The Blue Star
So I'm driving down Grand Ave in Ames the other day when the oddest sight caught my eye. I had to do a double take to make sure I wasn't seeing things. There was a house that had a blue star in its window. I hadn't seen one of those for years. Didn't even know those things were still around. I'm not even sure if theirs meant the same thing because it was rather small compared to the ones I recall seeing back in the day. But maybe they just shrunk it's look over the years.
I can't remember the name of this program that was popular in the 80s. Maybe it really was something as simple as The Blue Star Program. But it was simplistic enough that it was unmistakable whenever you saw one. The concept was any house with one of those large blue stars in the window was known as a "safe place". It was my understanding that if you were ever in trouble that you could go to one of those houses and they would help you out. You can't get anymore neighborly than that.
I always wondered how such a program went over in big cities where people were rumored to be less friendly. How many houses would you actually see one in the window? In Norwalk, it was pretty common. You could go down a street of houses and see one in just about every other window. I would imagine that was pretty typical in small towns like that where people even rarely locked their doors.
The one thing I kept thinking about the program was how receptive people would be if they were actually called to task. Especially in Norwalk if a person like me were to test the theory. It's not like there were a lot of 'us"there. I just had the funny feeling that if I were to come up to their door talking about I needed help that there was a good chance that no one would be home.
There was one time that I almost had to test that theory. I was in junior high school and this high school bully kept trying to terrorize me as I would walk home from school. Back then, the high school kids didn't look squirrley like they seem to look these days. They had that "Grease" apperance about them where many of them resembled 30-year-old men rather than kids. I, on the other hand, was nowhere near that stature so I was a bit intimidated. However, even then I figured my luck was better off trying to tough it and get home rather than going to someone's door and get embarrassed.
I just can't imagine that that program would still be alive and flourishing today. Folks are a lot the less trusting than they were back then. It's just the society we live in today. Of course there are folks out there that still want to be helpful; however, probably not as many want to advertise it with that big blue star. There are just too many wierdos out there that would take advantage of it for the wrong reasons. But it sure was a good concept while it lasted.