Mike the Mailman: Splashing Into Summer a Little Early
The official start of summer is June 21, but I've never been very official. I mean my favorite sign in my office is "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Sweat!" I have always felt that Memorial Day Weekend was the unofficial Welcome to Summer weekend, especially this past one for two reasons.
First, back in 1864 in the village of Boalsburg, three women walked to the cemetery to place flowers on the graves of loved ones who died or were killed during the Civil War (because I do not believe there is anything "civil" about war, I usually refer to this as the War Between the States). What was originally called Decoration Day eventually became Memorial Day.
Since my mailing address is Boalsburg, I'm always proud when I am out of town and someone I meet asks me where I am from and I can say, "Boalsburg, the birthplace of Memorial Day." I have read claims from the other towns stating to be the founder, but I'm convinced that Boalsburg's story is authentic.
In 1978, "A Day In Towne" celebration began in Boalsburg with all kinds of festivities taking place on Memorial Day. The most noteworthy of them has always been the 6 p.m. trip to the same cemetery those three women visited. I have attended many of these services and I must say they move me every time.
This year's celebration marked the 147th year of this historic service. Of all the holidays our country celebrates, I enjoy being able to honor and celebrate those who have helped make and keep our country unique and free.
The second reason this year's Memorial Day Weekend was special was the re-opening of the William L Welch pool.
Originally opened in 1958 as the Westerly Parkway community pool, it was officially dedicated in 1968 in honor of William L Welch Sr., father of the borough's late mayor "Bill" Welch. More than 3,000 people attended the recent re-opening. I made an appearance and was impressed by what a great job they did on the pool's renovations. Bill would have enjoyed the weekend.
I think the renovated pool will prove to be a fun community gathering place. There is something about a swimming pool that always brings me back to my childhood – carefree fun in the sun – that my favorite sign in my office may have been based on: No shoes, no shirt, no sweat!
Happy (early) summer, Happy Valley!