Monday, August 25, 2014


On Friday, the visiting grandsons asked if they could go to the park and have a picnic.  We were running out of time-- their mom was due to pick them up about 10:00, and it was 9:30.  We had just finished cleaning up after our blueberry pancake breakfast, but I agreed we should spend a few minutes in the park that faces our house.  I threw some berries, grapes, and bananas into a bag and we walked across the street.

I have been making it a point to try new experiences available in this area before we move away, so this activity just seemed to fit.  I hadn't eaten in the park in years.  When we first moved here 24 years ago it was a barren sandlot.  There was no real grass, only weeds.  There was no sidewalk, no fence, no trees, no pergola with tables, and no benches.  I often witnessed cars driving across the lot to get to where they were going a minute sooner.  It was a dangerous place for children to be, not that it was very inviting!

Some neighbors and I started a neighborhood association.  We were concerned about the "park" and about crime, so we met monthly, organized a crime watch, and got to know our neighbors as friends.  I have fond memories if those days!  For a time I was president, and I think we accomplished a lot as a group.  One thing that we were able to do was to work with the township to create a real park.  Using the Green Acres fund we helped design a grassy area ringed with trees, surrounded by a sidewalk and fence to keep cars out.  A lovely pergola was built with two heavy tables. We used it as a group for annual neighborhood picnics.  Then, for several years a group of teenagers used the tabletops as their private space, carving their initials into it and monopolizing it.  The teens have grown up and moved on, and the park is quiet again.  The trees have matured and it is a lovely spot.  

One of our members, Stanley, was very active in our association and was a strong supporter.  He was a friend to all, and when he passed we put a brass plaque on the pergola with his name on it, in his memory.

I found the plaque during our visit on Friday and talked to my grandsons about that sweet man who was my friend.  The plaque was dark with tarnish and was barely visible.  Some enthusiastic town painters had sloppily painted around it.  After the boys had left for home I returned to the park with a screwdriver.  I carefully removed Stanley's plaque and took it home to clean.  A couple of hours later it was back in place, shiny and legible, with a coat of lacquer to keep it shiny for another 20 years (I hope!) It's so shiny that I can even see it from my window now.  I think Stanley would be happy to see it restored.


  1. you really did that? very nice of you, i have fond memories of stanley.