It’s been six years since the occurrence of a Hemorrhagic Stroke. Thank God, I am a fortunate survivor. At age eighty-six, I have been reflecting at all my amazing adventures as a wife, educator, mother, manhole artist, community activator, polyglot, sister, and friend.
I have been attempting to put many of my experiences into an autobiography. Most of my chapters are short. I have added the challenge of using one word titles.
One of the journalists from Yellow Bird Editors is my developmental editor. Her guidance coaches me to include emotions and enhanced descriptions.
There are so many marvelous people who have made positive contributions to my life’s journey, that I have asked some of them to share their perceptions.
During the next two years I will be sharing excerpts from some of my chapters. Here are some highlights from one of my earlier chapters called CLEAN.
In 1986, I was doing a rubbing of a manhole cover,which I planned to use as a reference tool for my next sculpture.However I began to notice the litter and cigarette butts strewn about it and litter nearby.The litter had to be swept away in order to create a decent rubbing. But the litter was disgusting. Don’t people care enough to clean up after themselves? When I told my neighbor about it, she commented,
“Well, you can make a difference. Take action. Just read the book called You Can Make a Difference, which I did . It told how one person discovered a problem and found a way to solve it. So I said to myself, Maybe we can find a group that will take care of this litter problem.
A meeting was arranged at my house. I invited Councilman Michael from the Town Board, a reporter from our local newspaper, and several concerned citizens. While we were meeting, discussing what could possibly be done, we thought about adoptive spot movements that had been done elsewhere in the country. Through the Keep America Beautiful Program (KAB), People had adopted spots, beautified them and kept them clean all over America.
KAB made people aware of what could be done to improve the environment. A Reporter gave us a name right on the spot for our own beautification group. She said,
“You could call yourselves The Committee for Litter Elimination And Neatness, which would be called C.L.E.A.N.”
I was thrilled with her suggested title. During my time away from the classroom, having time to roam about town, I had become very Civic Minded. The possibilities of making our town special were very appealing.
So I founded a group called CLEAN. Each of the members adopted a spot, planted some flowers and shrubs and worked to have the public be aware that we could beautify an area of the town. The Parks Department erected ADOPT- A- SPOT signs about town. We had coloring contests for kids.
I bartered with the author one of my People Care prints for ten copies of his book, You Can Make a Difference, which I passed out to members of the CLEAN TEAM.
A talented gal, Beth Ann, made a logo for CLEAN. She incorporated the word CLEAN with flowers and crossed brooms under it. She also designed some cartoons with the CLEAN BEAR watering and and beautifying these spots.
Our local seamstress, Tia, made a costume for CLEAN BEAR with the CLEAN BEAR head and the whole white fuzzy-fur outfit. I procured eight 30- gallon empty plastic barrels from a local businessman in exchange for an art print. We painted the clean logo on the barrels and The Parks Department put the CLEAN barrels out for every parade to collect trash.
I wore the clean bear costume and stood in the back of the highway truck for one of the memorial day parades. How I love a parade! It was very rewarding to be a part of a Civic Improvement plan.
The CLEAN spot that I adopted was the King Kullen parking lot. For the little grassy area, to the left of the supermarket, I convinced RJK gardens that they could adopt that spot and have their business on a sign that said : This Spot is Adopted by RJK Gardens.
Rich Kuri, former CEO of RJK Gardens had this to say:
“Bobbi encouraged with simple steps, such as not littering. I remember her passion on the subject, which connected to her Art work as well. She canvased the local people to take pride in a specific spot in town. She urged The Smithtown Township Parks Department to erect signs for those of us who joined in, and the “Adopt a spot” campaign began. I have been maintaining our spot ever since.”
The photo above show Margie and me beautifying a small spot on the grounds of King Kullen Supermarket in St. James, NY. in 1986.
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