Friday, February 12, 2010
The Mosquito still needs you
The Carlisle Mosquito needs your help. We are one of the few non-profit weekly newspapers in Massachusetts, locally staffed and delivered free to every household in town. Understandably these are difficult economic times for the town and for many of the individuals who live here. But to keep us going it is necessary, once again at this time of year, to ask you our readers to respond to the Mosquito’s fund drive. Our advertising revenue does not cover our operating expenses and donations are down substantially from last year.
As someone who has worked at the Mosquito in one capacity or another for the past 30 years, I can’t tell you how proud I have been to be associated with this town newspaper. Often I run into people living in Concord who tell me they wish they had a newspaper like the Mosquito, not one that is put out by a chain (the Concord Journal is published by the Community Newspaper Company).
Recently, while purchasing an item at the West Concord Five & Ten, the manager of the store, when learning that I was from Carlisle and wrote for the Mosquito, responded, “You work for that newspaper? I love the Mosquito – I read it all the time!” At that moment, a familiar face from the other side of the aisle poked her head around the corner and said, “I agree with you, we need a newspaper like the Mosquito.”
Speaking of those who appreciate the Mosquito, I recall hearing from a Carlisle Planning Board member, who a few years ago had attended a joint meeting with the planning board in Acton, relating the words of an Acton Planning Board member that evening: “You are so lucky to have a newspaper in your town where committee meetings are covered and that information goes out to everyone in the town.”
Yes, the Mosquito, operating with an all-resident staff, covers town committee meetings, activities and events going on in town. It profiles members of the community who are of special interest, and features the achievements of individuals, both young and old, whenever possible. Many members of the staff serve as volunteers, while others receive minimal pay for the work they do.
As one of the recent donors to the Mosquito commented, “Keep up the great work. Our teens have been thrilled to see their names in the Mosquito, even though we are new to Carlisle.” If you haven’t made a donation to the Mosquito, consider making one today. It will be much appreciated by staff and readers alike.
I my Valentines
I keep my cards in a few of those shoebox containers; some have even found a comfortable home in a vintage Filene’s hat box. A colorful, heartwarming assortment of birthday cards, anniversary cards, ours, the children’s – from each other and to each other, from our families abroad; a chronology of starting a life and a family. The cards kept piling up as we moved from our rented students’ digs to our first home, relocated back and forth across the Atlantic, and accumulated years and experiences. Valentines were initially not included among these cherished mementos.
There is no unique holiday dedicated to the sentiments of love such as Valentine’s Day in Israel, my native land. The Festival of Love, which is celebrated around mid-August, would make a close biblical version of Valentine’s Day. Originating in the ancient vineyards along the Judean hills in 1000 BC, it customarily marked the peak of grape harvest season with young bachelors selecting their brides-to-be from the crowd of dancing young maidens, all dressed in white.
Nowadays, still a youth-oriented holiday, it is mostly celebrated – Woodstock style – with an all-night rock concert in an open air Roman-era amphitheater along the grassy shores of the Sea of Galilee. Among the more religious groups, it involves elaborate dating events. In general, with the Americanization of the culture, the Festival of Love now offers our familiar sentiments of romance: chocolates, red roses, romantic dinners and small gifts.
In addition, every winter, on the 30th day of the fifth month on the Jewish calendar, which this year occurs on Sunday, the 14th, Family Day is celebrated. When I was growing up, it used to be called Mother’s Day, and as children we used to celebrate it with fresh-cut winter flowers that we picked for a small fee at the school’s community garden, and with greeting cards we made in class that day. Aiming to emphasize gender equality and to include different family situations, it is now called Family Day. It is still marked across the country with activities in kindergartens and schools, making cards or small gifts to bring home.
Valentine’s Day entered my adult life here as a wife and a parent. Some years it was all about red roses and chocolate. Other years it was about the cards my children brought home from school for us or from their friends, or the heart-shaped cookies we baked together and decorated with red frosting. And my Valentine’s Days are chronicled in a growing collection of Valentines.
Over the years I have learned to cherish the unsynchronized seasons and traditions of holidays between “here” and “there.” Most of all, despite their mass-commercial Hallmark style, I have learned to love and appreciate Valentine’s Day cards. And this week, as in all the years since my children left for college, my card collection has added two new Valentines, in envelopes adorned with love-themed stamps.
© 2010 The