By Derek Gentile, Berkshire Eagle Staff
There’s a lot of outrage over the close to 300 kids who went over to Brian Holloway’s house in Stephentown, N.Y. on Labor Day weekend and trashed it. Which is understandable. It seemed pretty random.
I’m just confused. It would be silly for me to sit here and tell anyone that as a kid, I didn’t rendezvous with a bunch of my friends to a relatively remote or isolated location and partake of what teenaged kids partook of. And what was imbibed then isn’t a heck of a lot different than what is imbibed now.
But the principal difference between that era and this one is that we didn’t trash the place. Not because of any sense of duty or responsibility. Well, there was none on my part, anyway.
But we were kids. It would be foolish to romanticize how we acted. We were dumb. We wanted to find some isolated spot where we could try to act like adults, or at least our vision of how adults acted.
Also, for those of us with girlfriends or boyfriends, we wanted to find someplace private where we could make out. I don’t see that motivation as that much different from those guys in Stephentown.
But in those days, you didn’t want to wreck a good thing.
I have to be a little oblique here, because I’m talking about gatherings on private property in Adams in those bygone days, and while I don’t think I can be sued after all these years, I don’t have much interest in riling people up.
But there were a number of properties in which we would congregate. And while we may have built bonfires, I don’t recall wrecking anything. Why wreck a place to which we could return?
Admittedly, this was Adams (or maybe Cheshire), so there were probably far fewer places to meet than in Stephentown.
But I distinctly recall a party at a local swimming hole at which I and several other people picked up the beer cans after ward and stuffed them in a garbage bag.
Again, not because we hoped to save the planet. But because we didn’t want to tip off whomever owned the property that something was up.
I’m sure they knew anyway, or had an idea, but there didn’t seem to be any reason to spit into the wind, so to speak.
I think, in part, this carnage in Stephentown, if I may be something of an amateur psychologist, was a way for some of these kids to bring attention to themselves. To say, ‘Hey, mom, dad, pay attention to what I’m doing! And then get me out of it!’
That way, these kids can be reassured that mom and dad love them. In this hugely impersonal world, with texting and Facebook and Twitter as the principal ways for parents to connect with their kids, often, I think, that personal connection is lacking.
I fully support what Holloway is doing. And I would say that any parents who are pondering a lawsuit against him might want to think about that.
In addition to bringing down the disapproval of virtually anyone they know, it will tend to draw attention to them, rather than let it all die down.
Of course, in this odd world, that may well be what they’re seeking. I don’t know.
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