From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, March 16, 2017
I’ve been thinking about perceptions lately, and how they are playing out between folks in Clarendon Hills and the people in the Village of Hinsdale. I’ve heard a lot of opinions over the years about the perceived differences each town has, and what they liked, or disliked about their respective villages. Some perceptions are healthy, and some are not.
With these differences, often comes competition. I’ve heard people arguing that Aguamiel is more authentic than both Cine and Casa Margarita in Hinsdale, or that Dip & Dogs has better ice cream than The Daily Scoop. (Just for the record, I think the moose tracks at Scoop is the best.) But I’ve also heard some chatter coming from Hinsdale, that there isn’t a desire to support Clarendon Hills anymore, and that bothers me.
Unfortunately, a more serious argument between our two towns has begun. A lawsuit filed on Dec. 28 by five Clarendon Hills residence against Hinsdale District 181, threatens to destroy the interwoven social, economic and educational fabric that we have enjoyed for so long. A lawsuit by people in our own town, will most likely stop the building of the middle school for Hinsdale children, at least for now.
For the record, this is not a political column, but one written out of concern about what the lawsuit looks like to our sister town. The perception is that we don’t care about the greater good of the school district, and for what is good for Hinsdale. And the reality of it is, there are five people who are perceived as representing one voice for most of Clarendon Hills.
The similarities and roots run deep interconnecting the two respective towns. It seems as there are too-many-to-count 2nd and 3rd generation Hinsdalean’s living in Clarendon Hills, and probably the same amount who grew up here, and move to our neighboring town to the east. My wife and many of her childhood friends from Hinsdale are a good example of adults who have made their homes in our community. It’s like our fabric is interwoven generationally.
The amount of friends we have in Hinsdale continue to grow, primarily because our children play sports, take classes at The Community House, or go to church and school together. There are a vast many of outlets for our two towns to connect and raise families together.
Further differences also make us unique. The biggest difference is that Hinsdale is actually bigger; it’s more than double Clarendon Hills in terms of area and population. Their downtown business district is at least four times the size of ours, and with all of their lovely specialty shops, and restaurants, they have more choices than we do. Ours is small and quaint and theirs is quaint and large.
It shouldn’t be hard to figure out where most the money for our schools comes from, and that the larger town gave multiple times aggregately in taxes to build three new schools we enjoy here in our town, and they may not get to enjoy the same.
It’s interesting that our governments work together for the good of the cause. Did you know that our fire departments, when needed, support and show up to each other’s emergency calls? At one time, they tried (unsuccessfully) to merge together. It was a great example of being willing to help each other, and save on resources.
Our schools are also a good example of sharing cost and resources with our neighbors, and I hope that we can continue to do so.
I’ve heard it said that you should give an measure of grace with everyone you know, and always give an extra ten to your neighbors. I hope that the people of Clarendon Hills will let our neighbors in Hinsdale know that we care about them, and request that extra measure for us, and for the five other voices.
“Men who look on nature, and their fellow-men, and cry that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right; but the sombre colours are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real hues are delicate, and need a clearer vision.”
― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.