The Good Word: Change brings curbs, mice


Finding a dead mouse on your desk can be a fearful thing.

This is what greeted me yesterday when I gathered my paperwork together and sorted it into a priority pile, hit the ‘on’ button on the iMac and got ready to work. The screen lit up, all the little icons were in place, but the mouse was dead. I couldn’t arouse the cursor. My work was at a standstill. Finally, after unplugging and replugging, fooling around with the underside (belly?) of the mouse, I loosened up a miniscule piece of dust and, voila, the little critter glowed again. I was back in business. It’s pitiful that we depend so much on technology.

If I had written the above paragraph ten years ago, no one would have had a clue as to what I was talking about, but I bet most of my readers today know exactly what I mean. This is a perfect example of how things change, despite attempts to keep things as they are, or in some cases, were.

Here in Windham, in my lifetime, there’s been a near total change in all aspects of life. Committees discuss ways to enhance the look of the town and how to keep it ‘rural appearing’ while discussing curbs made of granite and sidewalks. In the good old days, we had no such curbs and sidewalks were confined to villages, not housing developments. Of course, we had few housing developments.

During last year’s improvements on Route 115, adding a curb may have been attractive, but it made plowing the driveway a nightmare this winter. The new sidewalk looked wonderful in the fall, but now is only partly cleared and people still walk and jog in the street. The painted line on the street is about a foot from the mailbox. No longer is a walk down to the mailbox a leisurely affair – it’s a planned maneuver, gauging if we can get the mail box door open without getting sucked into the road by a speeding vehicle.

I have to remind myself that this area in which I live is one of the preferred areas for development. With a nursing home and three senior living complexes, it will be interesting to see how many of those residents venture onto the sidewalk this summer.

The haven for those who wonder what it was like in town ‘before’, is the historical society, where hundreds of pictures of buildings and villages give a glimpse of the way the town used to look.

Certainly a lot has changed in my hometown: There was a time when two car garages were unnecessary; when the few sidewalks were swept and cleaned by the business owners; ‘summer people’ were the only ones who lived on private roads; grass grew in the center of many roads; everyone got their water from a well in the nearby field and water conservation was strictly practiced; when kids got a week off from school because the school bus couldn’t maneuver on the roads; when high school kids paid 5¢ to ride on the school bus; when many elementary kids walked to school and there was no such thing as a ‘late bus’; when dogs ran loose, and sometimes a pack of them could raise havoc in a pasture where cows grazed; when fields were for cows and great, large gardens; when kids could slide in the road at certain times of the day, because there was no traffic; when most mothers were home when the kids got home from school and back in those days, there was homework in every class, every day, so young folks seldom complained about ‘nothing to do’.

Of course, back in those days, finding a dead mouse didn’t mean an end to work. It meant getting rid of the critter, chastising the cat and plugging up a hole in the baseboard.

The old timers accept the truth: you can’t stop change.