Daniel Waldo Field ...that is a name better recognized as D.W. Field Park in my generation and generations younger than me. Growing up in this area in Massachusetts it is where we would go for a break in daily routine to feed the ducks or ride a bike or take pictures and many of us stole a first kiss there! It was a small haven in a city where beauty could be enjoyed. That is what I knew of D.W. Field. That was until I moved into my neighborhood 12 years ago in a city not particularly known for beauty. However, when I saw the Arts and Crafts Bungalow that I live in now I knew it felt like home and even with the stigma of living here I was happy.
The first person I met was my next door neighbor. She was friendly, well dressed, articulate and chatty! She treated us like neighbors used to be treated! Like it used to be way back when I was a child. She brought me home baked goodies, shared her key, and sent us flowers from the local florist for every holiday and special occasion. She taught me how to support local vendors and proprietors. She taught me how to grow African Violets and she told me over and over the stories of D.W. Field. He was the city's gentle benefactor and even though he would be over 150 yrs old today she made him come alive for me. Her favorite story was how "uncle Dan' as she called him came to her birthday party on the 4th of July and how he enjoyed the children's amateur play performances in the back yard. Her favorite time was when he came dressed to the nines and invited all the children to hop into his shiny chauffeur driven car to take a ride to the ice cream stand! He was a wealthy man with time for the simpler things in life. She made life in those days colorful for me to see, so that I could tuck them away in my own mind. Like I will tuck her away in my mind.
Today, she is moving. The moving van is in the street taking precious antique wooden items and a bed and a television. She will be comforted by those things, or at least that is the hope, in the days ahead. Her stories have receded into her memory perhaps never to be told again, but a couple are safe with me. It is not a happy move for her. She is filled with angst and apprehension and fear and defiance. It is not a happy move for me. I will miss my polite and well mannered neighbor, I may never have that again. I know she will forget me, and her home, and her story of "uncle Dan" but I will always remember her and she will not be lost. Peace dear neighbor......goodbye.
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