There isn’t enough column space, nor time, to list the numerous places that have come and gone in our area during the past 30-40 years.
Some of these hangouts meant the world to teenagers growing up in the Great Midwest; they were places to meet and greet friends; to catch up on all the latest stuff going on; and to just chill out and have a good time. They were glimpses from our pasts that we hold close to our hearts.
The list is like a “Who’s Who Among Yesteryear’s Greats”…Potsie’s; Top Katts Roller Rink; Cedar Cinema; the old Hardee’s; Frostop; LinVue Drive-In; Cash Saver parking lot; White’s Grocery (behind old BHS on north Main); the Brookfield City Lake…lots of places, and lots of memories.
There were even those evenings and weekends spent endlessly dragging a loop in our cars and trucks around Main Street, from the Twin Parks to the concrete median at Hardee’s. Horns would honks and hands would wave at this time-honored passage from youth to adulthood.
I broach this subject not because of sentimental reasons (even though there are hints of that as I sit and reminisce with watery eyes), but because of the disappearance of “clean” and “safe” entertainment for our younger generations around the area; things that they both enjoy doing and can also keep them out of harm’s way.
However, kudos do need to go to our local churches in sponsoring “Fifth Quarters” after home sporting events. The YMCA in Brookfield and also the Cotton Cavanaugh Youth Center in Marceline help fill the void by opening their doors to allow teens and their chaperones with a place to fellowship and party (without alcohol and drugs). These much-needed teen moral boosters are wonderful and help promote unity both among the youth and churches. They are a blessing!
Yet, much more can, and should, be done to foster “safe harbors” for our kids as they chart through those untested seas in their lives. Being a teenager is a truly difficult time; all of us who are older can vividly remember the angst and turmoil as our hormones raged ahead of our brains. We usually stepped forward without realizing the full consequences of our actions; and chances are, we paid the price for our teen ignorance later on as we stood before our parents.
So, what can be done to help promote good spiritual and emotional growth in our youth? Well, w can start by opening the doors to our churches; to our homes; and to our businesses and give our youth a place to hang out that is friendly, fun, and full of energy. As businessmen and women, we need to remember the places from our childhood and teen years and emulate what we experienced at our “hangouts”. We should get actively involved in our young people and their welfare. They need us to help them out; yet oftentimes they are afraid to ask because we are busy doing something else that we deem more “important”.
And, there is much we can do to get involved. Volunteerism is one thing; supplying foodstuffs for these events is another. Prayer for these gatherings to be safe is something else a person can do without being physically involved. Every little bit helps, and is greatly appreciated.
In our adult generation, growing up in Brookfield and Marceline and the surrounding area in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s was a time filled with fun and numerous thing to do; those things helped keep us occupied and also kept us out of trouble (for the most part). We didn’t have to worry about a place to hang out; there was always an open door and the inviting smells of food cooking, or music playing, or teens excitedly jabbering. It was comforting, and it was safe. And it helped to subdue those out-of-control emotions and hormones for a time, until we started thinking with our brains again.
So let’s all band together and get busy helping out our teens; and let’s give them the kind of places that made our yesteryears worth remembering…and worth passing on.