"Trying hard to recreate what had yet to be created." - Doobie Brothers
As of last Saturday, with some controversy, Greendale, Wisconsin officially became a “Norman Rockwell Village”. We could, without question, do much worse.
Better to be a Norman Rockwell Village than say a Salvador Dali Village.
Sure, our colors would be impossibly brilliant, but a melting clock on Village Hall would be an annoying, inaccurate timepiece, at best. The Norman Rockwell statue, by any measure, certainly beats a depiction of “The Hallucinogenic Toreador”. Now that would be a traffic hazard.
Besides, the vision of Dave Bruno portraying Salvador Dali is unsettling. I am afraid it might come across as an angry Rollie Fingers. (Here is Dave Bruno doing Rockwell: http://greendale.patch.com/articles/video-watch-dave-bruno-play-norman-rockwell#video-11274730 )
Let’s be honest. Some of this Rockwell controversy stems from:
a) Rockwell is on a fairly long list of people who have never visited Greendale and
b) the perception that Roy Reiman’s vision of Greendale is the only one that counts. I have always been good with that.
(Full disclosure: As some of you might know, I have - for many years - been trying to convince Mr. Reiman to adopt me, take me to ballgames, perhaps cut me in on a share of the family fortune. I have been taking his silence on this matter as an encouraging sign.)
Back on task: The Greendale Planning Commission said ‘no’ to Rockwell and Reiman. The Greendale Trustees said “We have a Planning Commission? Since when?” and said “Yes” to Norman and Roy.
Here is the thing… While Mr. Reiman (who I like to call “Dad”) is too humble to take credit, we do follow his lead when it comes to Village identity. I got the daffodils to prove it. Mr. Reiman is a man of means, a man of ideas and a man of action.
We are just lucky that Roy ‘Greendale’ Reiman is to Village Planning as Daniel ‘Chicago’ Burnham is to city planning. Reiman has an eye for these things. We could have had a benevolent zillionare with a fondness for pink plastic flamingos and outlet malls. Grandhaven LLC has good taste – a real taste of home.
But is it time to get more voices in the future look of Greendale? Reiman would be the first to say ‘absolutely’. Let’s get some competing ideas, kick around some new renderings. We can look forward while looking back.
After a stroll down Broad Street, we settled in at Greendale’s perfect and beautiful new restaurant, Joey Gerard’s Supper Club for a round of Brandy Old Fashioned Sweets. Potter made it clear Bailey would not be picking up the bar tab, as Bailey is “‘always $8,000 short”. Bailey responded to Potter by asking if there was “enough bitters in his drink, you bitter old man”.
After breaking up a rather pathetic display of old man wrestling, I got us to the Q & A portion of our meeting.
Me: “Gentlemen, what is your impression of Greendale?”
Potter: “Awful place. Too many damn trees. You need more Dance Halls and Liquor Stores… More neon, less hanging baskets of flowers, for criminy sakes.”
Bailey: “It is a beautiful town. Almost perfect. I thought I saw Mary at the library. I would, however, offer one suggestion.”
Me: “What that, George?”
Bailey: “A sliding floor over the pool at the high school. You could hold dances. The kids would have a blast competing in the next ‘Big Charleston Contest’. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N13I2JzlcQM )
Potter: “Oh, Bailey, you are all wet. You know what you need to do? Tear down that old Police Station. It is doing nothing for you.”
Bailey: “Old Man Potter is right on that. Bury the asbestos in Potter’s Filed”
On that somewhat harmonious note, I had Bert the Cop call in Ernie the Cab Driver to take these two men home. You can only hang out with dead so long before you start getting looks.
Both men left convinced of one thing – they would be excellent members on Village President Hermes’ citizen ad-hoc committee, planning the future of our village center. So, President Hermes, expect a call from their agent, Clarence.
(For more on the ad-hoc committee, see John Hermes column in a recent Village newsletter: http://www.greendale.org/resources/Views-Summer-2012.pdf )