Just over a year ago we moved to South Pasadena, full of high hopes, even though we didn’t know anyone. In the short 15-months we’ve been here, we have come to love this community, all things “South Pass”, especially all things Marengo Elementary. We have been thriving; we found our jam!
This past weekend was a perfect example of that “jam”!
One of the reasons we chose South Pasadena is because of the thriving art community here. Years ago, Hope Perello, (SPACE’s mastermind) started several all-school, PTA-supported creative programs in her daughter’s elementary — which happened to be ours — Marengo Elementary. She started a monthly lunch-time art exploration “Art Happenings”, a winter gift-making workshop “Holiday Workshop”, and a big creative playdate every November “Celebrate the Arts”.
Having attended only once (last year) and being more than a little bit naive and hopeful (surely someone will sign up to be co-chair, right?), I volunteered to be the chairperson for “Celebrate the Arts” this year. Walking in big footsteps, I got crazy lucky with sage leadership from Saida the Energizer Bunny PTA president, and some strong, resourceful, devout volunteers!
We created “Box City Build Out”, inspired by a Corita Kent, a summer camp activity with Heather Arndt, and 5 moves in 6 years. We took all our family’s moving boxes and instead of burning them to ashes like we’d really wanted to, we re-constructed, painted, decorated and repurposed them.
Parents and children built inventive sculptures and structures big and small — with details like hand-sewn pillows and carpet inside; shingles, welcome mats, and mailboxes with mail outside; faces, hearts, flowers, and love all over! Upbeat music blared (who knew the PTA prez is also a DJ!) Parents danced with other parents. Kids raced around scavenging boxes while devouring rooter floats. They drew all over their playground and even made old-fashioned kraft paper cut-out selfies!
When we started to run out of boxes, (yes, my nightmare) the very same parent who graphically designed our postcard (et hem, that’s you, Brook Collins!) hopped in his truck and dashed around town finding more. Parents with middle school kids threw boxes over the fence! Last year’s co-chairs even gave enormous support: one came with her whole family even though they were sick, the other drove up with her whole Jeep stacked full of boxes — right before she went to the ER with bum ankle! (Feel better Danielle and Lisa!!)
All that, roughly 25,000 steps, a sun-burned back, and only two broken nails. I’m humbled, grateful, exhausted. I can’t believe we did it!