Remember when Alicia Keys sang about New York being a state of mind? Ffffftttt. New York isn't a state of mind, it's a loud, crowded and dirty playground for adults. In fact, the same can be said for most big cities. Oh sure, you can take the drive to a theme park and spend the day having fun, but what about spending every day of your life having fun?
My husband grew up in NYC. His childhood consisted of drab, grey concrete, being chased by gangs if he went into the wrong territory and being robbed of his brand new bike, you know, the cool 70s one with the banana seat. His childhood existence was devoid of the small, daily activities that made childhood fun and memorable, and I mean memorable in a good way.
As "the blogger", I have spent a lot of time ragging on the political activities of the adults. But I was reminded as I shared breakfast at Country Club Cafe with my husband and youngest son this morning, that the adults are not the most important part of Wylie. The kids are.
Thankfully, I have my wonderful son to remind me of that which I had nearly forgot. Shame on me.
I remember the first time I took my husband into Wylie High School when my oldest son was about to enter. The PTA held a parent meeting in the library and I dragged the hubster along so he could see where the final four years of his son's childhood would be molded.
He stood in the entry, in wide-eyed wonderment, taking in
the massive cafeteria, mural walls
and stairwell. It was unlike any school he ever went to. For his childhood there was no such thing as school sports teams, and certainly no such thing as school dances let alone prom. I reveled in watching him experience the same exciting events as my son, both of them for their first time ever.
|Photo credit: Paul Brooks|
Wylie is not about Broadway musicals, sterile subways and moving masses of people that are blind to you among the other moving masses. Wylie is that Wonka Factory for young families.
I recall when we moved here in 2001. We dressed our sons up for Halloween and took them downtown to the Boo on Ballard. Back then, we wandered around from table to table and collected candy. Now it has grown into a shoulder to shoulder event.
Even today, there is a guy in our neighborhood who hooks up his Boo Choo Train each Halloween so he can transport the costumed kiddies around the neighborhood. Seriously, how cool is that?
I recall the concerts in Olde City Park with my youngest sliding through a muddy ditch, only to stand and say he was now camouflaged. Even today, we have the highly successful Bluegrass on Ballard festival every year, and there is always, always, always something for the kids, from pony rides, to face-painting, to petting zoo.
I remember standing in a cold line of people many Christmases ago, waiting to enter the Holiday Express train that makes its way into town dressed up similar to Thomas the Tank Engine. We marveled at the Christmas decorations as we made our way through the train to see Santa.
Even the schools make Wylie special, with activities, proms, football games and graduation.
I remember my sons getting to have tea in Brown House. I remember sitting in the stadium and watching football games and clapping along with the class song. These are things my husband never had available to him in New York. These are the things that make Wylie a state of mind, more so than New York ever could.
This small town is for the kids and we prove it at every turn. There are pedal car races and a lively library that is tailored to the youngsters, with more story times, comic-book events and activities than Harry Potter can shake a quidditch stick at. Even the rodeo is tailored to kids of all ages.
For any family that is lucky enough to live here, they should count themselves blessed for all of the wonderful memories they have been able to make for their kids. I know we do.