Busy times lately in our local communities, with Brookfield and Riverside celebrating or getting ready to celebrate big anniversaries.
Brookfield on Nov. 3 had a successful Founder’s Day celebration in honor of the village’s 125th birthday, while Riverside is gearing up for the 150th anniversary of the creation of its renowned General Plan by Frederick Law Olmsted.
These celebrations emphasize past events and people, which is all well and good, but sometimes I think we overlook the fact that every day we are adding to the history of our communities, and it should be documented for the future.
For instance, when we think of Brookfield history, the name S.E. Gross comes up, which is only right, since he founded the village. But we now have more names who in the future will tell more of the community’s history.
For example, there’s Roy Overholt and his contribution to Brookfield through his dedication to the Little League organization. Or how about Chris Stach, the self-made Brookfield historian who had all the answers on the village, with the documents to prove it?
Or Cathy Colgrass Edwards, the former recreation director and village clerk who was so involved in so many aspects of Brookfield?
Added to the list of people who have made contributions to the story of Riverside will be people like Scuffy Gross, the late longtime township assessor. Or, do you remember Dorothy Unger, who had been on the Riverside Historical Commission and spent countless hours with a dining room table full of papers in her quest to get the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp commemorating Olmsted?
Finally, you can add to the list Ruth Freeark, the lovely, gentle and talented woman who passed away last month. Her legacy lives on in the Riverside Arts Center, which exudes her love of art and her wish to share that love with the town and its people.
When she was named Riverside’s Person of the Year in 2013, it was a memorable evening of celebration with her family and friends, complete with a dancing birthday cake. Yes, that can be in the book for the coming ages.
We enjoy reading and learning about our communities and of the people and events which shaped history, but every day we are adding to the story.
Today’s happenings are tomorrow’s history, so let’s celebrate!