— By LARRY M. JONES
I know that many of you have wondered how the speech writers, political strategists and the “anointed one’s” puppeteers came up with the catchy little campaign slogan, “Hope and Change.”
I happen to know for a fact its derivation. Far from being the product of some highly paid advertising think tank in New York City, it was derived from an activity developed by students at Brock School during the late 1940s, and further refined throughout the 1950s.
I know that many of you will no doubt question the veracity of my claim, but I ask, would I lie to you? Of course not.
Because of the “Drought of Record” during the 1950s, times were extremely hard and money was very scarce in an agricultural community like Brock. I was getting to be a fairly good-sized kid before I knew there were denominations of money larger than a buffalo nickel. My older brother, David, told me he had seen a dime once, but I thought he was lying. I didn’t do it, but for some people I knew, lying was a part of getting by in those days. But, I’m getting off the subject.
The first gymnasium at Brock School, like the majority throughout the area, was built as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s. This program was similar to the recent enormous financial bailouts by the federal government, but this one gave jobs and wages to poor people so they could feed their families. Recent financial bailouts went about the problem a bit differently. They just gave a few trillion dollars to a few wealthy campaign donors.
Again, getting back on subject, Brock’s gymnasium had wooden bleachers made of 2x12 boards and were boxed in to prevent anything from falling under them. However, there were some fairly large cracks between the boards that allowed small objects to fall below. The ends of the bleachers were enclosed to prevent anyone from going under them. Yet, in no way would this deter enterprising young lads in search of bounty.
From these ventures evolved the phrase, “Hope and Change.” Each time we sneaked under the bleachers, we hoped to find large amounts of change. Shoot, maybe even a quarter or half dollar had fallen out of the pocket of an excited basketball fan and had dropped through one of the cracks unnoticed. While this practice of gleaning lost change, trinkets, pencils and “previously owned” chewing gum was frowned upon by school administrators, the acts largely went unrestrained. I have drunk many a “soda pop” purchased with such ill-gotten found treasure.
The old WPA gym is long gone at Brock and many of the other local schools, so these veritable treasure hunters’ paradises are no longer an option for hoping to find a little change. However, for several years my wife, Helen, picked up litter along Lazy Bend Road, and it was amazingly what she found. Nestled among the snakes, wildflowers, and fire ants she would occasionally find folding money, as well as change.
If any more of my personal funds are redistributed by the “chosen one” and his merry band of Chicago thugs, I may also be out there hoping to find some change along the side of the road.
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to email@example.com.