The jitney solution
Last Monday’s letter from Gerard V. Conway, re: “Surviving a gas shortage,” mentions the system used in Ireland during World War II.
I quote from a chapter on France during the Second World War from a book in progress, “Darkness and Light”:
“The winter of 1940 was extraordinarily cold and harsh and there was a terrible fuel shortage in France. Taxis had disappeared in 1940, and bicycles and horses were the main form of transportation. By late 1940, the streets were eerily empty and quiet. A few drivers, who had to have a German ausweis for a car, used converted cars called gasogenes, which were powered by wood used for fuel. This was burnt in washboilers bolted to the front, rear or top of vehicles, or towed behind in small trailers. Men on bicycles towed velo-taxi, a car’s back seat balanced on rear wheels, a sort of man-powered jitney.”
Humankind’s ingenuity usually finds a way through difficult situations.
Hispanics help Eagle County
On July 11, the Vail Daily published reasons residents would move from the area. Among the quotes was: “They [Hispanics] take advantage of Avon’s services and amenities and give a poor image, and give nothing back to the community.” The quote made me think of the many contributions that I observe from the local Hispanic community.
A local (all Hispanic) dance group has raised tens of thousands of dollars (mostly donated by Hispanics) to pay hospital bills for cancer patients and support cancer research. This group is paid nothing for their performances (while rehearsing around eight hours per week) and donates all proceeds to cancer and community funds.
Recently, when my father and I stopped to assist a man near the Wal-Mart roundabout, the only others who stopped were a group of about 20 Hispanic men ready to help out.
The principal of one of our large middle schools is Hispanic and serves hundreds of children each year. Hispanic students at Battle Mountain High School support other students in their scholastic and social endeavors. LULAC, an all-Hispanic group at Eagle Valley High School, organized a large community event and donated all proceeds to the Shaw Cancer Center.
The Hispanic community has warmly welcomed my family. They have invited us into their homes, fed us, and made us feel like a loved part of their own families. In addition, they helped us move all of our belongings into our new home.I know that many Caucasian families also do much for our community and this letter is not a comparison. I am not Hispanic and have no Hispanic relatives. However, I will gratefully stand as one witness to the great contribution the Hispanic community makes to our area and my own family. When the Hispanics leave this valley, I will leave also.
Trevor Warburton Avon