WESTERHOLD: It's our turn

It's hard to believe it's been so long since I graduated from high school, and next week the Sandusky High School class of 1977 will
Matt Westerhold
May 24, 2010

 

It's hard to believe it's been so long since I graduated from high school, and next week the Sandusky High School class of 1977 will gather for a reunion.

Those dudes are old.

"Thunder only happens when it's rainin'."

Me, I'm still young and good-looking. Check out the picture. See.

It will be interesting to see people again who were with me when I started on this path to adulthood. This path toward enlightenment I'm still on.

I remember the all-night party at Sandusky High School for the graduating seniors. And I remember the late Fred Leffler, SHS teacher/principal who let me into the party even though I wasn't one of the more than 300 graduates in that class.

"You don't have to be a star, baby, to be in my show."

I would have graduated with that class, but I moved out of the city my junior year. I went to a different school where we were taught how to age slowly. That's why I'm so much younger than my SHS classmates.

Life was much different back then. There were no cell phones, no iPods, no Internet and no personal computers. We were still buying albums on vinyl -- or 8-tracks -- for the music we wanted to hear, but we had a kicking radio station called WMMS, the Buzzard.

"Tramps like us, baby we were born to run."

Can't beat all that improved communication technology. The best way for any society to grow is through better communication. The opportunity is there.

But there is another huge difference today: Back then there were jobs here in the five-county region we call home. Jobs aplenty, even in the worst of times, during the 1970s and before, compared to where we stand today.

For all of us who've kept our connection to our hometowns, make no mistake: The lack of jobs threatens the very foundation of this community, of this region, and if we don't change course and demand responsive leadership this will be a ghost region by the time we're ready to meet our maker.

We will have left nothing of our past for our children. We will have squandered what our ancestors built, what we grew to love over time.

"I went back to Ohio but my city was gone. There was no train station. There was no downtown."

It is truly our turn now. We are at an age where we must provide leadership through our votes, through our voices and through our compassion for our neighbors, our families, our friends and everyone else who cares about this region.

"With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin' kinda older, I tripped the merry-go-round. With this very unpleasin', sneezin' and wheezin, the calliope crashed to the ground."

Preserving our heritage doesn't mean keeping it the same. It means growing and changing. It means we take a hard look at development proposals on the table and be open to a yes vote if when we're asked.

It means we must demand leadership from our elected officials -- especially those who hold countywide offices -- and reject the lip service we've been fed for far too long.

We must reject too the petty partisan politics that divide us, which keep little fiefdoms and power bases in place at the expense of the greater good.

It also means we must accept responsibility ourselves and not stand back and wait for someone else to get involved and make a difference.

It's not too late.

"Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow. Don't stop, it'll soon be here. It'll be, better than before. Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone. Why not think about times to come and not about the things that you've done."