Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nothing Really Changes, Everything Remains The Same

By Steve Kemme and Jennifer Baker of the Cincinnati Enquirer October 20, 2008

BLUE ASH – An 89-year-old woman arrested for not giving neighborhood children their football.

"That's my only way of getting through to these children," Edna Jester said. "I'll give it back to them later, but not right now."Jester was arrested and charged with petty theft after she took the ball and refused to give it back, Blue Ash police said. Word of her arrest has touched off national news interest in the case.

Officers were called about 6:30 p.m. Thursday to her home by one of the children’s fathers, Blue Ash Police Capt. James Schaffer said.

The football apparently was thrown into Jester’s yard, and it wasn’t the first time, he said. The issue has been an ongoing dispute in the neighborhood.

This brings to my mind a tale of my youth.

It was 1957 when my parents bought their home. Our next door neighbors were a grumpy elderly couple, Fred and Mildred Ulmer. They suffered from obsessive compulsive lawn disorder. Three or four times a week on every spring and summer evening Fred would get out his tiny electric lawn mower and have a go at the grass. Mildred would sit in one of their old metal lawn chairs surveying his work like a prison sentry and bark orders if the old boy missed a spot. Mowing with such a small mower was not an easy feat as they had a double lot at the corner of the subdivisions block. But the grass on their lawn was comparable to a golf course green. It was short, bright green and plush. It was like walking on plush carpet.

They had installed a wire fence to mark out the division between our yard and theirs. Upon our arrival it was made clear to my parents the Ulmers did not like children and did not want our nasty little sneaker clad feet on their precious grass.

When you are five years old the world seems huge. My backyard was massive. Well I thought so but it was relatively tiny. But it was my Crosley Field, Dodge City, Soldier Field and Normandy Beach. As the new kid on the block with a sizeable back yard, I attracted some friends that were ready to play cowboy, army, dodge ball or baseball. Inevitably one of the balls would go over the fence between my home into the Ulmer’s well-kept manicured back lawn.

The fence did not have a gate between the houses. The fence merely ended and was only put in place as a line of demarcation to declare to us kids No Trespassing. But my ball was in their yard. What a dilemma!

So one of us kids, would keep both eyes open and look out to see if old lady Ulmer was watching. If we didn’t see her or Fred then I would make a mad dash around the fence, grab the ball and retreat to safe ground. However many times she would come out scolding us for daring to cross the threshold into Der Kinder Verbotin territory. Many times words would occur between the Ulmers and my folks over the retrieving of the balls. I do not recall that they ever kept the ball without returning it. Although I am surprised they did not take that action. The police were never called.

This week’s news from the Queen City of Cincinnati, which is usually bad or stupid and gives our fair city the reputation it deserves, regarding the 89 year old granny bring back the same control problem. Her land was her own and a No Kids Zone. The neighborhood young’uns kicked the football into her yard one too many times and she held the ball. The referee cried foul. No actually it was one of the fathers. As you can read instead of settling it in a civil way the police and said, “Book ‘em Dano.”

A wise magistrate dismissed the charges as another idiot move by the city. The football was returned. Charlie Brown can once again attempt to kick.

We get older, technology improves but life is the same ol’, same ol’. 51 years later and we see that nothing really changes does it?

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