The Rich Falmouth Mosaic

Here are just a few examples of small efforts making a big difference

I've often said that one of the things that makes Falmouth such a great community in which to live and work is that is made up of a mosaic of humanity - people from all walks of life - various cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds -  who blend together to make the fabric of our town. Wikipedia tells me that a mosaic is "the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces." Sounds good to me.  The image of the Falmouth community is strengthened and sustained by many small pieces - many personalities who make their mark on the ongoing work of art that defines our villages and local identity.

Howard Campbell certainly made his mark and has defined his brightly colored (probably with tiny whales) piece of the mosaic.  A career mentor and educator in Falmouth, Howard passed away last week, leaving fond memories with a generation of Falmouthites who remember his kind demeanor and colorful pants that he frequently wore while principal at Morse Pond and Lawrence Schools.  He was the principal at Morse Pond during my two years there, and was a reassuring presence in the corner office.  In retirement, Howard spent virtually every Veterans' and Memorial Day on the steps of the library as a member of the Greater Falmouth Mostly All Male Men's Chorus.  Like so many others, Howard took time to give time after retirement, making his mark far beyond his vocation.  It's people like Howard that make the Falmouth mosaic so special.

Special and mosaic are fitting words to define Falmouthite Jim Bowen.  I had the opportunity to break bread with my old friend Jim a couple of weeks ago, and we shared stories about our time on the Main Street committee, the community-based group that oversaw the sometimes tumultuous renovation of our downtown back about fifteen years ago.  Jim owned Headlines on Main Street, and was a driving force behind the Falmouth Village association and the Main Street project.  We spent many nights (sometimes frustrating ones) at meetings, debating the virtues of red brick versus bluestone, and whether or not to have parking meters along our main commercial thoroughfare.  These days, it's hard to imagine meters in our welcoming village.  These days, Jim is actually living the mosaic in addition to being part of one.  He has taken on the creation of mosaics as an artistic avocation, helping to create the beautiful work of community are along the Shining Sea Bikeway, and teaching this art to all generations of Cape Codders.  He is now focusing his efforts as a curator for a national mosaic exhibition to be held here on Cape Cod this summer.  Artist.  Civic volunteer.  Friend.  Jim's piece of the Falmouth mosaic is both colorful and shining brightly.

Many of us, while speeding through Rte. 28 in East Falmouth, pass through the newly improved area known as "Reine's corner" with trepidation, as the improvements by the Commonwealth's MassDOT Highway division appear to have simply replicated the old hazardous curve and not really made any improvements.  If we do slow down a bit though, it's hard not to notice the large building with "ROCKY'S GYM" emblazoned on the side.  Rocky, of course, is not Sly Stallone's alter ego, but East Falmouth native Paul "Rocky" Rodriques, who has brought his own civic commitment to his slice of the 02536.  Rocky is donating gym time on a regular basis to Falmouth youth as part of his "lead by example" program to reduce youth obesity.  Rocky is giving back by giving time.  He another shining piece of this mosaic making Falmouth better a day at a time.

Keeping our parks and school grounds maincured and clean, our trees emerald green and healthy, and always looking for innovation and environmental stewardship, Brian Dale has certainly made his contribution to the Falmouth mosaic.  Stepping out of his work truck and into a new venture after nearly 30 years with the Town, our retiring Parks Superintendent and Tree Warden has been a tireless advocate for a better Falmouth for a generation.  I'll never forget the day several years ago when i was working in Attleboro, having a tough day, and Brian showed up at my office door for lunch.  That sort of kindness and friendship is rare.  Brian is a man who has made a difference - in our community and in our lives.

An assemblage of small pieces, indeed.  Here are just a few examples of small efforts making a big difference.  Others exist in every village.  I encourage you to shine up your own piece of the mosaic and be part of the solution. 

This column is reprinted from the Falmouth Enterprise.

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