The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 29, 2009


Don’t forget Pass It Forward Day

Open up the hall closet and reach way back for that warm winter coat that is out of style and hasn’t been worn for the past dozen years. What about the book shelf at the top of the stairs, piled high with paperback books that you have read for book club or on your own, years ago? Wouldn’t E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web or Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird be appropriate for students to take out of school libraries in poor Philippine communities that an organization called BKP collects for? This is just one of the ideas crossing my mind as I prepare for my trip to the Transfer Station tomorrow, Saturday, May 30, for Pass It Forward Day, officially from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

This will be the seventh annual Pass It Forward Day, sponsored by the Household Recycling Committee, which provides Carlisle citizens the opportunity to bring new or gently used items to the Transfer Station to be distributed to local charities. The list of charities and some of their needs can be found in fliers around town, as well as in a letter in the May 15 Mosquito by Mary Zoll, Director of Pass It Forward Day 2009.

In another letter, in the May 22 Mosquito, David Driscoll describes the items that Household Goods Recycling of Massachusetts (HGRM) will be looking for. This is an organization that was begun in 1999 and is now located in a warehouse in Acton. It is where residents of neighboring towns donate their goods to homeless families coming out of shelters; domestic violence victims; people who have lost their homes due to fire, flood, or foreclosure; or are just suffering through difficult times. According to Jill Henderson of HGRM, the number of clients who were referred by social service agencies to receive goods from HGRM during the past year was 260 a month. Since last fall, that number has risen to 325 a month. HGRM will be accepting goods tomorrow, starting at 9 a.m., and tax deduction forms are available.

With the present downturn in the American and world economies, many families are going through stressful times, losing their jobs, even their homes, with the possibility of not having enough resources to provide for family needs. We who live in Carlisle, one of the wealthiest communities in Massachusetts, have an opportunity to help alleviate the plight of these families. As individuals, or parents and children working together, check out your closets, dresser drawers, cellar cabinets, and the “stuff” stored in the attic. A warm winter coat and paperback books are fine, but there should be plenty more to be found to take to the Transfer Station for tomorrow’s Pass It Forward Day.

Plus ça change

When I was a kid we visited my Grandma in New York City almost every year. One summer, as we passed through the marshlands along the Hudson and the skyline rose into view, dotted liberally with tall cranes above construction sites, I came to the sudden realization that the city would never be “finished.” New York City is a perpetual work in progress.

Years later I lived in midtown Manhattan, literally in the center of all the hustle and bustle, the comings and goings, midway between Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station. Walking to work day after day was like walking through a busily shifting kaleidoscope.

So when I moved to sleepy staid Carlisle, I expected a dramatic change… as in less of it. Generally speaking my experience here has fulfilled my expectation. Two-acre zoning and years of prudent setting aside of acres and acres of conservation lands has created a landscape relatively immune to the shocks of dramatic change. A drive through Carlisle is more or less the same year after year. Sure, for a few years the field along Westford Street had sheep grazing the buckthorn off the stone walls and that was exciting. This year there were sap buckets on the sugar maples and that was kind of exciting, too. And now there is a hint of pathway near the far end of the field and that is really exciting. But if I head from my home to Town Hall today it looks pretty much the same as it did when I moved here a decade ago, and as I expect it looked decades before that as well.

As noted in this space last week, the effects of the national economic shockwave are being felt by many in Carlisle, but I’m not sure Carlisle itself will be so deeply affected. Do the votes on the packed Warrant at Town Meeting just passed reflect the change sweeping the nation? Was there some dramatic tightening of our belts? We approved all spending articles including major planning efforts for two schools. These are projects that have been hovering in our peripheral vision for years; we have been well prepared for their eventuality and that’s why the funding articles passed so easily.

Somehow voting CPA funds to preserve two century-old buildings (Gleason Library and Highland) being seen as further examples of sweeping change is a testament to how stable Carlisle really is. Yes we’ll have to carefully manage the eventual construction of the schools, and will eventually have to decide what to do with beautiful preserved old Highland, but we’ve done this kind of thing before, sometimes more effectively than others, but we’ve done it before. Things change around here, but the change is so gradual you can miss it in the steady big picture.

It all derives from the foresight of those who created a Planning Board and two-acre zoning and the founders of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation and others in Town government who have worked to permanently preserve so much of what is beautiful and timeless in Carlisle. The joy of our varied outdoors that John Lee celebrated in this space two weeks ago gives us all the change we need, Spring changes into summer into fall into winter and into spring again. Plus ça change…



Click for

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito