Midsummer Musings

Top of the Day to All,

August is perfect for midsummer musings, if you are so inclined.  Baking hot temperature, clear blue sky, soft cumulus clouds; lying on the ground looking up or sitting in a comfortable chair or staring at a favorite vista; it’s a wonderful time to be outside and let your thoughts roam from the fantastic to the philosophical.

This year, in those quiet moments of summer solitude, I have been thinking of our Newton Villages.  Are they real places or various states of mind, or some of each?  The number is fixed, or so it seems.  For my 50+ years in Newton it has been 13.

However, the people who lived in the northeast corner of the city always seemed to distinguish their homes as in either the village of Newton or in the village of Newton Corner.  By the 1960’s everyone was too polite to explain the distinction, but I always thought it had to do with money.  If you had it, you never put Newton Corner on the reverse flap of an envelope.  After all, John Eliot preached to the Native Americans, in Newton, some distance up Centre Street, south of Newton Corner.

We now have the village of Oak Hill, a combination of Oak Hill, Wells Avenue Office Park and Oak Hill Park.  How that happened we may never know.  The village of Oak Hill Park, built after WW II for returning GI’s was a National model of what a City could produce in the form of low/moderate income housing.  It should have been designated our 14th village years ago.

There is 4 corners, a hot spot of commercial activity, but not enough homes to give it a sense of place.  I think its name came from the fact that there was a gas station on each corner.

Then there are those villages you never hear of.  Peanut Village at Edinboro and Watertown Streets, was so name because of the homeowner who used to grow peanuts.  Night Caps Corner at River and Lexington Streets, so named after the still that provided a steady supply of late night refreshment, until it blew up.  Then there was Sin City.  I was told it was a remarkable community that has passed out of existence.  (;-)

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