Sunday, October 23, 2011
Occupy Pleasant Grove! Space Center Volunteers take to the Sidewalk.
This is New York under siege. An overly educated mob of young people have occupied a park near Wall Street demanding reforms to the nation's banking system and relief from their student loans.
"We're buried under tons of debt!" said one young man wearing tight jeans and an Abercrombie and Fitch T-shirt. He spoke between bites of a croissant smothered in cream cheese. "I majored in Oppressed Studies. What am I supposed to do now? I can't find work."
"What is Oppressed Studies?" I asked.
"You study the world's oppressed people."
"And you can't find work?"
"Nobody's hiring, and it isn't just me. That girl over by the bottled water can't find work either."
"What did she study?"
"My, you'd think companies would be beating down your doors." I spoke sarcastically. He took another bite of his croissant, oblivious to my response.
Out little town of Pleasant Grove is not immune to world events. News of Occupy Wall Street reached us by telegraph. Up until recently our streets were quiet, that has changed.
This photograph was taken a few Saturdays ago. The group calls itself "Occupy Pleasant Grove". They've taken up part time residence at the town's Central Elementary School and home of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center.
"We demand an end to the oppression of the 99% by the 1%!" shouted Morgan (last name withheld. Morgan fears reprisal from her friends and family in Park City). When asked why she wasn't protesting in her own town, Morgan replied that the residents of Park City WERE the 99%.
"I'm here with the simple, potato eating people of Pleasant Grove to show that some of us in the 99% really care," she explained.
"Here here!" exclaimed Matt, another weekend visitor from Logan.
Andrew, not wanting to be left from the discussion, chimed in. "We want peace, land and bread. We want a chicken in every pot."
"Here here!" exclaimed Matt. "Bravo and well said. By jove, I couldn't have said it any better."
"Quite," added Morgan.
"I'm in the Marching Band." Erin stepped forward. I had a difficult time hearing what she said. Her words were being formed around a Tootsie Pop. Chocolate I think, due to the copious amounts of brown dribble around her mouth.
"Here here!" exclaimed Matt.
"Erin, let's have you stand over here by the fire hydrant while we list our demands." Morgan took her by the hand and led her to the hydrant. "Now be a good girl."
I took out my camera for a snapshot to be added to this story. Erin rushed back.
"I cheer for liberty," Erin said taking a position.
"I do the thinking." Morgan jumped into a pose.
"I'll show oppressed people," Matt sat down on the sidewalk delivering his visual interpretation of what the movement stood for.
"I'm the muscle, in case the cops show up," Andrew flexed.
Mr. Williamson came out carrying two buckets of soapy water and brushes. "If you four are going to stand out here shouting socialist slogans at passing cars, you might as well do a little PR for the Space Center." He went back into the school and came out with a portable white board. He sat it on the side walk facing the street and wrote: "We wash cars for free until our demands are met".
They made $20.00 in tips, the Space Center got some good PR and several uninterested citizens of Pleasant Grove are driving around town with nice clean cars at no cost to them except for get an earful of demands ranging from more windmills and tulips to less homework and teacher sarcasm.
Occupy Pleasant Grove was seen later that afternoon at Sammy's in beautiful downtown Pleasant Grove. They were enjoying Sammy's famous Pie Shakes purchased with their tips. I joined them in a Berry Surprise.
"Are you enjoying the shakes?" I asked. They nodded, except for Matt. He stood by the door examining the workings of the Gum Ball Machine. "Now follow along with me, you worked and got tips. You took the tips and did what?"
"We bought these shakes," replied Morgan, the professed brains of the movement.
"So if you work you get......." I led them to the water and waited for them to drink.
"Money!" Andrew shouted.
"And what do we do with money?"
"Buy things," Erin answered. She started to smile. I could tell a light was coming on.
"We wouldn't have to work if they would just give us the shakes for free?" Matt returned to the table.
"Good Grief." I sank down in my chair. I could tell my generation had a lot to teach these youngsters. It was going to be a long discussion. I ordered a double, with a shot of pumpkin.
(Thanks to Morgan for posting this picture. Sorry Morgan, I couldn't resist. Some pictures just demand a back story. If you open the door with a picture like this, you'd better expect me to walk through :)