Labor Day always marked the end of the summer for us, the end of endless days of summer 'labor' in the out of doors, of sunshine and walks through the woods, of cooking over the outdoor fireplace on a fire created of the fallen branches and dried leaves and white birch bark from our 20 acres of trees, of planting and gathering the harvest, of filling the long days with cooking and crafts, swimming and games, of answering the coyotes calling as evening fell, of watching the sun set. For some reason, Wilbraham made labor feel like joy.
Clearing out his files, Marash Boy came upon the pictured ad from the 1980's, an ad designed and produced by children who lived their summers on the very top of Wilbraham Mountain, children who wanted to make themselves useful and earn a few sheckles in the process. The ad was delivered to all of the rural postal boxes along Ridge Road, much to the dismay of the one legalistic neighbor who made clear that rural postal boxes are meant only for US Mail, much to the joy of the neighbors who were delighted to have strong reliable 10 and 12 year olds to clear twigs from their driveways after a storm, to move wheelbarrows full of (heavy) gravel from one location on their vast acreage to another, to cut their lawn (a promise a teenager had made to his mom and could keep only through the new young workers on the road), to paint the baseboards in a recently renovated ranch house down the road, to weed gardens, to rake leaves, to be there for the neighbors in their time of need! But that was, of course, long ago, long before the tornado leveled the cabin on top of Wilbraham Mountain and erased the hope that the next generation could follow suit.