Getting to know you

Art on Main Street Fitchburg MA
Art on Main Street Fitchburg MA

A stroll down Main Street, Fitchburg, MA, took me past the art wall. I am excited about this project. Children, artists and citizens contributed art to the wall. What a better way to unite citizens in an urbanization project devoted to art and beauty. The messages of hope, love and bilingual messages are uplifting. I want to give this project some breathing room and show the positive side of multi-cultural living.

This is the new America. Phyllis, an elder of 91 years old, told me, “The city changed when industry moved out.” Gone are Sanders Associates and General Electric. What was left instead was a city without work and a changing population from Anglo to ethnic identity. To put a positive spin on the cosmopolitan community, I am studying Spanish again, at 67 years old. I want to greet people walking down the street and welcome them with Spanish greetings, their first language.  It is good to be kind to all people. What one gives away comes back a hundredfold. A typical scene yesterday: I was sitting on a bench to rest and dislodge a leaf out of my shoe. A younger male, saw me with my shoe off. He asked, “Do you need any help?” I said no but thanks. This is the community I want to see and hear. People talking to one another. I love it as you can probably tell.

Sweetest robin I have  ever seen
Sweetest robin I have ever seen


I walked over to the erratic boulder in the Massachusetts town common. At one time, boulders such as this were faces of mountain tops or bedrock throughout Massachusetts. About 25,000 years ago, a glacier heading south, dislodged the massive boulder and carried it with the ice flow. The boulder bumped and scrapped its way against other bounders, which softened sharp edges and left large gorges in the boulder. About 21,000 years ago the ice began to melt. Rollstone Boulder was carried by a glacier that came through Mt. Monadnock. For centuries it was a landmark to Native people and settlers alike. I imagine it was a sacred boulder to Native Americans. Rocks and boulders are known as Grandfathers and keepers of wisdom. This part of American history is rarely acknowledged.

Rollstone glacier boulder
Rollstone glacier boulder

The boulder was threatened by quarrying in 1929. Citizens didn’t want to see it destroyed. They blasted it apart and carried it to its present location. It weighs 110 tons. It is porphyricit granite and truly monolithic.  Every spring in May, devotees come out to plant marigolds around it in the common. This year I hope to be one of the lucky ones who honor the boulder with flowers.

First Parish
First Parish


“I was thinking of the greatness of what was human, and found myself in the divine,” by Juan Ramon Jimenez. A sign is posted on the front of First Parish Church. First Parish was founded in 1768. The 18th century church is a handsome brick building with a crisp white tower. I want to get to know First Parish because I live in a senior building, “The Sundial,” built by First Parish Housing in 1970, to celebrate First Parish’s 200th Anniversary. My building is a faith run nonprofit and a wonderful place to live. It is safe, friendly and celebrates elder years. How fortunate I am to live in the historical district of Fitchburg, with rich history all around me. First Parish is a Unitarian Universalist Church.

Source: Holmes, H. How glaciers moved rocks. National Geographic, 98-99.

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