by Susan McCarthy, RDC
The coming of spring and the Christian celebration of Easter awaken the spirit of new life in many of us. Where does it exist? Where can we find it in our daily lives?
Since this is a blog about White Plains, I thought I’d do a little trip down memory lane, remembering some happy thoughts of growing up and enjoying life in this famous and historic city.
So, who knows where Mattison Playground is located in White Plains? In my growing up days, it was the site of so much wonderful activity for children. I learned my basketball skills there. During the summer we had the best arts and crafts activities and a wonderful end of the summer Talent Show. (One of my favorite memories is of dear Mrs. Apfel, a well-known White Plains Senior Citizen very involved in the Recreation Department, who loved children and came to visit the various playgrounds bringing us kind and gentle support and care.)
For at least one summer we even had a Westchester County Olympics program that kept many of us competing playground against playground and later city to city (in Westchester). What a great way it was to meet people from many different neighborhoods in White Plains.
It’s fun to recall, with old friends as well as my brothers and sisters, all the wonderful opportunities White Plains provided its children in those days. July Fourth was another day of athletic competition before the fireworks at what is now the old High School.
I also have fond memories of ‘stealing peeks’ into other Churches. (As Catholics in the 1950’s, we weren’t supposed to go into other Churches, so it was quite daring, on a summer afternoon, to open the door of Grace Church or St. Matthew’s (both in downtown White Plains) to see how the other Churches worshipped. Who knew that decades later we’d all grow up and go to concerts and interfaith prayer services together in these same Churches!
As we enter the Easter season of hope and rejoicing coupled with the emergence of spring, these reminiscences of growing up and learning to live and play together are just another way to celebrate not only new life, but the wonderful life enjoyed by White Plains inhabitants for decades. Perhaps it’s also a way to encourage us to think about ways to be sure today’s young people are blessed with similar opportunities to share life together.