The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 19, 2007


Baby, it used to be cold outside

My husband and I, with our nine-month-old son, moved to Carlisle in the spring of 1966. It wasn't until several years later that we started to take part in Carlisle's winter activities. With lots of snow on the ground by late December and early January, we would head down to South Hill, the section of Church Street between the school and Bedford Road, which was closed off for downhill sledding on weekends. I believe this road had been closed for some 15 or 20 winters while Carlisle remained a small country town.

During the 1970s and '80s, with two sons in the family by then, the wintertime Saturday morning destination was Towle Field for the Bill Koch League Cross-country Ski Program. When not racing on the Towle Field trails, the boys would join us later in the weekend for cross-country skiing in the Estabrook Woods. "Let's ski down to Punkatasset Hill," called Will at the head of the pack. "How about taking the Tanager Trail loop," was my response. During their teenage years, the boys often skied after school with friends in the Estabrook Woods. I must admit there were several late afternoons, as the sun was setting, that I anxiously awaited their return home.

Not only was there skiing back then, there was also ice-skating on the ponds around town, and even under certain conditions at the Carlisle Cranberry Bog. In our neighborhood, the Millikens' pond on Estabrook Road was where children from Autumn Lane, Robbins Drive, Bellows Hill Road and Estabrook Road congregated, first to shovel the snow off the ice, then skate and play hockey. There has been very little activity on that pond now for many years.

So, if there is anyone in our community who questions the concept of global warming, let me suggest they attend a lecture by Dr. John Sterman, the MIT Sloan School of Management professor, who will speak on "Overcoming Public Complacency about Climate Change: Systems Thinking for Complex Policy Changes." He will speak at the Carey Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Avenue, in Lexington on Tuesday, January 23, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Depending on the kindness of strangers

Sometimes it seems that I have spent most of my adult life working on fundraisers. Surely, since I had my children, it has been one non-stop fundraising drive — for their nursery, elementary and high schools, their bands, Scout troops, acting groups, sports teams — you get the picture. And then there are my own favorite non-profits, which seem to be constantly in need of money. The great irony in all of this is that I stink at fundraising. Oh, I'm a pro at spending money, but at raising it, I'm pretty pathetic. The truth is fundraising makes me cringe.

Perhaps it's because I always seem to encounter the complainer. When I was selling raffle tickets for a donated baby quilt, I had to listen to a five-minute whine from a woman who really wished the quilt came in another color, because this one wouldn't suit her nursery. When I sold candy bars, I got the representative from the anti-sugar lobby. When I hawked T-shirts, they were the wrong size, or the wrong color. I once had a woman tell me she loved the color of the T-shirt, but did I have any without the Lincoln Nursery School logo on it? Hard to find at a Lincoln Nursery School fundraiser.

Don't ask me how someone so lame at fundraising keeps getting sucked into so many fundraisers. It's the mystery of my life. Over the years, I have sold T-shirts, quilts, sweat clothes, hats, football jackets, baby bibs, tote bags, gift wrap, candy, fruit, Christmas trees, mugs, car decals, books, magazines and all kinds of baked goods. The West Concord Five and Ten has nothing on me. And it's not just the hands-on selling that I stink at; I once wrote a fundraising letter that so offended a few people that they stopped giving altogether.

However, even I don't seem to be able to quench the generosity of donors in Carlisle. Whenever I have worked on a fundraising project in town, whether it be for the Friends of the Gleason Library, the school or the newspaper, the response has always been overwhelming. Look at the effort to improve Center Park, which may not be fundamental to our daily lives, but Carlisleans have realized the importance of supporting something aesthetically pleasing. The project has almost reached its fundraising goal. Equally gratifying has been the town's response to the Mosquito's building fund drive. I've sat in on the fundraising meetings for that project and seen the way talented fundraiser types really work, and yet I am humbled by the generosity of the newspaper's supporters. For this reason, the fundraising committee has decided to run a series of thank-you ads in the paper, listing each and every donor. It has to be a series of ads because the donor list is so long. And donations are still coming in, so that, to date, the fund is three-quarters of the way to its goal. I should be used to it by now; I've been fundraising in this town for over 23 years, but Carlisle's generosity is a constant source of amazement. This town can make even a sorry fundraiser like me look like a winner.


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2007 The Carlisle Mosquito