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Play School

Our Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays group has a running and walking joke that it never rains in Piedmont on Wednesdays from 10:30 AM to noon. That's because it never does. Okay, there was a little shower last October and we got a little wet, but that was well over a year ago. Some walkers thought this past Wednesday might be the end of our charmed walking dry life. It had rained the night before and in the morning right up until 10 AM. But then the clouds thinned and the rain stopped. More showers were forecast during the day, but the question was, would they hold off and keep our wet-less Wednesdays record in tack. There was solid turnout of 27 walkers and three K-9 best friends at the Exedra, and we were going to find out. Before we got walking, there were some announcements. First, next Wednesday we will walk down to the Marcom Rose Garden, which is just up behind the Ace Garden Store on Grand Avenue, for an annual pre-Mother's Day visit. Nancy D shared that the Piedmont Chamber Orchestra, of which she is a member, is performing (free) this Sunday at 3:00 PM at the Piedmont Center for the Arts at 801 Magnolia Avenue. The other important news was that our submission of the mulberry trees in front of the Piedmont Play School in Hampton Park was selected by the Piedmont Parks Commission during its Arbor Day celebration as a "Piedmont Heritage Tree." Mulberry trees were planted in Piedmont during the 1870s in a failed effort to produce silk at a "Silk Farm" in the area that is now Littlewood Drive. Mulberry leaves are the only thing silk worms will eat. Jennifer Jones did a great job of pulling the information together for our submission. However, truth be told, it got a little help from the pre-school kids at the Play School, who also submitted the trees. At the Arbor Day celebration the Play School and Walking on Wednesdays received City of Piedmont Heritage Tree pins as awards. However, we thought the Play School might want another one. Michelle Ritchie, the Play School leader, said they would, and a visit by us was scheduled to give her and the kids the our pin. The Play School was the morning's destination, but there was a lot to see on the way to Hampton Park. We headed off following a usual route, going up Highland Avenue to Sheridan, Wildwood and Crocker Avenues. We enjoyed the beautiful spring flowers in front yards along the way. There were rhododendrons, azaleas, California poppies, wisterias, dogwoods, and many more. We wanted to check the progress on a new garage on Crocker that is being built in front of a 1906 Albert Farr designed, originally garage-less home. There is now a large mound of earth with a Bobcat excavator on top next to the formed, but still in-progress garage. We went up Crocker to Hampton Avenue and past Crocker Park with all its flowers and trees. There was also a "Gratitude Tree" covered with "Appreciation Messages" on the edge of the park. It is part of the City's annual invitation to share messages of gratitude on trees throughout the city. We continued on up Hampton to Hampton Park. We could hear young people playing behind the Play School building at the back of the park, and we followed our ears to the side of the building. Michelle R and other teachers were supervising a lot of play that was going on. Michelle got four students to give up some play time to come to the front of the school where the pollard trimmed mulberry trees are. The four students who came with Michelle to visit with us were Jolene , Parker , Sophia , and Grant. Our Heritage Tree pin was given to Michelle and the story of the Piedmont Silk Farm was shared with the students. Then it was time for a photo of the entire group. It was also time for students to get back to play and us to tour the back part of the park. We checked out the two tennis courts and the Guy Saperstein Basketball Court with Tyson Lake hidden above it up the hill. It was still just cloudy, but it was time for us to return to town center and not press our weather luck. The pace was different for the walkers, and a long line of us arrived at different times around noon at the Community Hall parking lot. A couple of raindrops were actually noticed at the walk's end, but our charmed weather lives continued.


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