Friday, January 21, 2000
A Name That Fits
Last year, the hard work of some ardent conservationists came to a positive conclusion when taxpayers agreed to make a significant financial commitment and Carlisle acquired a beautiful piece of agricultural land at the corner of Fiske and Curve Streets. However, I believe that the town's 35.7-acre parcel, commonly referred to as the Wang-Coombs land, should be given a more appropriate name to carry forward into the new millenium and beyond.
To explain the current indentifier, the 44.2-acre parcel had been held by Juliette Wang Coombs since 1981. However, Mr. Coombs is now deceased and the real estate transaction was with Juliette Wang. It is my understanding that neither Wang nor Coombs ever lived in Carlisle or had any ties to the town. Furthermore, there was no contribution of land nor discount off the market price, either of which might have warranted keeping the current designation.
As for a new name, one resident suggested that perhaps it could reflect the rural character or agricultural use of the property. At one time, proponents of the sale referred to the parcel as the "Curve Street Cornfields." Perhaps the name could convey the community spirit which was a driving force behind the purchase, or could honor a conservationist who worked diligently for this acquisition or has made a large commitment to preserving land in Carlisle.
I have no perfect name, but I wanted to plant the seed of an idea before "Wang-Coombs" is forever marked in the annals of Carlisle history. It might be nice if the conservation commission, as overseers of the land, would initiate a "name the parcel" contest so that by Old Home Day, when the corn in those fields should be knee-high, residents could appropriately celebrate and name the most recent land acquisition.
Yellow Page Blues
I wish I had a decent phone book. Actually, I can count nine directories on my shelf, but separately and in aggregate they are inadequate.
Annually, I receive the "Carlisle Town Book," which includes residential and business listings within Carlisle, and a limited selection of business listings in Concord and Acton. I also receive "The Carlisle Phone Book," published by the Red Balloon Nursery School, which presents a similar scope of listings, along with useful information about various town offices and public and private volunteer committees. Then it begins to get complicated.
Bell Atlantic sends me two "official" phone company directories. One is for the "Marlborough, Concord, Acton Area," with listings for Carlisle, Boxborough, Maynard, Stow, Hudson and Southborough. The other (smaller but more useful) is for the "Acton, Chelmsford, Westford Area," with listings for Carlisle and Littleton. Carlisle is perched on the periphery of both coverage areas: we are in the far northeastern corner of the Marlborough book, and out on the eastern front of the Acton book.
I also receive the "Concord Guide" and the "Carlisle Guide" (both published by the Community Phonebook Company) annually and unsolicited. They provide information similar to the Bell Atlantic books, but each covering only the single named town.
Notably missing from the above are any yellow pages covering the Greater Boston area, so I hang onto an outdated fat yellow book I spirited out of Boston some years ago. That helps me find stores and businesses in places as exotic (for example) as Burlington, though its Burlington listings are not as complete as those in Burlington's own book. I have also held onto an old set of white pages for the Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville area, which remains useful from time to time.
Still missing are any listings for Bedford or Billerica (both of which border Carlisle and host a number of the stores I frequent), or any listings for the Greater Lowell area (the closest major city, only two towns away).
Why do I care? The answer is that I am occasionally in need of a particular good or service, and would like to "let my fingers do the walking" through my options. I should not have to flip through three sets of yellow pages simply to price a new set of tires, or to find the nearest hobby shop. Worse than perusing multiple books is the fact that I have no convenient way to determine what stores are available in several adjacent or closely proximate towns, because none of my many phone books includes their listings. My yellow-page bookshelf is cluttered and often useless, and my recycling baskets are weighed down each year when all the new, redundant books arrive.
I realize that Carlisle is a small community, interrelated to many others but truly central only to itself (a fact of which I am reminded each time I drive through Concord to get to the end of my own street!). The same phenomenon is manifest in my sons' sports schedulesmy 11-year-old plays football each fall in Westford, basketball each winter in Carlisle, and lacrosse each spring in Concord. I also realize that, with the Internet, I can find telephone listings in any community without a particular telephone book. Nonetheless, would it really be so hard to assemble, in one set of yellow pages, listings for the businesses and services convenient to the "Greater Carlisle" area?
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito