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My Turn: Holiday vandals steal dreams, hard work

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2002

Related Letter:

Vandals Ruin Season

I am replying to my mom's letter about the vandals who thought it would be fun to steal people's Christmas dreams and hard work.

For years my family and I took pride in what we had purchased. We all pooled what money we had; some had more then others, but we all did it together to buy our "family compound" on Tongass Boulevard. It meant that for the first time in years, we all were not scattered around the area or states in different homes. We took pride in cleaning up the complex and fixing all the apartments. When Christmas came around, we went all out to show the neighborhood we took pride in ownership, and planned to stay. We lit up the area with lights on every window, every door, fence post and tree we had painstakingly planted to make it very nice. The cars passing by started to slow down and take notice, people stopped by and thanked us for making it nice. The second year came and then the vandals hit. I couldn't believe it, someone could be so thoughtless as to steal a person's dreams and hard work. The police could only take a report, since the cowards struck at night and no one saw them.

Sadly I moved away and headed north. But before leaving Juneau, a very good friend gave me an almost new wheelchair for my mother to use, since her mobility was starting to go. This gave her freedom in stores that don't have mart-carts or wheelchairs for handicapped customers. On my long drive up to the Mat-Su valleys near Anchorage, my cell phone started working near Tok. I phoned home to let them know everything was going well with our long drive with my pets and husband. That's when I heard the shocking news that some cretin stole my mother's new wheelchair out of her car, in her yard. I couldn't believe it. I called the Juneau police from Tok and filed a report; they could do nothing. I placed ads on the Juneau Web, nothing. Some nice lady found her wheelchair near the buoy dock four months later, trashed and in bad shape. Someone had gone joyriding, and dumped it near the grocery store, eight miles from the crime. I sure hope they slept well knowing they stole a handicapped person's mobility.

Then last week I called Mom, as I do daily to find out what's up. I got an earful with what had happened to all the Christmas decorations I had helped purchase over the years. It made me sickened, then very angry. How could people's kids have grown up to do things like this? Didn't their parents teach them stealing is wrong? Don't the schools in Juneau teach reading, since they blatantly missed the no-trespassing signs plastered all over the fence. They not only went through one fenced area, but two areas to get to my only motioned Santa left hanging on a wall under a window; the teeter-totter one got stolen last year. I don't get it, or maybe my mother taught us too well. We respected other people's things and property. If we wanted something, we got a job and bought it ourselves. It just blows me away to think some of Juneau's youth run the streets, stealing and vandalizing the area, and the parents don't have a clue where their kids are, let alone what they are doing. It cost us a fortune to buy all the Christmas lights, and large motioned Santa's to make our home a home for Christmas. We took pride in our stuff, and those kids destroyed it all in one senseless act, only to further their own status with the buddies they hung around with. I sure hope they feel good, cause buddy, I want charges pressed, not to mention your getting coal from Santa this year. Plus we will take your next permanent fund dividend to replace everything you broke and stole from our home.

Erin Heywood, whose mother is a Juneau resident, lives in Wasilla.



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