Despite my age (I’m only 44), I’ve lived in this town for over 35 years, (including a few years away for my education). As we discuss the budgets, path, and social issues, a common sentiment that is often expressed is that “we don’t want our town to change”.
As a child, Easton was a great place to grow up. I played in the woods, and my brother and I would build forts, and find deer bones in the woods. I drank milk at SSES when they sold milk that said “Snow’s Farm”, and remember the collective disappointment when we started to get milk from “Guida’s”. I would walk to Greiser’s from my house, a place that was not a community hub, to pick up a newspaper, or eggs and milk (and noticed the beer in the back fridge for his friends). I remember walking to Halzack’s from HKMS with my friends (unaware of a path even back then; we used Sport Hill road!), and getting a watchful eye from the brothers on the other side of the counter. I swam in the “mudhole” for countless seasons, in what used to be called “Toth park”; and know the history of why it isn’t called that anymore. I worked carnivals for EVFD and was the president of the EVFD Explorer Post for years, under our first female Firefighter, Lucy Crossman. I sang “Volare” at the spaghetti dinner, and remember my auxiliary verbs and what you did if Mr. Triedel said “Cuba” in history class. I walked in the Paine space (now my backyard, quite literally) with the guy who is now my husband, who came from a fellow Easton family, whose father was Fire Chief, and whose mother manned the front desk at SSES for years and years. Our children are 4th generation Easton, 3rd generation at JBHS, and have had teachers that I either had, or grew up with. I say this all to say: I know this town well.
And, this is no longer that town in many ways. Nor should it be. It is better.
Silverman’s Farm, where I poured cider until my fingers were numb from the cold and learned to count back change, is now busier than it ever was. The introduction of new farms (Patti Popp and Shaggy Coos) has brought back a much-needed reinvigoration of our farmland, and increased the accessibility of locally grown produce. It put other local farms on their toes and they increased what they offered as well. Greiser’s and Easton Village Store both had a rebirth under new ownership, and are vibrant and busy town essentials. We’ve moved the library from the upstairs at town hall to a beautiful, widely enjoyed, community building. The Easton Community Center was developed, expanding services for both children and adults, and created an excellent preschool. Fields were built and expanded. A new playground was placed which is widely used. We’ve had traffic lights added for safety. And for all of this, I am thankful.
For those of us who say this town has “never changed”, truly are not recognizing the historical perspective of the past 25 years; and how much better this town is for it. If I had to mix my wishes for maintaining “the good old days”, and my wishes for the future, it would be finding the balance that allowed us to maintain our farmland focus and rural heritage, but ensure that we are able to continue to maintain our town’s relevance for the future. There was once a time that an ECC or a new library (or even SSES, which had a group try to stall the process of building it to allow the clock on the grant to run out) would have just as much of this discussion as this path. And then, we quickly forget the drama and embrace it.
Small, thoughtful changes over time, like this, keep us a vibrant community, and keep us a place that families want to move to.