The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 6, 2008


Arbor vandals strike in the heart of Carlisle

The phone call came a little after nine o’clock Sunday evening. It was from Marge Findlay of Rockland Road, calling to say that the tree that she and her husband Geoff Freeman and their neighbors, the Fardys, the Stropkays, and the Fairbanks, decorate with Christmas lights each December, had been felled, sawed down, probably on Saturday night. “That tree, the one all lit up, out in the field at Christmas time, that could be seen on the right hand side of Westford Street, when heading towards Towle Field?” I asked. Yes, that was the tree, on the Findlay-Freeman and Stropkay field, which each Christmas season for the past dozen years neighbors have gathered together to decorate.

On Saturday night, around 10 o’clock, as Greg Fairbanks remembers it, there were male voices that he heard out in the field as he and his wife were thinking of making a trip to Kimball’s. By then, it was too late to go for ice cream and although he had had thoughts of calling the police, he never did. It wasn’t until Monday that he realized his neighbor’s tree had been cut down.

“We are so shaken by this. The Stropkay kids, Katie and Max, are upset. It was a big part of their Christmas celebrations. We are all reeling from the fact that someone would do something like this. The kids wonder why and the adults are just sad.”

“It was a magical thing brought on by the Christmas spirit,” remembers Findlay. “The neighbors, some with their children, would gather together around the tree on the first Sunday in December. As we were stringing up the lights, people passing by in their cars honked their horns at us,” she added.

Looking back at my editorial “Holiday traditions bring us together” in the Mosquito of December 21, 2001, here is the last paragraph, where I referred to that special tree: “For those driving down Westford Street, there is one final reminder of the magic and mysteries of this holiday season. Out in the meadow, just beyond Rockland Road, standing alone, is a single fir tree all aglow in its twinkling lights, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a peaceful goodnight”. (See related article and photos, page 9.)

Pass It Forward Day is tomorrow

Contribute your used goods to those in need

If you haven’t noticed the Pass It Forward Day flyers around town or read the articles in the Mosquito about this annual springtime event, there is still time to learn about it and take part in this generous endeavor to support a variety of charities and organizations that help people in need. Clothing, books, toys, anything you no longer need or use – take them to the Transfer Station tomorrow where they can be earmarked for your favorite charity or organization.

How about the clothes in the back of your closet that you no longer wear or have outgrown? Clothing from adults and children living in Carlisle can be donated to Big Brother Big Sister, which in turn will go to families and individuals who live in less affluent communities such as Dorchester or Lawrence. Adult clothing may also be donated to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Bedford or to the Host of International Students Programs at MIT. “The goal,” says organizer Mary Zoll, “is to receive clean and useable clothing, gently worn and still in good enough shape so someone can wear it again.”

Toys no longer in use can be donated to The Home for Little Wanderers, an orphanage in Boston that deals with children at risk, or to the Delta Projects,that is involved with the mentally retarded. And what about those bookshelves which are piled high with books you have read for book club but have no plans to read again? They can be donated to the Friends of the Gleason Library, the Discovery Museum, or the Concord Poetry Center. The Household Goods Recycling Ministry accepts all sorts of household goods that will be needed by those coming out of homeless shelters or those living close to poverty.

Pass It Forward Day was started in 2003 by Amy Fennick, who decided it would be a good idea to have a systematic way to collect goods for charities from Carlisle residents. Mary Zoll took over two years ago. As a teacher in the writing program at MIT, Zoll took part in an organization at the school that solicited warm clothing for students who came from abroad and business attire for students going for interviews or attending conferences. This experience prepared her for her role in organizing this event.

Pass It Forward Day will take place tomorrow, Saturday, June 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Carlisle Transfer Station. This year representatives of the different charities will be located far back, to the left of the Swap Shed, so as not to block the entryway to the Transfer Station. There will be signs telling folks where to deposit goods. Two drivers, Jane Anderson and Steve Herbst, will be on hand to take items that need to be sorted back to Zoll’s garage, before they are sent on to the appropriate charity. “Sometimes it takes a month to sort through the donations,” reports Zoll.

This event has expanded significantly over the years and Zoll is appreciative of all the help she has received from Carlisle residents. “I am grateful to Amy Fennick who started it and to Gary Davis and the DPW who have been very cooperative in letting us do this on a busy Saturday,” says Zoll. And she is especially grateful to the generous citizens of Carlisle for their donations – all for good causes.

For a list of charities, and their needs visit the Carlisle Mosquito May 30 issue, “Coming Up,” and scroll down to “Pass It Forward.”

Click for

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito