Summer in Lansdale kicks off with the Memorial Day Parade. I have to admit that before becoming mayor, Memorial Day was a long weekend and an excuse to get out of Lansdale and go to the mountains or the beach or some place else. Prior to 2008, I had attended one Memorial Day parade in Lansdale as a spectator sitting at the curb watching the marching bands and fire engines ride by. Being the mayor of Lansdale gives the parade and Memorial Day a new meaning that is difficult to put into words.
As I mentioned in my first blog post, I never imagined that I would be mayor of Lansdale. This June 4th, I will be mayor of Lansdale for four years, and at times, I am still trying to figure out “Why me?” I know there is the logical explanation; I registered at the County Board of Elections to put my name on the ballot, I know a few people in town and I am passionate about Lansdale, but then again there are a lot of passionate, Lansdale residents who have been here longer than I have. Why do I mention this? There is a certain, indescribable, humbling feeling when I am asked to speak at events where I really don’t have any qualifications to speak other than– well, being the mayor. For the past three years, I have been asked to say a few words at Lansdale’s Memorial Day Observance Ceremony. I am not a Veteran, and I stay away from making trite comments about subjects that I’m not familiar with (that may not make for a good politician) so I spoke, albeit not very eloquently and slightly emotionally, about what I do know which is that my nephew spent a year in Iraq.
And now, if I may exercise my prerogative as mayor and say something that I am sure of: the Memorial Day Observance Ceremony is the finest and noblest event in Lansdale.
Like the posters that portray the pubs of Ireland or the doors of England, I was thinking of making a poster of the “Alleys of Lansdale”. The alleys in Lansdale have a bit of controversy surrounding them as they are not really owned or maintained by the Borough. They are communally owned and for the most part communally maintained. The reason for this is that when properties were originally surveyed a hundred or so years ago, some surveyors arbitraily entended property lines to the middle of the alley, some to the opposite side of the alley and some to just the end of the property line (perhaps, this was one way of increasing the size of one’s property). As the mayor, complaints regarding the condition of the alleys are probably in the top five. Usually, the call will be in early spring with the first thaw. “Is the Borough going to repair my oil pan after I bottom out in the alley?” is a common question. Diplomatically, I explain to the resident the information I just outlined above, but I also add that perhaps public works will deliver a bit of stone as a temporary fix (which helps smooth over the situation in more ways than one) but the onus is really on the tax payer. Some residents band together and pave their alleys and some don’t which results in wide range of alley conditions. I like the look of some of the less manicured alleys and almost consider them as our back country roads. Typically in the alleys, vegetation is not landscaped like in the front of the house which gives the alleys a wild look and invariably during windy days, papers, plastic bottles and other items of trash escape their recepticles which makes for a colorful, narrow lane– if I may call it that– which I have photographed for this blog.
Lansdale’s alleys aren’t dangerous like alleys in larger cities, although I wouldn’t want to take a pregnant woman down an alley in her third trimester or try to apply lipstick or eyeliner while driving down one of them (perhaps as an experiment I might try). Anyway, I was at a loss as to what to write for this blog, but since Lansdale’s alleys are part of the fabric of the Borough that many people talk about– or rather complain about– and the fact that almost every homeowner has one, I thought this might be of slight interest to the reader and he or she might now view them in a different light or possibly some day in the future in a poster.