This is why Patton Park, that wonderful plot of land right in the center of our town, has always felt so sad to me. What an amazing shared space that for years went completely underused to the point of near abandonment. What a shame to take for granted such a lovely resource. I used to run past Patton Park and feel sad, sad for our community that we spent so much investing in assets outside of town instead of the ones in it, sad for our kids that most of their favorite childhood memories were made in spots outside of their home town, and sad for out park that went unplayed in and unloved.
But that all changed this summer with the completion of the new playground! Seeing the park so full of people, hearing all those happy noises, watching the joy of it all, how sweet it has been. The revived Patton Park hasn’t just given our children new equipment to explore, it has given our community a place to gather as one, to be whole, to share life together. I can’t even count how many more connections I have made in the town thanks to that playground. There is something very beautiful about a community sharing joy together, it makes neighbors into friends and friends into family. All communities need that!
On a recent Saturday I stood in the park watching my son’s flag football game, there was an all-class Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School reunion at the gazebo and the playground was overflowing with happy families, around me were people of all ages from all different areas, and social circles, of the two towns, and it hit me, oh, here is our heart. These are the ties that will build our community. The more of our lives we share the stronger our town gets.