All towns have their frustrations, but we chose Natick and here’s why…
When we came to Natick for the first time six months ago, we were immediately struck by its overwhelming sense of place, identity, and community. As an English couple, who had spent very little time in America, arriving in the U.S felt like we had dropped out of the sky, but in arriving in Natick, we felt at home.
Now, you are probably thinking that it is easy for me to write this, as I haven’t become battle-weary from sitting in traffic on North Main Street, or experienced the hell of driving around endlessly, to bag that one parking spot, right outside the store I want to go in, and its true. But I can also tell you that Natick is no different from anywhere else. All towns have their frustrations and crosses to bear, but we chose Natick over so many places, because it has heart and soul, it has a community and guess what, thanks to the likes of Athena Pandolf and Ted Fields it has an incredible future. Indeed, the surface of Natick’s potential has only just been scratched, and as a proud Natick resident (albeit now eight weeks in), I can safely say that the success of Natick’s future is firmly in our hands.
For anyone born and raised in a town, or anyone that has lived in a town for long enough to consider it ‘home’, ‘realizing potential’ can be scary words. But they really shouldn’t be, at least not in Natick’s case anyway. Because ‘realizing potential’, doesn’t mean forgetting about the past, quite the opposite in fact. It means; looking to the past, to inspire the values on which its future can be based.
Natick is at a unique moment in time, where it can celebrate the story of its past while shaping the story of its future. Not many places have either the privilege or indeed ‘the’ right to be able to do that. It has to be earned, through the hard work and commitment required to uphold the integrity and traditions that have been forged from one generation to the next.
In the short time we have now lived in Natick, we have entertained more guests from the U.K than I would care to mention, and without fail, one overwhelming thing stands out. In spite of us taking them into the city, or showing them the mall (Brits love a mall), the one thing that they have enjoyed most about their visit, has been getting to know a town that reflects real American life. Not the life of your politicians, or celebrities, but good honest American life, where people work hard, where neighbors matter and where the heart of the community beats with those wishing to do what’s right for their town. This is something that the rest of the world doesn’t get to hear about, or even less enjoy, but that in Natick, revels in every day.
So, when we chose Natick, we didn’t do it because it was the most polished place we came to, it wasn’t even because the taxes were lower than nearly everywhere else we looked, but rather because it felt great to be here and it felt like we could make a difference in a community that is only looking up. Arriving into a new home is always exciting, but never have we felt so optimistic about what a town can achieve, than we have in coming to Natick.
It truly is our time to write the next chapter in Natick’s history. A chapter that, when generations to come, look back at their predecessors, they do so with a sense of connection, pride and respect for the foresight they showed in shaping the future that they would benefit from.
Whether we like it or not, where we live has become incredibly competitive, and as the city of Boston continues to sprawl through the suburbs, Natick is one of a number of towns next on its list. So we are faced with a choice, we can either chose to let it swamp us, or we can chose to consider the values that we want to promote and use them to attract the sort of community we aspire to live in, and the sort of businesses we are proud to support. And from what I can tell, this community will be incredibly diverse and these businesses will be fiercely independent.
And if there is something I have learned (and not just from watching Field of Dreams) it is this; “if you build it, they will come”. That is to say, that if we write our future and stick to our values, we can curate our own story, rather than simply be a part of it. Natick is in a unique position to do this, and not simply because of its rich cultural past, but because of its dynamic and creative community and its forward-thinking ambassadors.
So, as the fruits of Natick’s past, provide the seeds that grow its future, for those who have lived in Natick forever and a day, you are the custodians of its values and it is incumbent upon you to help us newcomers, forge its future. And you can do so, in the comfortable knowledge that your unique town in Massachusetts, is in safe hands.
To return to where I started. We chose Natick. We chose it because of what it has been in the past, and thanks to this, what it can become in the future.