Orange Street News



By Hilde Kate Lysiak

There is an unspoken menace facing those of us under fifteen years old.

No, it’s not disgustingly low expectations. Or lice (which sucks).

I call it youthism.

You haven’t heard of youthism?

Youthism is the discrimination against a human being for no other reason than being young.

I recently had a first hand experience with youthism while shopping for Christmas presents for my sisters in my downtown. I was at a local Antique shop looking through some CD’s when I felt a bony hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see a kind looking old lady.

“Excuse me dear, but is you Mommy or Daddy with you?”

My face turned bright red with anger.

I knew where this was going.

There was a lot of things I wanted to say.

I wanted to tell her I have been walking around town by myself for years. That by the time I had turned seven my parents had two babies to take care of and no longer had the time or energy  to keep track of me.

I wanted to tell her that I was insulted.

I wanted to let her know that I am a business owner, just like her. That in my pocket was cash that I had earned through MY hard work.

But instead, all that came out was one meak word.

“No,” I whispered.

“Then I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” the nice old lady said politely.

I sheepishly walked out the door.

I felt humiliated. How could this have happened?

I’m sure the nice old lady created this policy because people my age have stolen from her store.

But that still wasn’t a good excuse.

We are all individuals. Would it be fair if she banned all African American people just because one had stolen something in the past? Or all Native American men?

Of course not! No one would tolerate that!

But then why do we tolerate banning an entire group of people based on their age?

I wish that antique store was the only one that instituted this disgusting rule, but sadly, the policy of not allowing young people into stores without an adult is common in places all over the country.

How do we deal with it?

The answer is simple; young people need to band together and stop giving businesses that have a policy of Youthism our dollars. If you are told we aren’t welcome in the store because of our age, don’t go back with your parents and give them your money! All that does is encourage these discriminatory business owners.

After I cooled off I walked to the next block and found a different antique store. They were happy to take my money, despite the fact that I wasn’t accompanied by a geriatric. I bought a cool purse and a Spice Girls CD. They made nearly $20 in business. I call that a win-win.

Real freedom begins when young people stop letting older people define us by our age and instead looking at us as the unique individuals we are.

I’m not JUST a twelve year old. I’m so much more. And so are other kids.


  1. Jeffrey Field
    February 23, 2019

    Well spoken!

    As a retired journalist/teacher, I admire your bravado.

    Wondering, are you also a photographer? When I was in the news biz I did everything but solicit advertising. Learned my way around a darkroom. I still shoot, but with a Canon 40D. These shots are from the Trump rally in El Paso, TX. Trump is a pig, but the old newsworthy meme kicked in so I went.


  2. Steven Skelton
    February 23, 2019

    Hello Ms. Lysiak, Maybe you could do some stories on this issue, surveying various businesses, eliciting their reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patti Bender
    February 23, 2019

    Ageism is a problem at the other end, too. Older people–gray-haired, retired–are treated as though their mental capacities are diminished, aren’t given the respect that they deserve as individuals. Watch for it. You may start to feel you have a lot in common with people fifty years older than you, and like your other stories, this issue isn’t getting the attention it deserves. I appreciate your work. Keep at it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sherry A
      February 23, 2019

      Patti, I was thinking something similar. It’s ironic that we get it at both ends, especially as females.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patti Bender
        February 23, 2019

        Indeed! And if a woman is overweight, she is dismissed long before her hair turns gray. We have quite a few of these unsupportable biases yet to counteract.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed. I’ve reached gray hair stage and finding myself deeply irritated by younger people (not children!) who call me “dear” or act as if I’m not in possession of my faculties or are otherwise patronising.The young and the old have some common cause in this regard.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patti Bender
        March 16, 2019

        A friend went gray, and her associates began to bypass her for substantive work and even suggested that she was becoming forgetful. She dyed her hair brunette again, and the behavior stopped. Pure bias.


  4. dameillyadillya
    February 23, 2019

    Ms Hilde: I understand! My Granddaughter is a few years older than you, has a job now (actually 2 Jobs) And a Car, Insurance, all the stuff. BUT, NONE of the cell phone companies will allow her to have a cell phone contract, BECAUSE SHE ISNT 18!! I UNDERSTAND!!! My GD has been paying all her own bills since she was 12! Does this seem FAIR? Of course, she doesn’t have a credit score, either!

