Life should always be fun, insists Hampstead Councilwoman Jacqueline Hyatt.
So, when small-town politics started to seem like a chore, Mrs. Hyatt -- the only council member not on a slate of slow-growth advocates who were swept into office in May -- decided to give up the post she has held since 1991.
"If you lose the sense of humor that goes with life, it gets stressful," said Mrs. Hyatt, who retained her council seat in the 1993 election. "It was just four years of an involvement that had it's good sides. But it was overwhelming me. It wasn't fair to my family."
Although Mrs. Hyatt has served as something of an old guard voice of caution in the wake of Hampstead's new activist leadership, she says she was not pushed into the resignation that took effect Tuesday.
"I had lost that feeling that I was making a difference," Mrs. Hyatt said. "Some day when you get to be 66, you'll stop and think about what's important. I've got a lot of things that I'm doing."
Mayor Christopher M. Nevin said he and other new lawmakers who were elected on promises to slow the development they say is overwhelming Hampstead have come to rely on Mrs. Hyatt.
"She provided a lot of history and provided a good counterbalance to the four men here," Mr. Nevin said. "I'm sorry to see her leave. She's a valuable asset to the council."
But Mrs. Hyatt said she just doesn't think she's cut out always to play the devil's advocate. "I never wanted to be the Lone Ranger," she said. "I'd much rather be Tonto. I was beginning to feel pretty good about my working with the boys. I have a different opinion, but was starting to feel like they were listening to me.
"Everyone needs somebody else's different opinion. If we're all cloned, we can't serve the community."
Arthur H. Moler, who served with Mrs. Hyatt until he lost his council seat in the last election, said the council is losing a hard worker.
"Anything that was assigned to her, she did an excellent job," Mr. Moler said. "She did an excellent job of bringing forth another view and different ideas from what we've been hearing up there from the new members. All of her projects were very successful."
Among those, Mrs. Hyatt said she is proudest of her work with the community swimming pool, programs with children and establishing Hampstead in the Tree City USA program, which recognizes municipalities that have made planting and protecting trees a priority.
A bronze medalist in the javelin and shot put events during the zTC Maryland Senior Olympics, Mrs. Hyatt said she expects to work more closely with that organization. She's also developing a new radio show for WTTR in Westminster with her 28-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, and is writing a book on Hampstead's history with local author Joan Prell.
Weekends are spent at Doggie Ware, her pet shop in South Baltimore, and every Thursday is family dinner night, Mrs. Hyatt said.
"I don't want anyone to think I'm a quitter," she said. "I think almost anyone would have done this. Ever since I said those words 'I resign,' I've been a happy camper."
Mr. Nevin and the four remaining council members must now find a replacement to fill Mrs. Hyatt's term, which ends in May 1997.
"We feel that the Roberts Field and North Carroll Farms areas are adequately represented," said Mayor Nevin, who lives in North Carroll Farms. Three council members live in Roberts Field and the fourth member lives in North Carroll Farms.
"We'd like to see someone from another section of town," he said. "But, it all depends on what your pool is. I'd like to see the largest pool of applicants that we can get," Mr. Nevin said.
Any Hampstead resident interested in serving on the council should write to Mayor Christopher M. Nevin, 1034 S. Carroll St., Hampstead, 21074.