. Her house was just on the edge of downtown Sault Ste. Siberia and we stayed up all night. At 6:00 AM, we decided we would walk down to the Locks. And so we did. *Nobody* was around, so we skipped down the middle of Ashmun St. singing “Feeling Groovy” (by Simon and Garfunkel). One cop car witnessed this. He decided to just let us be. When we got back to Helen’s house, the garbage men were starting to come around so we sat out on the curb next to the garbage cans and asked them to pick us up because we were garbage. It was obvious from their startled expressions that they thought we were crazy!

Disclaimers: I know that not everyone here supports Obama and I’m not trying to promote him but I did like this speech. I think African American children have a lot of difficulties dealing with our schools and I think they are more likely to have parents who are incapable (for many reasons) of supporting them as comprehensively as us white helicopter parents do with our kids. Every individual family is different but there are still some disturbing trends. And I didn’t do that quote that from memory, it was in the A2 Snooze today.

Love Y’all

3 Responses to “Parents? Do you know where your children street urchins are?”

  1. isa Says:

    i bet at least one of those urchin’s parent(s) are at work, unable to pay for child care. and would not approve of such behavior.

  2. Margaret Says:

    I go between the two extremes like you–“where are the parents?” but “life is different now for many people.” When I came home from school my mom was there and not too long after my dad, who was a school teacher. I never worried about money or food or whether I could go to college. I knew my parents would make it happen. And in my humble opinion, Obama rocks!

  3. grandmothertrucker Says:

    Ahhhh… children outside playing with nature. Point 1: Yeah, that was bad and stupid. Point 2: The cars are going too fast, and this just might slow them down. Point 3: Don’t they have a computer or Sony or something they should be engrossed in? Point 3: What drunk or crackhead didn’t want to spend time with their kid and said “go play outside.” Point 4: I put pennies on the railroad tracks. It was Klemet and Murphy that put logs on it, we ran. Point 5: Ask/don’t ask the GG what he or his sibling did or blew up as kids. Point 6: Could be worse, they could be throwing more than sticks on a busier road or out doing crack with the neighbors…..

    Anne, you have been “feeling groovy” at early hours of the AM your whole life. You have unstoppable energy still.