All Alone in this Together

I was crying in my car today. Big sobs accompanied by gulps of air brought on by the sense of despair and frustration I feel regarding the state of our town and its schools. My husband and I moved to this town eleven years ago. I was pregnant with our first. We chose this town because my husband grew up here and we had an established network of friends. It wasn’t ideal for his commute but why move to just any old town when we could instantly become a part of a community.

I fell in love with this town. One of its main strengths is that people stay here. Many of our friend grew up here, went away to college and then returned to raise their families. In other words, there are lots of “townies” here and for me that’s a positive. When people make the choice to stay in a community they invest in it. They pull together.

Next year I will have lived here longer than any place consecutively in my life. I want to celebrate the roots I’ve put down here and the security of knowing I call this place home. My plan is to throw a huge party  – “The Amanda Becomes a Townie Party”. I want to celebrate with my community, which is why I’m so upset by its current state of affairs. I’m invested and it’s personal.

I drove past the reservoir on route 120 which is usually full of water and a scene of tranquility on the road towards home. Today (through my tears) it was nearly drained: rocky, barren and ugly. It was exactly how I was feeling. I pulled over and walked down the path to get a closer look – something I’ve never done. I took a photo and sat on a rock. That’s when I noticed I had company. Two deer were off in the distance picking at the scrub and walking towards me. Their presence brightened my mood. It symbolized that I’m not alone. We are all in this together.

We have a town full of people who are involved, motivated and willing to get behind the right cause. Our local newspaper has published editorials and letters full of ideas and feedback. The next steps lie with our elected and appointed officials. It is their responsibility to take these challenges and ideas and come up with solutions that move us off the current continuum and make step function change towards recovery. Their task is to be leaders and present a longer term strategy. Please be the leaders we elected you to be so we can start rebuilding this town together.