The gardens, both public and private have won many awards. Many line the streets, which were engineered to with safety in mind. Winding roads, cul de sacs, one way streets were purposely created to control traffic flow and speed. From 1938, there had only been one traffic fatality. Not only was Greendale pretty, it was safe.
I know because I grew up there.
It is no small wonder then, that people have taken pleasure and pride in meeting near the Village Hall. Every 4th of July, Memorial Day and Village Days Parade folks line up their lawn chairs along Broad Street. The Lions Club used to have a beer garden on such holidays. The restaurant across from the Village Hall has changed hands over the years. Some remember it as the Village Inn. Still others may remember it as Eleanor’s, named for Eleanor Roosevelt who once came to visit the work being done when the Village was being built. The restaurant has been the site of high school reunions, wedding rehearsal dinners and Awards Banquets.
On Sunday nights in the past, people gathered near the Village Hall for concerts given by local and invited musicians. The site was where Good Morning American came and filmed everyone welcoming the America to town.
There were news crews there again this week. This time it was to cover the tragic loss of Ava Marie Zimmerman, a 5 year old child struck by a car. She was in the crosswalk with her mother, aunt and little brother. She could not have been in safer hands, or in a safer place. This death is incomprehensible, to her family, to the people who were there, to the people of the Village. The shock and its aftermath of sorrow have touched people who live there, grew up there or visited there. A memorial of candles and teddy bears grows as people try to show the family their support. Her grandmother was on the news saying the overwhelming show of support has been helpful. I know the grandmother; we went to high school together. I want her to know how many prayers have been offered for her and her family.
There is an old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”. It seems just as true that it takes a village to grieve a child. In the heart of Greendale, heavy with sorrow, we wish we did not have to.