Days Gone By: Young people feeling alienated

Jeff Fox
The Examiner
This ad for the old Ben Franklin store in Englewood ran in The Examiner 50 years ago.

From The Examiner during the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 5, 1970:

• “‘ALIENATION’ MAJOR CAUSE FOR DRUG ABUSE PROBLEM” – A feeling of being alienated from society is a major cause of young people turning to drugs today, one speaker on a five-member panel at U-Smile Stadium Inn said bluntly Monday night, with the other members generally agreeing, although they had different ways of saying it.

Larry Agnew, a sociology professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and one of the founders of the Ecstatic Umbrella, a rehabilitation house for young addicts in Kansas City, described modern-day society as “basically inhuman” because it was insensitive to human needs.

“The young who came to the Umbrella, even in their confused state, all expressed a deep sense of alienation and asked, how can I be human in a society?”

“You can drive all the way across this country on a concrete strip in a projectile-type vehicle at incredible speed and never once come in contact with a human being, except during those brief moments when you roll down the window and tell the man to ‘fill her up.’ We’ve put ourselves in this condition. If we really want to do anything to change this, we have to plow the ground under our own feet, today not tomorrow. If it doesn’t happen there, it’s not going to.”

• “RAIL STRIKE THREAT TO CHRISTMAS MAIL” – Postmaster Edgar G. Hinde passes on a warning from Postmaster General Winton N. Blount that Christmas cards and parcels should be mailed early as a safeguard in the event of a national railroad strike, scheduled to begin shortly after midnight Wednesday, Dec. 10. 

“If a strike occurs we will utilize every alternative mode of transportation available to move as much mail as possible,” Blount’s announcement said.

From The Independence Examiner during the week of Nov. 29-Dec. 4, 1920:

• “AFTER SLOT MACHINES” – An order was placed on the records of the county court Tuesday instructing the license inspector to get busy with the gambling in drug stores and other places as represented in the coin slot machines.

Slot machines seem to have appeared all over Kansas City all at once. They are plainly against the law, that is those of the gambling kind, and the county court intends to do its part to suppress the machines, hence the order to M.J. Pendergast.

• “WEIGHING THE CHILDREN” – Weighing and measuring of the children, under the general supervision of Miss Florence Carvin, home demonstration agent for this county, has been in progress this week, at the request of the teachers and at the following schools: Monday, the Home Demonstration Agent and the Public Health Nurse visited Elm Grove school where Miss Julia Noland is teaching. Tuesday, Round Grove school was visited at the request of Miss May Dalton, teacher, and her patrons in the district. Wednesday, a meeting of mothers was held at Combs school where Miss Sarah Mae Brown is the teacher, and a clinic was held.

Those underweight were examined for adenoids, bad tonsils and decayed teeth. Miss Carwin talked to mothers and children about correct food habits, and made suggestions to each underweight child as to the food to eat to produce more weight.

• “BITS OF GENERAL NEWS” – Missouri now is bone dry, in theory, at least. Governor Gardner, yesterday, proclaimed officially the result of the referendum vote in the recent general election. In that referendum, the voters, by a good strong majority, approved of the Prohibition laws passed by the last session of the state legislature the operation of which was held up till approved in a referendum vote. The governor’s proclamation, yesterday, was the last step necessary to clear the way for the absolute enforcement of the prohibition laws. It is now the duty of all officers of the law in the state of Missouri to see that prohibition is enforced.

– Compiled by Jeff Fox