We were sitting on the curb enjoying the night air. “You always talk about the past,” she said, then added, “you always say ‘back when ...’ or you ‘remember when...’ She was right. Being an History major and full of good and troubling memories that was a clear criticism. But she meant my memory was a reason for her to question our continuing relationship. It was an unique perspective, but devastating. That young woman and I soon parted ways. Hmm, wonder what she’s doing? Hope she has good memories.
About that same time, back in 1970, which was a time of personal and national tumult, came the first time I realised I could make a choice that would change the course of my life. For six months I weighed the pros and cons. In August the Senior Army Instructor’s office door loomed. Walking into his office I knew the words I was about to say would turn my direction in life as soon as I did an ‘about face” and walked out that steel portal. “Sir, I have decided not to accept the Army’s offer to sign a six-year contract.” My dreams of being an Army Infantry officer ceased.
Since then, I’ve seen many times when being silent as an individual or member of a community is not always the way to go.
I’m tired of hearing young people tell me they are moving away from Eads and Kiowa County. This place now seems like my place to be, so it hurts when I hear young, polite, personable people say they are leaving. And their reason is family. Hard workers – the future of our community – say they have to leave for one simple changeable reason. They leave because they can’t get day care here. For every young person that has to go somewhere else we lose in growth of our town size. economy and opportunity.
We need, good, clean, well-regulated day care for young working families. It is an enticement to stay and contribute. We all are given choices in life. Family safety and well-being shouldn’t be a reason for people to leave. It should be a reason to stay. Family has always been the top priority in my life. It should be our town and county’s priority as well. We can’t afford to ignore young people trying to make it here.
It is a fact of modern life that families need two wage earners to just stay ahead.
Tell the folks that run our local government that they need to hook up. They need to think first for the young families in our community and find a way to support clean, safe, affordable day care center. Find a way! Don’t rely on someone else to do the work, find a path, or step up.
Without young men and women working and living here this community will continue to wither. We need their energy. Give them a basic service to support their and our success.
Another solution might be for our several churches and civic organisations to band together and form a day care cooperative. Think about it. Do the uncommon thing. Think of common sense answers to common needs that serve us all.
I understand from the ever-concerned and community-oriented Dennis Pearson that some possibilities are opening up. Don’t shut the door on young families before they walk through it.
Travel well, even down the road less travelled, for it will make all the difference.
Jeff C. Campbell
Campbell, a veteran police officer / investigator, published author of articles, books, and a series of novels. He’s an independent historian focusing on the Southwest and Colorado