The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 16, 2000

Opinions



The Mosquito looks for a new home

The Carlisle Mosquito, which has been renting office space out of the Carlisle Institute on Westford Street for the past year and a half, has learned that over the next year or so it must find a new home. A Carlisle Communications Inc. (CCI) ad hoc space committee is addressing this issue, but we feel it is time to alert the community to our needs with the hope of eliciting some new ideas from you, our readers, as to where we might relocate.

Since its inception 28 years ago, the Mosquito has operated out of various locations around townstaff members' homes, the back rooms of the Carlisle Post Office, in the basement of the former Congregational Church at the corner of Church and School Streets, Saint Irene's Rectory, and for 15 years in the converted workshop and garage of the late Mary Diment on South Street. For the past year and a half, our offices have been temporarily located on the ground floor of the Carlisle Institute.

What is it that we are looking for? We would welcome specific suggestions of properties that would give us suitable office space, either to rent (long term) or to buy. We will need about 1,400 square feet, with parking for up to 10 cars. The newspaper operates Monday through Wednesday, plus Tuesday evening and a few hours on Sunday.

One suggestion that has been made is that there might be another nonprofit group that would wish to share a property with CCI, either as tenant or landlord.

The Mosquito is the eyes and ears of the community. We welcome your help and any ideas you might have as we embark on our quest for a new location. Call CCI board members Caren Ponty at 371-7300 or Lenny Johnson at 369-1495 or leave a message at the Mosquito office at 369-8313.



Two Cheers for Father's Day

Fatherhood has experienced a few bumps in the road in the last quarter century. The old style of fathers -- aloof from their children and most domestic arts; bread-winners more at home at the office than the home; dispensers of Olympian advice has been swept away in a new cultural tide that has fathers changing diapers on paternity leave, filling bottles and running sleep-overs. Our role model has changed from "Father Knows Best" to "Three Guys and a Baby."

And the press has been unrelievedly bad. This spring a Maine father forgot to drop off his infant at the daycare center on the way to work. When someone raised the alarm, he was tearfully grateful. When the local police contemplated charges, he, being a lawyer, threatened suit for breach of privacy.

Some time ago, the Mosquito police log carried the story of a child who suddenly found himself home alone. The panicked child called the police. They promptly arrived and helped the child locate the father, who had been home all along

In southern California a father, driving along the freeway to work, noticed that people in cars around him began flashing lights, honking horns, pointing frantically at his car roof. He pulled off the highway, climbed out of the car, and discovered his baby securely strapped to the car carrier, on top of the roof.

Some defenders of fathers claim such examples of hyper-focus derive from thousands of years of hunter-gatherer behavior. While females tended the cave, looked after the children, gathered berries, made clothes from skins (in a word, multi-tasking), males were following the rumps of deer, caribou, and mastodon across the tundra for days on end (goal orientation). Now, in a single generation, thousands of years of behavioral programming have gone out the window.

On the editorial pages, from the pulpit, in conversation, we hear of fathers who find fatherhood too difficult. Father's Day is a curious blend of nostalgia for the old-style, benevolent patriarch; desire for a newer, more engaged spouse; and longing for those dearly (or otherwise) departed to return to defend hearth and home. Life with father sometimes doesn't work out; life without him rarely does. We let go and hold on to icons, to institutions, to our own parents and children. Fathers seem to be the locus of this ambivalence. Mother's Day brings out unabashed adulation. On Father's Day, the flag is rarely at full mast.

Everyone knows what to do on Mother's Day: flowers, chocolates and, above all, get her out of the kitchen. Father's Day is more complex: a power tool, perhaps Red Sox tickets. Cologne? A book? No one takes dear old dad out to dinner; he's been dining out at home for years.

Father's Day began in Spokane, Washington, in 1910. A certain Mrs. Dodd wished to acknowledge her own father who had raised the family single-handedly after his wife died giving birth to the sixth child. Undoubtedly, Father's Day is a good idea. Like Mrs. Dodd's father, there are saints among us. But I suspect most fathers tend to avoid the spotlight on this day, due mostly to sins of omission: the game of catch postponed, the camping trip never taken, the bedtime story not read. Perhaps this year we can turn off the TV and computer on Father's Day (our modern equivalent of caribou and mastodon). I leave the next step to each father. Maybe, by day's end, someone will rediscover the words of Prospero's daughter at the close of The Tempest: "O brave new world, that has such people in't!"


2000 The Carlisle Mosquito