Monday, June 8, 2009
The more we explore Germantown the more we come to realize the overwhelming sense of community these residents have. Felicia Thomas explained it to us this way when we met her recently at Vernon Park: “This neighborhood is really like a family. Everybody’s known each other for years.” Multiple generations of families have grown up on these streets. Chances are high that any given resident will know most, if not all, of his or her neighbors living on the surrounding streets.
The most basic unit of this sense of community is the block. We’re often hearing references to block captains who take on leadership roles and bring their neighbors together. ‘Block captain’ seems to be a social institution here.
“Block captain is whatever the block captain makes of it,” says Connie Bille, who has lived in Germantown for the past 30 years. Bille’s Winona Avenue block in particular shows what a strong community identity Germantown has.
“We have some unique things on our block,” she says, gesturing to the fence at the end of her street. “In the summer (our block captain) puts white bed sheets on the fence, gets a little video projector and we run a cord out. We have movie night. Everybody brings their folding chairs out. We all sit in the street, and we have movie night for the kids.”
When it’s time to relax at the end of a long, hot day, these neighbors do it together. It’s a community event, but it’s also part of regular summer nights on this block. It’s just a simple fence at the end of a brick-paved street, but it’s creating memories. How cool is it to sit in the street with a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie? Being a kid in Germantown, at least on this block, has its advantages.
By Lena Kravets and Meggan Kole, Germantown 12
Posted by Lena at 4:19 PM