Darn Kids, Get Off My Lawn!

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What is it about a rectangular patch of grass that so captivates the New England psyche?  Is it genetic?  Cultural?  What am I missing?  For the life of me I can’t figure out why everyone thinks the Yankee parking lot is the Dublin Town Green.

Not the Dublin Town Green.

Our office has a simple horseshoe parking lot that runs the length of our building.  Between the two branches is a narrow patch of grass—no more than fifteen paces wide—that is home to a small tree, some flowers, and a sign.  There is no statue commemorating the valiant Union dead.  There’s no gazebo or bandstand and there’s hardly enough room to get yourself into a run before bumping into one of the parked cars.  There is no reason, save for the shape, to believe that our meager lawn is a public park.

And yet they come.

Some only come for a stroll, maybe as part of their daily walk or as a shortcut from the Dublin School down to the library.  Others stick around for a while.  I’ll often see a couple of kids playing in the median while their mothers watch, leaning on the side of their car, waiting for God knows what.  I once caught a group of kids filming a skateboard video out there, and this summer we had a running feud with a couple of Frisbee players whose aim was sadly lacking.

“Meet me at Yankee” has become an all too common phrase in the Monadnock region.  Need a place to load up a bus for a school trip?  Meet me at Yankee.  Want to consolidate cars before heading into town with friends?  Meet me at Yankee.  Need overflow parking for your event?  Meet me at Yankee!

Our parking lot is the living, beating heart of Dublin.  It’s a town hall, recreation center, and singles’ club all rolled up in one.  It’s also (when not too busy) where I park.

What baffles me the most about this phenomenon is that there are literally a dozen other places within a mile that are better suited for all of these activities.  No more than 100 yards away on the other side of the street, there is a municipal parking lot that, unlike ours, is never full.  I should know.  I’m forced to park there every year when the church next door has its annual rummage sale.  Right next to that lot is a ball field that was specifically designed for children to play on.  Its only flaw seems to be that it isn’t shaped like a rectangle.

Please play here. It's not a parking lot.

More puzzling than that is the fact that at the end of our parking lot—no more than a twenty second stroll from “the green”—is a wide-open, mowed field, complete with picnic benches and a little garden surrounded by a white picket fence.  We really wouldn’t mind people playing there, and yet they don’t.  It’s perpetually empty, like some plague swept through, forcing the survivors south into our parking lot where they now huddle with their Frisbees and their complete lack of regard for oncoming traffic.

What is it about our parking lot that draws people in like moths to the flame?  Is it simply the familiar shape and its central location in town?  Or is it something more nefarious?  I for one have settled upon witchcraft.  It’s the only explanation that makes sense.  Some foul entity has taken residence there and draws in unwitting travelers with its subconscious siren song.  Maybe it’s a ghost or maybe a demon.  Maybe it’s the combined ill will of our readers from when we changed the size of the magazine become manifest.  Whatever it is, we can do little to stop it.  Some people have suggested we put up signs to turn people away, but I doubt anything short of an exorcism will work.

Get out of my way! I want to go home!

  • The Yankee webcam photo of your building and the parking lot is to me a sort of “touchstone” to another era…I look at your webcam several times a week, so see what kind of weather you are having..Did it snow last night, and if so, when did it start? Did it rain today, and if so, when did that start? You must understand, I live in California, in the San Francisco Bay area, where is never snows and seldom rains, but I grew up in far northwest Pennsylvania, where it always rained, was green, the leaves changed, snow was sometimes 3 feet deep, and the temperature was sometimes -30 degrees…As a 76 year old lady who loved the season changes, I miss them terribly, although I love being able to run up to the Napa Valley, which is about 40 minutes away, and our region is surrounded by beautiful bays, which enables us to keep our sailboat half an hour away…but how I long for that small town life! That is what keeps drawing us in, as moths to a flame! It is pedestrian to you, but truly breaths of fresh lovely green air to us..Please leave the webcam where it is, so we can imagine all of you working busily at your computers in your barn red building, developing your lovely nostalgic articles for the rest of us to enjoy!

  • I was curious about the yankee webcam with the tree. I looked at it last year several times and then this year. i don’t get it! It’s really dark too and so it’s hard to see. could someone please fill me in?

  • Maybe there’s some kind of residual vibe from when the “mall” — only a few of us at Yankee call it that — was the town green. When Robb Sagendorph started Yankee in the very same building where we work now, the front of the building was the town post office. In 1970, when Yankee had taken over the building and all its subsequent additions, we built a new post office for the town on the other side of the mall. We absorbed that building into our operation in 1980. A few years later, the general store in the village closed, so both the post office and the store relocated down the hill. There was a fair bit of resentment about the village center being displaced. It didn’t feel right to me, either. For those of us who’ve lived in Dublin for a long time, the Yankee lawn is the still the center of town.


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