June rivals December as a breathless month. In some ways it seems more intense. It's not just the "holidaze," with gift giving and parties around the religious celebrations of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa or the winter solstice. June is full of major life events. Think weddings, graduations and moves.
In this quadrant of Baltimore, graduations are many. With two nursery schools, nine high schools, eight middle schools, nine elementary schools and three colleges and universities, the number of graduations is staggering. Ditto the number of celebratory events around those graduations. Fortunately, the 100-degree heat missed most of them.
It did not miss my husband's 50th reunion from City College. Thankfully, that gathering of 200 people was held indoors, in air-conditioned splendor and, ironically, in Baltimore County. Sen. Benjamin Cardin was the keynote speaker. In his remarks about the fine education, leadership training and service opportunities at City, he pointed out that three of the Maryland federal delegation are alumni. Besides him, Dutch Ruppersberger and Elijah Cummings represent the Baltimore area. No other high school in the country, he said, can top that. City forever!
Then there are weddings. Every weekend in June streets by area churches have been full of cars. Ditto the parking lot of the Baltimore Country Club, one of the greenest, most stately venues in town. Weddings are complex affairs, even those planned to be simple.
"The Stoop" storytelling series, in fact, dedicated its three June performances at Center Stage to the topic. "The Stoop Says 'I Do!': Stories of Holy and Unholy Matrimony" featured 18 people telling their tales, the spoken-poetry-meets-hip-hop duo called The 5th L and one of the best bands I've heard at any June event, The Bellevederes. Taped for broadcast these performances repeat on WYPR's "The Signal" June 17,18, 24 and 25.
Then there are moves. "For Sale" signs pop up and moving vans wind the streets as some longtime area residents downsize and others move for careers.
As well as life events a flurry of sporting events happen in June. Every lacrosse player in the area seems to have been in a tournament. Every Little League and Rec League baseball player has had games late into the night, which does not come early on the approach to the summer solstice. Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Center has swarmed with competitive swimmers as its North Baltimore Aquatic Club hosted a regional swim meet. Parking lots overflowed, and waters churned dawn to dusk.
Area roads have overflowed in June because of resurfacing and infrastructure issues. At the beginning of the month Charles Street, Roland Avenue and Falls Road were all under construction causing gridlock on Lake Avenue and Falls one Friday afternoon. North Roland Avenue construction seems finished, but Charles and Falls still have bottlenecks, not to mention the horrible traffic jams downtown because of Grand Prix construction. Let's hope that the $7 million-plus spent in preparation for the September race generates many times more that, so slashed city budgets can increase.
In June every committee and organization has final meetings, meetings to give summer homework, meetings to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year, meetings to remind us of the need to fundraise for the benefit of people and places in this economically-challenged, but neighborhood-friendly, city. To quote the consistent message of the Safe and Sound Campaign, Baltimore's vocal advocacy group for children: opportunity promotes success.
In this North Baltimore area much opportunity exists. Students receive the finest education available. Adults work hard in the area's leading financial, health, legal, arts and non-profit institutions. There is always a frenzy of activity in these neighborhoods. Sometimes there's so much activity that families have a half-dozen events in a single day.
Soon summer officially arrives. Here's to some days and evenings on porches sitting quietly, reading, or chatting with neighbors. The time has come to recharge June-depleted batteries.