Road Construction: Fighting the Tar Trucks

By: Joseph Geliebter, Ph.D.

I think the women who led a protest movement on my street during the 1930s were quite prescient.

It was about 80 years ago that my block – currently in the process of being repaved – was initially paved and converted from a dirt road. The ladies living here at the time weren’t having any of it. Armed with their voices and the baby strollers that they pushed, these women formed a human roadblock to prevent heavy duty trucks from rolling smooth tar over the hard-packed dirt that once formed my street.

This past summer, as my street was being repaved, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to those women protesters. Eighty years ago, they wanted to protect their beautiful yellow dirt road, where horse-drawn carriages once delivered milk. They wanted to preserve a way of life.

Watch the “Road Construction” Video!

Road Construction from Unplug Reconnect on Vimeo.

 

These many decades later, we were reminded of that simpler time, if only briefly, when the street-repaving project rendered our block inaccessible by car. For just a few days, we experienced life as it must have been in the 1930s. We walked to and from errands instead of hopping in and out of our cars. We saw more of each other and actually stopped to chat awhile. The pace of our lives slowed down, if only briefly.

The women protesters of that other era faced more than just a few tar trucks, of course; they were railing against the forces of a new industrial age – and they were outmatched. But if their futile protest movement sent us any message, it’s this: while progress must go forward – we must make the most of it, but we need to remember to slow down our lives and strive for the ideals of simpler times.

TOMORROW – Dr. Geliebter discusses unplugging with Leo, the building inspector.

 

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