Over the holidays, I received an unexpected present – a copy of the Millbrook Reporter from March 18, 1897 from retired Millbrook teacher Lily Robinson. It provides some fascinating reading, encapsulating not only the local and international issues of the day, but also the culture, reflected in the content that was deemed newsworthy, including gossip and moral advice. Almost half of the pages are covered with the ads, sporting familiar names including Tinney, Carveth and Thexton. Some items are best left in the past, including a report of nearly 7,000 deaths in Bombay from the Bubonic plague, while others bring sentimental wishes for a return to a more simple life.
On a more familiar note are political party-switching to secure a ministerial post, posturing from the Greek government, warnings about the dangers of fad diets, and the publication of tell-all books by former celebrities.
As we celebrate the past, we acknowledge that change is inevitable but whether or not it represents progress is sometimes questionable. The pending influx of new residents will certainly change our community, and it is up to us to protect and preserve the parts of our culture we hold dear. This will only happen if we engage them and show them why this area is special. After all, they are not just motivated by lower housing prices and improved transportation- many of them seek the very things we hold dear- an inclusive, supportive community in which to raise their families. Let’s put out the welcome mat graciously. KG