A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pothole Pother

Last night was the quarterly meeting of the Mattoon Street Historic Preservation Association, of which I am a member. The meeting was held in treasurer Robert McCarroll's lovely circa-1870 home, which looks like he bought it furnished from the original owner. Sitting on an assortment of Victorian slipper chairs, sipping coffee from antique porcelain mugs, we were all on our best behavior. Until Theresa Sawyer brought up the potholes in the driveway, that is. Then all hell broke loose.

The driveway in question runs from Mattoon Street to an alley which goes behind the most of the homes on the odd-numbered side of the street. Neither abutter owns the driveway. It's an easement of some sort, needed for access to the alley. The alley, while also an easement, appears to be part of the back yards of the homes behind which it runs.

Theresa Sawyer--one of the abutters--and others who use the driveway had determined that it needed repaving, and had gotten an estimate of $2000 for the project. She was proposing that the Association foot the bill. A very heated discussion followed. Some thought the proposal fair, especially as the Association had just forked over $2K to the nearby Hispanic Baptist Church towards the cost of a fence they had erected near, but not on, Mattoon Street. Others thought it unfair, since it benefitted some, but not all, Association members.

Ever-conciliatory Bob suggested that a letter be drafted to those members using the alley for access, asking them if they would consider donating $100 apiece towards the project. The Association would then pay the remainder. A motion to that effect was made, seconded, discussed heatedly, and finally, after many interruptions, passed.

I'm surprised that noone questioned the $2000 figure. Usually, any request involving money is met by decisions to obtain numerous opinions and estimates. Does the driveway even need repaving? I myself walk the dog at least twice a day up and down Mattoon Street, and I couldn't precisely recall the condition of the asphalt. On my walk this morning, I snapped a picture of it.

Maybe I've been living in Dr. Seuss-land for too long. All of this is sounding like The Butter Battle Book. "Yooks are not Zooks! Keep your butter side up!"

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