Saturday, September 1, 2007
The 29 flags in town center and thousands of students. And I missed them both.
Yeah, it’s a certain sign that summer is coming to end when Amherst swells to its full population of 34,000 unchanged since 1980. What has changed in the last three decades is the summer population of Amherst is a lot higher—around 20,000—so we no longer simply roll up the streets after Memorial Day and our small businesses no longer hang signs on front doorways saying “gone fishing until Labor Day”.
The students (and staff) revitalized the economy and the social scene in equal measure.
When I was a bouncer at The Pub 25 years ago the townies loved the summer because they briefly became Lords of the Manor. But on Labor Day the throngs returned and you had to wait in line to enter or to get a drink or even go to the bathroom.
And that was about the only time I had to get physical: to break up turf wars over this chair or that corner table, as the townies initially tried to hold on to summer memories.
But this morning the sun is perfectly radiant--the sky a stunningly clear light blue--and for a brief shining moment, all's well in the People’s Republic of Amherst. Welcome back.