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Save Our Youth--Grow Watermelon

As you plan to plant your garden, don't forget to include some room for watermelon. You'll not
only be rewarded with luscious fruit that's the perfect antidote to Nebraska's heat--you'll be
saving our youth from delinquency.

Such was the gardening advice offered in 1911 by F.R. Galbraith of the Dunbar Review.
Watermelon stealing, according to Galbraith, was a community problem that community
members could easily solve. He wrote, "There are some people who think that a boy will steal
watermelons no difference how good their training. Some think a boy is a coward if he refuses
to steal watermelons.

"A boy likes melons and he ought to have them, but it is wrong for him to steal them. If
everybody in the town and country would raise a few melons every year, there would be very
little melon-stealing.

"The boys and grown up people could have melons without having to pay such enormous prices
for imported melons. If a boy is to have all the melons he wants, he will have to get them
cheaper, and so he steals them. Those who do not raise watermelons think that people who do
raise them should not kick if a boy comes in the patch and takes one little watermelon. If a
melon grower gives to one boy he would have to give to others and what would he have left if
he had a small family patch?

"We do not like to pay 40 cents a piece for our watermelons when they could be sold at 15
cents, if they were raised right here.

"We have often heard the question put to older people: 'Did you steal watermelons when you
were a boy?' It makes no difference whether the father stole melons or not, it is wrong and
offenders should be punished the same as horse stealing or chicken stealing.

"Let every parent who has boys give a part of the garden patch or corn field for a watermelon
patch, and teach him not to steal the produce of another's labor and stealing watermelons will be
soon abandoned."


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Last updated 14 September 2005

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