Thursday, August 29, 2013

An adventure in the park

For the last month I have been swept up by the Boston Park.  You remember the sandstone walks I saw, lifted from under years of sod, back when I had to go see what “dressing a park” was about.

Sandstone pavers being lifted from under the sod

I have been diligent about the township’s other business; I have schlepped children to band practice twice a week, and two Quidditch tournaments, but I’ve lived in the park.  In my head.

When I first saw that park in June I knew it had a story.  I threw it out to the township, tell me the story. Send me an email. Call me. I’ll write it down for you.

At the end of two weeks, except for one person who approached me on the street, nothing.  I suppose this lesson is taught in anthropology 101—if you want to know, get out there and ask. So I did. 

The oldest towns person I spoke with is close to one hundred, and watched the park being made.  One of the road guys and I went out looking for a piece of evidence to substantiate a legend of the park—and found it. 

One township septuagenarian had no use for the park.  “That piece of dirt!”  Many people I chased down did not live in the hamlet of Boston in its heyday.  “I’m sorry, I can’t help you.  Why don’t you call…..”  And so it went.

I’m near the end.  I want to polish my paragraphs a bit more, and do some copyrighting of the pictures.  Then it will go up on the township website as a piece of history preserved. I’ll work on redacting some names and publish it here, too.  It’s a grand story.

The relaid sidewalks
Today a peripheral event brought me close to tears. I made it my project, when the township made the website, to scan and post the complete minutes of the township, since its formation in 1811.  Of course some are missing.  Not many, but enough to be aggravating.

I wrote a little article for the community newspaper, Like a Scavenger Hunt, describing how the minutes probably looked, even the location of the homes of the clerks with missing minutes.  Aside from snippy answers from heirs, nothing.

Today I talked to the man whose wife led the drive to save the little park from the great National Park, back in the nineties.  At the end of the conversation he said, “Oh, by the way, I’ve been meaning to bring you one book of minutes I have.”  A book covering the thirties and the forties.

I was supposed to ask about the park.


  1. I am really, really looking forward to the story of the park. And so very happy that you have found another book of missing minutes.
    Those relaid sidewalks look amazing.

  2. Elephant's Child took the words right out of my mouth - all of them!

  3. Isn't it amazing how we go looking for 'minutes' and find treasure? Good job, Joanne! Echoing E.C. and Jenny above!

  4. Yep....face to face....that's the way to get facts. Such a wonderful treasure for the community.

  5. Parks are wonderful pieces of social history, especially the small local parks. Well done for digging into this history - we all will enjoy reading the results of your research.

  6. Hari OM
    Oh this is marvellous stuff and has whetted the appetite for the next part very nicely! YES - you WERE meant to ask - folks will always tell you stuff but don't like committing themselves to ink/type!! YAM xxx

  7. The relaid sidewalk looks so great! it makes me want to walk through the park on it.
    I'm glad you got at least one book of the missing minutes. Hopefully more will follow. Town history should be preserved, written down for future generations to learn about.

  8. Some places just click with us and I always wonder why that is. Past lives? A stray memory floating around that finds its way into your purse? No idea. I often feel the way you describe about houses. My own home is nearly 100 years old and I really do wish that the walls could talk to me.

  9. How many other books are tucked away in attics and basements just waiting to be found?
    Jane x

  10. Persistence brings results, well done Joanne. I am looking forward the story.

  11. Good for you--preserving the priceless. Sometimes when we go looking for stuff like that other stuff gets dropped in our lap. History waiting for the right person to come along. You are that person.

  12. That is a post I will not miss.

  13. Frankly, I think YOU are the treasure of the community! That place is really fortunate to have such a dedicated person to whom the history means so much. I sure hope they appreciate you.

    1. Thank you Sharon. Actually I am a person of small authority and great curiosity. Frequently I am taken to task by a person of great authority "for overstepping." When asked to stop smirking I hold back the guffaw until I'm out of the meeting. I have fun.

  14. Carry on Overstepping the mark Joanne ! Wonderful.

  15. You are really amazing, Joanne! I'm so impressed with your perseverance and dedication. Your community is lucky to have you.