    Now, I’m with you, VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS!!! EVERY BUSINESS, big or small, has to make money to pay the bills. I CAN understand the Stop-N-Rob just off of school grounds that says “NO more than 3 kids at a time at 3pm”…I’ve been in that Stop-N-Rob, and watched a minivan of kids ALL come in at the same time, and so confuse & confound the owner just checking out 2-3 customers that the OTHER 4 customers STOLE more than twice what the man sold! It was like candy was FLYING OUT of the store!! What is a shop to do?? I imagine that CDs & DVDs are pretty easily stolen too!

    But, if you are picked out…and a subject of “ageism”…you are doing the right thing…find another store to buy your items from! But, go another step, Hilde! You have the perfect vehicle here for making note of the issue. As a “Public Service”, for school mates and others who read your paper, run a list of businesses who prefer not to have business with “under-age adults”…that’s what YOU are…you are an adult, you are just “under-age”! 🙂.

    From there, ask the adults you know to not patronize the shops which follow a “Youthism Ban”! Get your Community involved, get your school involved!

    When your Mom pays the electric bill, the Electric Company doesn’t separate out the dollars Mom earned, versus the dollars that, for what ever reason you gave to Mom, right? And when you go to buy a purse, Marshall’s doesn’t say “Oh, sorry, Hilde, you are trying to pay in “Hilde dollars”, we only take “Mom & Dad dollars”…. In fact, if you earned enough in a month that you could pay the Mortgage, that BANK WOULD TAKE THAT MONEY, right? And NEVER ask if DAD earned the money or Mom did or YOU DID!!

    As you and your peers become employed and get better jobs, you will discover that you will have “greater power of the purse”. Now is the time to talk to your mentors & councilors to get guidance on how best to investigate the power of money, the power of saving and the power of investing, if you haven’t done so already!

    No doubt you’ll succeed!!
    Be Happy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ray Gordon
    February 23, 2019

    When you’re older, you’ll understand LOL


    • bbrannan1
      February 23, 2019

      I wonder…how much older? Because I’m 45 and still don’t understand 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Edith Aint
      February 27, 2019

      I thought I’d understand ageism as I grew older too, but….I still don’t get it. If I’m ageist against anyone, it’s those people between 15 and 75, which probably includes most of the commenters here. Including myself. Children and elders are the wisest among us, while those between 15 and 75 believe their combination of “life experience” and “physical fitness” entitle them to unbridled arrogance. Your comment (especially that oh-so-mature “LOL” at the end) basically proves my point.

      Parents are especially ageist. I’m sorry to offend any parents here, but while parenting does indeed require selfless acts, almost every reason for wanting children is inherently selfish. There is absolutely nothing that makes a parent more mature or respectable than a childless individual. Quite the opposite; most parents I’ve met were strong, mature, intelligent individuals before having children, but became weak, narcissistic, and emotionally unstable after having children. They don’t seem to recover their wits until they reach old age.


  6. Clarence Cullimore Mercer
    February 23, 2019

    Your comment area just ate my comment, and because of complications of age 72, I cannot remember the lengthy argument on behalf of twelve year olds that often is wiped out by puberty.


  7. marciamacinnis
    February 23, 2019

    Name of store?


  8. Heather Sendo-Miller
    February 23, 2019

    Have you ever looked into the idea of taxation without representation for all people under 18? It’s something that has always bothered me. Most people don’t pay attention because the saying is over 200 years old ( American revolution), but it occurs all over the U.S. And people don’t care about this either……..its just a bunch of kids…grumble grumble, grumble. Btw I am 63

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Charles Jacobs
    February 25, 2019

    Hilde, please remember that the young are the future. The old are the past. Some of the old age in their minds more than their bodies. Try to forgive the elderly who forget their past. I read of your adventures and I know that you will accomplish great things. I would like to be around to know of your accomplishments as an adult. However by that time I will undoubtedly have left this world. So I will have to follow your youthful adventures and imagine what you will accomplish in the future. Good luck and be the best that you can be. America needs many more like you.



