To the Editor:

About roadside litter and graffiti, it is very noticeable today. Back in the 1940s and '50s, there wasn't any of either kind.

I speak of New York City, where we lived.

In every car, parents had a paper bag handy to put crash into. Nothing was tossed out a car window.

This respectful behavior began at home. In public schools, it was taught and learned for 12 years.

If a child of any age played with a ball and it landed on a neighbor's lawn, the neighbor would be asked if the ball could be retrieved.

In school, if a student dropped paper or pencil in class, the teacher would halt the lesson until the student picked it up.

The result was, if something fell, it was picked up fast as all the students would be looking over.

Desk tops were kept orderly so nothing would fall to get teachers' attention.

In 1947 my parents were planning a trip by car across the country that would be two and a half months long.

Out to California, up into Canada, back home to New York, there were no interstate highways. Roads across the nation were mostly two lanes.

For the entire trip we would see no graffiti.

Today, before we get a half mile from our house, there is litter on both sides of the road.

I would guess public schools today say nothing to students who drop paper in classrooms.

Walter F. Heydt

New Milford