From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, Originally published in August 2014; updated August 2018
No doubt about it: the move out of Lincoln Park was difficult. But for this family of five, packing up and leaving a beloved city home was not quite as difficult as the new challenge facing them: fitting into a new and very different community. With three children starting school in the fall (twins in kindergarten and one in preschool), the parents of this newly suburban clan had a laundry list of fresh concerns — all before they’d even unpacked their boxes!
Although Mom knew a college friend who moved to Clarendon Hills three years ago and therefore enjoyed some “insider scoop,” she still had so many questions. Thankfully, Mom found and joined the Clarendon Hills Moms email list and was able to survey her newfound friends for their advice … but she still had some doubts.
Which preschool should their four-year-old attend? Celebration? Notre Dame? Montessori? There was talk about the elementary school adding another kindergarten class. Did this mean that her kids wouldn’t experience “the” teacher who had such a following and came with so much praise? What would the first day of school look like? What should they wear? Did all the parents walk their kids to school? Would there be other new children in the kids’ classes? Would her kids fit in?
The fear of not knowing was welling up inside of these parents, and they are not alone. These scenarios and questions are going through the minds of a lot of new residents this year. If you haven’t noticed a lot of new faces in town, your children certainly will on their first day of school! We are truly blessed that our schools are so highly regarded and that so many families want their children to attend them. There is an unprecedented number of families moving into our neighborhoods this year, and our schools are one of the driving forces behind that trend. In fact, there have been over 71 (88 in 2018) homes sold in Clarendon Hills this year to date!
Of course, not all of these homes were sold to new families; many moved within the village to a larger home or downsized to a smaller home. Still, many families are moving here from out of town, and while one perk of the move is the schools, there’s another well-talked-about ingredient playing its role in the mix: our small-town charm.
What is it about our town that makes it charming? Is it the size of the buildings and the “hamlet” feeling of the neighborhoods? Is it the types of businesses downtown? Is it the winding streets or the well-manicured yards?
Many believe it’s much more than that — that it’s the people within the community that make it charming. There is just something different about folks in Clarendon Hills. I have heard it said, “Clarendon Hills isn’t about keeping up with the Joneses.” I’ve heard people like our village because “modesty is better than pretentiousness.” Clarendon Hills has a realness to it that is hard to describe. One thing is for sure: it is a friendly place where you’ll want to get connected socially, and you’ll soon feel right at home.
Be on the lookout for this family, they’re all over the place. Do something creative for them – make some cookies, take over a dinner while they’re unpacking or invite them over to your backyard for a barbecue. Have your children be on the watch too! Pack an extra snack for the new kid on the block.
That Lincoln Park family went to their first block party this summer and a whole new world of opportunities opened up to them. They found themselves cooking dogs and burgers on a communal grill while the kids participated in the balloon fight (among other games!). At the end of the day, the kids were soaking wet with water and sweat but they were soon after asked to their very first play-date. Mom was happy too because she has found a new network that will help her get through the first week of school.