  11. davidls76
    February 25, 2019

    One of the things that aggravated me the most when I was young was when I was told I couldn’t do something for no other reason than that I hadn’t crossed an imaginary line in time. And of course when I did eventually cross those arbitrary lines, I wasn’t magically endowed with maturity, wisdom, or skills that I didn’t have the day before, but now it was somehow no longer dangerous for me to carry out those activities. It didn’t make any sense to me then and it doesn’t make any sense to me now.

    Since you seem to be experiencing a similar frustration, I wanted to let you know about a book that I wish had been around when I was young. It’s called Teen 2.0 by, Robert Epstein. I think you may enjoy it as it explains why attitudes and laws that negatively impact young people came about and how they ended up creating new problems.

    Keep up the good work. I love seeing stories of young people going against the narrative that says that they can be nothing more than incompetent children.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As you get older you probably will experience more backlash against young adults. This backlash is enraging, but it is important to keep in mind that it is not entirely unfounded. I’m sure you will see more young adults doing bad things and hopefully understand that mean adults aren’t entirely evil.


    • Edith Aint
      February 27, 2019

      According to your chart, rates of arrest peak at 16, 18, and 21. All are arbitrary “maturity benchmark” ages. As for that little peak at 23, I attribute it to the infuriating realization that our legal system is absolute bunk.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Not JUST – McKenzie Hopkins

  14. Malcolm Harrison
    February 27, 2019

    Hilde, you’re an inspiration. The. World needs your courage and intelligence. Em.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Edith Aint
    February 27, 2019

    Wow, I don’t really know what to say….I agree with you 100% on the age issue, and I must warn you: those imaginary lines mean absolutely nothing! When you’re 13, you receive no more respect than when you were 12. No respect at 16 either. Even when you turn 18, officially a legal adult, you’ll still be treated as a child. 21? A child legally allowed to get drunk.

    I understand this lack of automatic respect, to an extent. No one grows up overnight. A 16 year old can legally drive a car, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be good at it, no more than when they were 15. In fact, we would probably have safer drivers if we taught them younger. So what do we do? Raise the driving age to 18 in some places. The legal age of adulthood.

    At 18, now we can smoke a cigarette as we drive to the ballot on election day. Maybe drop the cigarette in the car, almost crash into another vehicle while trying to extinguish the embers, then vote for a politician to strip away even more rights because we don’t know what’s good for us. Other adults may joke about us being “all grown up” now, but they still call us “kids” whenever we disagree with their values. Just an excuse to dismiss and belittle their opposition as being less intelligent.

    Of course, we must truly be adults when we turn 21. Our brains are developed now, all grown up upstairs, so we can legally get drunk so long as we don’t drive. Other adults will now harass us into drinking, sacrificing maturity and intelligence for temporary pleasure, and we still need to “grow up” if we refuse to celebrate an arbitrary number with alcohol intoxication. We’re not being responsible adults, we’re immature “party poopers” who don’t know how to have fun. After 18+ years of playing with dolls or climbing on the jungle gym, we don’t know how to have fun because we’d rather not get drunk.

    And if we do get drunk for our 21st birthday, other adults use our cognitive impairment and bad behavior to justify more discrimination. We aren’t “real” men or women if we can’t hold our liquor. Those “drink responsibly” commercials? Physically impossible. The moment you begin consuming alcohol, your mental faculties steadily decline, making irresponsible decisions ever more likely. Although that first drink was your choice, and you should be held responsible for whatever you do under the influence.

    I don’t believe in prohibiting any drug for any age. These age limits don’t prevent young people from drinking or smoking, only increasing the allure of rebellion against our masters. Yet most mishaps with alcohol, tobacco, and other restricted items occur when legal adults act with arrogance. Age limits don’t encourage maturity or responsibility, they encourage the opposite: being a total moron because “I’m an adult so I can do what I want LOL”


  16. Robert Kempka
    March 2, 2019

    D.H. & J.F. Hilde does not reply to ANY comments posted here so don’t presume to know her thoughts. If you wish to continue to post insulting (and completely non sequitur) comments there are better forums to exhibit your ignorance.


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