Welcome back to Blaine. It’s day two on my quest to physically travel on every road in Whatcom County. Today’s mode of transportation: foot^2.
My mother was brave enough to join me through endless paths of Halloween- bedecked streets. The craziness of the concept must have intrigued her; although she claims it was “good exercise”. She is–after all–an avid lover of adventure and her fresh perspective did my project good.
So after some grilling she summed up her experience this way, “Blaine is still the back water town where people can walk in the middle of the road; like where I grew up.” Did I mention she grew up in 1960’s Bellingham? Three or four blocks from the YMCA, she could walk there as an elementary schooler for her swimming practice. Also, she could play with her brothers in the street near her house and wasn’t afraid to visit the neighbors. In fact she knew her neighbors (a rather rare concept today).
That sense of community is what she found in Blaine. Consider for example, that the High School is situated right next to the Middle School which is next to the Senior/Community Center and the Boys and Girl’s Club. Right down the street, passing nearly five churches on the way is the food and clothing bank. The city just breathes connectedness.
Like the kind of place where you can stop and look, and when you do, what you might see are turn-of-the-century houses surrounded by 80-year-old trees with brilliant fall colors. You might also see neighbors smiling as they pass each other on the street or dog walkers taking in the bay at Peace ArchPark. Where the man passing you on the street is not a potential rapist and children can walk to school. What more could you ask for in a city? Even the seagulls seem to find solace on the tops of every roof.
Granted, Blaine (as a border town) does have its share of gang and drug related violence, but I just simply didn’t see this in the lettered streets neighborhood.
I am proud to say that I will miss that area as I move on next week to the heart of Blaine’s historic downtown. So go ahead, take two or three moments in the lettered streets and join me next time.