One of the harsh truths about the highly educated, well to do folks
the mayor appointed to the finance committee now reviewing the
city’s expenses and trying to find ways to save money is that none
of these people live here.
Not in 100 years could they reasonably comprehend what
Homecoming here is all about.These fine folks for whom a financial spread sheet means more
than love for a community, appointed by the mayor (who lives in a
$1.5 million mansion), cannot comprehend the value of a series of
weekend events that serve to build pride and a sense of
community here in a big, big way.
The mayor driving around the city in his late model Mercedes
should understand that Homecoming called off is like calling off
the Thanksgiving Day football game – or in a way – it is like calling
off Christmas when you get right down to it.
The mayor should know better.
But he doesn’t.
He has, in some crucial ways, lost his relationship with the
working class people he represents.
Getting rid of Homecoming is akin to his ill-advised effort to ban
the city’s high school musicians from marching in the band when
invited out of state because that too was considered too
The mayor moaned about how expensive sending the band to
Washington DC is. He said marching with honor when invited as
champions to represent this community in the nation’s capital was
just too expensive – something we could not afford.
Then realizing how wrong he was following an outcry from
parents, the mayor changed his mind.
The expected doing away with the annual Homecoming by the
mayor and the finance committee, as reported in this week’s
edition, is the doing away with tradition, with a great time shared
by thousands of residents of all ages, races, colors, religions,
genders and on and on.
It is impossible to explain to the well to do how much a community
event, in this case, a series of interconnected community events
all committed to raising money for cancer research and for
instilling pride in community, can have a positive effect.
It is far easier for the mayor and the finance committee to say:
“Aha! Look at this. This is wasted money. This Homecoming,
whatever it is, has to go,” they might well be thinking.
They take their pens and locate the line item on their spread
sheets and just cross it off.
And in their minds so devoted to the value of money more than
anything human, they will applaud themselves for ridding the city
of such a wasteful and meaningless expense.
Folks who have money and status tend to show very little
consideration for Homecoming, which is more for everyone
without wealth and higher status to enjoy and to take part in.
The Homecoming is for Everett residents, Homecoming instills
pride in the working-class community and the belief that Everett
never appears more friendly, more engaged and more open to
everyone than it is during this weekend once a year.
Homecoming isn’t a car show for rich white people in Weston.
It isn’t a bridge tournament in Newton for the elderly rich or a
coming out party for a young white debutante from Beverly
Homecoming is something from a time long past that causes
community involvement to shine brightly for one weekend of the
It isn’t hokey, archaic, irrelevant or stupid.
It is the type of commanding event that highlights what this
community does to shine a bright light upon itself, to bring all
kinds of diverse people together, and to enjoy the place where
they all live.
In its own way, it tells outsiders what this city is all about.
The mayor and the finance committee will need to seriously
rethink their coming recommendation that Homecoming be placed
in the trash bin of wasteful financial history here.
The Homecoming is worth more than money.
It is about what money cannot buy.
You can’t buy a feeling of community shared by tens of
thousands, can you?
You can’t buy pride.