The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Jim Clayton, Quill Reporter
The man who is believed by many to have been the richest man who ever lived, John D. Rockefeller, and his family have no idea that the name of the company he founded is used on a daily basis by the teens that live in and around La Harpe.
If you were a fly on the wall anywhere the local youth happen to be, it would not be uncommon to hear them say, "Are you going to the Standard later?"
Someone who is not from La Harpe would think they are using some form of teen-speak in order to hide where they are going or what they are going to be doing. After all, they are teens and they shouldn't be trusted!
So they have created this secret hiding place where they can all go and do bad things and get into trouble, so much so they have had to give it a secret code name to keep the "older folks' from finding them out.
Nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact the truth is just the opposite. The Standard is simply a reference to the lot that used to be home to a Standard gas station in La Harpe until the late 1980's.
It is on Main Street, it is well lit, and every kid who might be there can be seen by simply driving by.
As a matter of fact, the kids that hang out there will honk and wave it you happen to drive by and they recognize you.
Illini-West High School sophomore and La Harpe resident, Mason Beals put it this way, "It's a safe place to hang out with friends and have a good time.
It is right in the middle of town and people can drive by, stop and find out what's going on, it is purely a social hang out."
Beals brother, an IWHS junior, Mitch, agrees, "Our parents are okay with it, and we can hang out with our buddies and they (parents) know right where we are."
He also agreed that it is a safe place to be on a weekend night.
Although there are not many Standard gas stations around anymore, there are standards that we hold to and live by that may be epitomized by this hangout.
Webster defines standard in several ways, "a conspicuous object (as a banner) formerly carried at the top of a pole and used to mark a rallying point especially in battle or to serve as an emblem."
Well there are no battles being fought on Main Street in La Harpe, but there is certainly a rallying point for our youth called the Standard. And it happens to be very conspicuous.
So much so that even local law enforcement has been known to stop and pay a visit.
"We actually cooked out on a small grill once and one of the local cops brought us a twelve pack of pop," said Chris Beaver, also a sophomore at IWHS.
It seems the police agree with Beaver's take that, "It is a fun place to hang out without the temptation of drugs or alcohol, yea, it's safe."
That attitude seems to hold true for Beaver's father, Steve, as well. "I think it's great.
The kids can congregate in one spot, and we know where they are," added the senior Beaver.
"As long as they behave and don't cause a commotion I support the kids being there."
Webster has another definition for standard, "something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example."
"We did get run off the other day because we all had our radios on with our doors open and the music playing kind of loud.
And the police made us break it up," continued the younger Beals.
Ê"From a parental perspective, if they act up or cause a commotion they should be asked to leave," said Beaver.
So, it seems the local teens have a place to go that is safe, friendly and free of the elements that parents don't want their kids exposed to, right in the middle of town under the watchful eyes of local law enforcement, or anyone else who happens to drive by.
So it seems there are, in accordance with Webster, and maybe Mr. Rockefeller, standards at the Standard.