I remember when I was a kid, I hated my name. It wasn’t common, and no one knew how to take it. Kids would try to rhyme is with something funny and always failed. Nothing rhymes with Erwin. That’s the childhood I had, and it wasn’t until I became an adult that I stopped caring what people thought of my name. But now, in the position I’m in, more and more people know my name. I work as a volunteer group coordinator that helps to build parks in areas that don’t have any. And whether that’s planting trees in a city that suffered damages due to tornadoes or the like, or talking to city planners in order to bring a green scenery to spaces that they have available in the city. Erwin for Parks has become synonymous in a lot of areas with bringing a relaxing environment to places that need it.
This whole journey started in my hometown, and as I was a kid that hated my name. You see, there was a park at the end of my street, and it was my favorite place growing up. I used to race home from school, and do my homework as fast as I possibly could in order to be allowed to go outside, and as soon as I did, I ran to that park at the end of the street. It was the gathering point for all of my childhood friends. It has a climbing set, a merry go round, and a set of swings, with other little structures for smaller kids. We graduated up this play cycle. We started on the kids side, and eventually moved to the big kids side. It was a rite of passage when I was growing up.
On the days that they had available my parents would bring me there, mostly my Dad. He was a big kid, and would get on the swings with me. Or run around playing tag with all my friends. We loved having an adult to play with because it made us feel like we were cool enough o hang out with the grown ups. I remember having slumber parties on the big hill near the park. We would set up our tents, and the parents were ok cause they could just look out the window and see all of us. One parent would always have to come tell us that it was time to get to sleep though when they still saw the flashlight beams near midnight.
It was a place of memories for me, and my Dad, and my friends, and the entirety of my childhood. It was a place that belonged to all of us. And eventually it was a place I had to fight for, and have sad memories attached to. See the city stopped maintaining the park, and it eventually fell into disrepair, and when I was a young teenager, my dad died in an accident, two big parts of my life were gone or leaving, and I needed to do something about it.