Fear Itself: Though We Are Separated by Thousands of Years, the Prophet Jeremiah Has Lessons to Offer from His Own Time of Terror

By Camille, Alice | U.S. Catholic, June 2008 | Go to article overview

Fear Itself: Though We Are Separated by Thousands of Years, the Prophet Jeremiah Has Lessons to Offer from His Own Time of Terror


Camille, Alice, U.S. Catholic


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

AS A CHILD I WANDERED THROUGH MY WORLD WITH A fairly fearless heart. Granted, the world was a very limited place then and quite secure. We lived at the edge of a little Pennsylvania coal town on a street that was never very busy. Before I was 5 I could cross that street alone and head for the nearby railroad tracks heedless of traffic. The train came through early in the morning, so I knew better than to play on the tracks at that hour. After that one potentially dangerous moment had passed, there wasn't much else to worry about.

Our house was at one corner of a block that had a beer garden at the other end. Folks we knew as daily patrons with serious drinking problems--we just called them drunks back then--walked past our house every morning and staggered back that way every evening. I remember them as mostly kindly people, like the grandmotherly woman we called Drunken Mary, who often handed out candy to us kids from housedress pockets that stank of cigarettes. She would greet us with a drinking toast in Russian that I was told meant, "To your health, friends!" We were happy to have the treats.

Other adults never warned us against contact with our inebriated neighbors. In our young minds these folks went to the bar the way our parents went to work. It was their job, their place in our society, to sit on those stools all day. And by all accounts they were good at it.

And if one of our "drunks" got into trouble--as when the skinny old fellow named Bundy fell down on the sidewalk and couldn't right himself--my Dad would come out and offer help in a friendly and non-judgmental manner.

He reacted pretty much the same way when the citizens of our town with mental illnesses came by acting out their pathologies. A guy we called Pete the Cop would stand in the middle of the street and direct traffic--whether or not there was any. Pete was not a cop. But everyone called him Pete the Cop because he thought he was one.

I suppose there were the usual things to fear even in our little town: dogs that bite, stray firecrackers on the Fourth of July, and of course, bedtimes that were a little too dark. But I honestly can't remember ever feeling afraid to be alone in the woods on the other side of the tracks, or unsupervised in the heart of downtown, or talking with a stranger.

Everybody I ever met seemed to know whose daughter I was just by looking at me: "You've got your mother's face." "I worked in the mines with your Nonno." Even if I didn't know them from Adam, they knew my family, and that seemed to draw the community comfortably close.

WHEN I THINK BACK ON HOW TERROR-FREE MY CHILD hood was, I feel real regret for the climate of fear in which my nieces and nephews are now growing up. It seems they have every reason to be afraid everywhere of just about everything. Stranger danger is no joke. But worse than that, they have learned to be wary of the very people I was taught to trust: too-familiar relatives, teachers, priests, and coaches.

Eating certain foods might have made me sulky, but I never had to worry if the spinach would put me in the hospital or the hamburger would drive me mad. As a kid, I didn't have to count calories or wonder about the effects of a cookie on my blood sugar. It never occurred to me that my Christmas present might be made of toxic plastic. In fact, none of my amusements could increase my chances of having behavioral disorders requiring medication--unless you counted my addiction to Dark Shadows every day after school.

But today's kids also have bigger things to worry about. If a vegetable does harbor salmonella, do they have medical coverage? Even if they avoid suspicious grown-ups at school and on the playground, their own classmates might gun them down. Sexual awareness descends on them earlier and carries even more serious ramifications than pregnancy if they experiment with it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Fear Itself: Though We Are Separated by Thousands of Years, the Prophet Jeremiah Has Lessons to Offer from His Own Time of Terror
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.