hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kids in Point Roberts

I often mention that Point Roberts is largely a very small community of old people, of retirees. Of course, in the summer it is filled with kids who have come down from Canada to spend some time at the family cottage. But even in the winter, there are some real kids here, kids who live here all the time with their unretired and younger parents.

We have the first three four years of elementary school, K-2,K-3, usually around a dozen kids who have an exquisite school tucked back in a forested area, a setting as beautiful as the day is long in an equally appealing building. And that school has a playschool one day a week for kids under five. Once you hit third fourth grade though, it is off by school bus to Blaine, right over the U.S. Border, a maybe 45 minute ride, to be repeated each year/every day/twice a day until you graduate from high school. (A few kids avoid this because they go to B.C. schools or are home-schooled.)  Nevertheless, each year, there are six or so kids from Point Roberts who graduate from Blaine High School having spent all those years commuting to school.

Now, a town of any size generally makes some effort to provide services and resources for kids through its governmental structure and schools. Not so easy here where we have so little government to look to. (When the tea partiers extol the virtues of small government, it occurs to me that they ought to come here and see what small government might look like.)  We do have a Parks Board and they are in charge of Baker Field, where you could play baseball, if you had a team to play with. Or if the kids were used to organizing the kind of scrappy baseball games in vacant lots that I grew up with. But they are not. Still, the field exists although I, personally, have no knowledge of its being used for baseball, which doesn't mean that it isn't occasionally.

And there is a skateboard park that was built by volunteers, where I occasionally see a kid practicing with his (always a his) skateboard. The library has a basketball hoop, but it is in the parking lot, which surely sends a mixed message to kids about what is supposed to be going on in that space.

The whole peninsula is really something of a natural playground, but the fact is that the kids who live here are kind of invisible to us once summer is over. Except at the library, where they come in to listen to stories, or to do a special art/craft project, or just take out books. The library has made a big commitment to engaging the kids here with reading contests and evening activities, most recently a 'Game Night,' where you can come and play boardgames and have something to eat, a kind of dessert potluck, I think.  And the church provides some music opportunities, although those are pretty much just in the summer.  And there is a piano teacher.

So, there is not that much, even if there are not that many kids.  Maybe 60 or so total?  It is surely an odd place to live, but perhaps even stranger to grow up here, and living here must pose some special challenges for these kids in addition to that tiresome bus ride crossing two boarders each morning and again each afternoon. They'll have a lot of stories to tell when they grow up about what it was like, as if they had grown up someplace strangely foreign, as indeed it may truly be for them. But they will certainly know something about the difference between life on the border and life deeper inside a country.