The Old Copper Wash Tub
The Fourth of July is a day to think positively about the future of America. Certainly, the 48 men gathered in Philadelphia 232 years ago were positive about the future they envisioned for us!
Detail of the Ormsby engraving of John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence painting that hangs in the Rotunda of United States Capitol (Library of Congress)
Once again, Julie and I opened our lake house for the season, chasing various bugs and little critters out the door, while we swept, dusted and generally got the place in shape. Docks and float had to be positioned and secured to withstand the exuberances of the now 12 grandchildren, ranging from Matthew at 26 down to Samuel at two weeks in age. Mid-June nights being chilly, we started the first fire of the season with newspapers stored in our old copper wash tub.
June 22, 1998 Portsmouth Herald
Reaching deep, I happened to come up with a newspaper exactly 10 years old and the lead-off article was about the Circus that had just played at the former Rye Airfield, which read:
The Friends of the Rye Library hope to raise between $5,000 and $10,000 from the eight performances spanning four days. “The library became involved, because the owner (Jacob Ciborowski) of the old Rye airstrip, where the circus is held each year, is a patron,” said Library Director Kathleen Teaze.
The article went on: Last year money raised from the circus benefited the $1.6 million library addition construction project. The new library is expected to open in November.
[presently in the lobby of the Library addition, a plaque states that the lobby was given by Henry J. Ciborowski in memory of his father, Jacob S. Ciborowski.]
Well, that was last century and perhaps the last circus to play in Rye. On the same page was another article headlined, Animal acts the focus of protest
, which I would now call, "the obituary for the circus in Rye".
Barbara Bonsignore, president of the Animal Rights League in Concord, stated that she and about five members planned to protest the show. "I don’t think elephants should spend a great deal of their life chained by four chains to their feet. They spend their whole life in confinement."
Marketing director Robert Kellard for Clyde Beatty Bros. had replied: "The elephants are not chained, there is an electric fence and they are free to roam. They are very happy."
Happy, I don’t know, but now they are unemployed in Rye, and Rye kids of this century don’t see the circus there any more.
Other local bits from June, 1998:
On the national scale, June 22 of 1998 had several worthy bits:
- Rye Selectmen will hold public hearings on the grant application for the renovation of the town-owned Parsonage apartment building on Washington Road.
- "Al" Weare of Seabrook filled the House seat of departed Charles Henry Felch, who had served for 22 years.
- In reply to the attorney general’s office’s statement that an Agenda for meetings is recommended, the Stratham Selectmen Chairman commented: ... and another reason for not having an agenda is, “in part.. because we don’t know what we are going to be discussing.”
Fast forward to June, 2008
- "The first time I looked in his eyes, I saw something I didn’t expect to see," Monica Lewinsky told Linda Tripp, in the two additional hours of released recorded conversations between the two about Lewinsky’s affair with President Bill Clinton.
- –Columnist George Will wrote about Senator Sam Nunn, (D) GA, and his quiz depicting eight frightening potential terrorist scenarios. [All were possible, but they did not include a scenario of the actual 9/11/2001 attack.] Will went on: We live, Nunn says, in an era of "big challenges and little ideas." He is too polite to say: little leadership, too. However, his insistent voice is a reproach to others who are not doing their duty to describe the world as an increasingly dangerous place.
The Rye Public Library is completed and doing great. No more financial help from the circus, sadly — the site for which has been replaced by Rye Airfield Skateboard Park and in addition soon, the first RCD
project in town. The Parsonage on Washington Road was renovated and is full. Overall, good news!
Other bits from June, 2008
seem to have a different flavor:
- A large majority, 76%, in a recent poll say that the US is on the wrong track.
- Another study says that the revised SAT tests which includes more "writing skills … is longer and more expensive and that’s all you can say about it." according to Robert Schaeffer, director of the group FairTest.
- A Boy Scout in North Hampton, in quest of his Eagle rank, volunteered to build a pathway on conservation land and after months of work has drawn strong public criticism from the Conservation Chairman for his efforts.
- Gloucester, Mass., seventeen high school teenagers plan pregnancy pact.
- Gasoline is about $4.00/gallon.
- N.H. roads in disrepair and depleted highway trust fund a challenge for George Campbell, new commish of NHTD.
- Ex-investors at Bear Sterns charged with fraud and conspiracy.
- Supreme Court rules against Military review boards.
- According to estimates of The New Hampshire Food Bank, which distributes food to hundreds of organizations throughout the state, some 95,000 Granite State residents need its services daily. The population of New Hampshire in 2006 was 1,314,895, which means that 1 out of 14 people in this state need assistance daily. Reportedly, about 800 in Portsmouth need help, and with a population of approximately 22,000, that would equate to 1 in 28, or about half the state average.
But perhaps the winner of the ‘We need more Tax Dollars" game, is a study reported in the Herald www.all4ed.org
by the Alliance for Excellent Education: The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools
Let me quote from the article, which read:
If the High School dropouts from New Hampshire’s Class of 2008 had instead earned diplomas along with their classmates, the state’s economy could have benefited from an additional $1.1 billion in wages, taxes and productivity over these students’ lifetime.
"Each class of high school dropouts damages the economy," said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance and former governor of West Virginia. "If candidates running for federal office are truly committed to saving the nation’s economic future, they must commit to saving America’s high schools. The best economic stimulus package is to increase the number of students who earn a high school diploma."
OK! Let’s vote for someone running for office on the platform of, "Diplomas for All"
. If elected, he will see that every high school student receives a diploma! It will be easy… simply lower the bar, everyone graduates, and voila!, the economy is saved and the politicians have more tax dollars to spend. (I’m being cynical)
Far better, we should raise the expectations and standards of graduates, as well as the quality of our education system. I’ll bet you a nickel that that approach would produce a lot more graduates and more revenue, too.
And in Conclusion
Just to wrap up this ten-year look in the rear view mirror, I wish we had taken Sam Nunn more seriously and the War on Terror could be concluded. I wish Bill Clinton hadn’t completely destroyed the moral expectations of leadership to the point that has allowed so many others, including children, to think that they can also behave poorly without consequences. I wish the mandate on Ethanol had not been instituted without more thought about the unintended consequences. I wish we could simply set up food stations for those in need, rather than wasting so many dollars on silly studies about blaming "drop-outs" for our economic woes. I wish the primary debates that touted how everything is wrong in our country had not gone on for these many months.
And most of all, I wish the young lad from North Hampton all success in his pursuit of the rank of Eagle Scout. I can tell him personally that it is a goal to pursue and will be more than worth it!
Well, whatever the election outcome in November, America will go on, and each of us will still be responsible for our own actions and futures. Hopefully next year’s rear-view-news-rummage in the old copper wash tub will be more encouraging than this one.
Copyright © Rye Reflections 2008. All rights reserved.