When you grow up in a small town, it has a way of getting under your skin. In the worst of ways, the confines can feel limiting as an adventurous teen. Everyone knows your business. Or at least it feels that way. In the best of ways, if townspeople know of your personal struggles, they may pull together to buoy your spirits with emotional support. Close knit towns have the ability to foster its people, so to speak. It’s been the latter case in my New England hometown over the last two weeks.
Since being diagnosed last August with osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer, a 13-year-old seventh grader in Marblehead, Massachusetts has been fighting for her life. A campaign has been swelling in the last two weeks to shower Megan and her family with love and support; their last name has been withheld from the press for privacy. It manifested as blue ribbons being placed on visible public and private places, persons and things. Two supportive banners are placed on opposing roofs of the second story shops at Village Plaza. They read, “NEVER, EVER GIVE UP MEGAN.” Blue ribbons and bows adorn dogs, street signs, light and telephone poles, railings, cars, store fronts, entrance doors, window boxes: you name it. Megan has loved the communal display of affection and it has lifted her spirits.
I was in my hometown of Marblehead over the last few days to attend a Boston wedding of a dear family friend. Leslie was there with her husband and child, too. Our parents updated us on the town’s hot topics and they explained why we were seeing blue ribbons everywhere. In early mornings of my stay, I adventured on foot to reacquaint myself with the pleasant aesthetics of this historic, tidy, preppy town on Boston’s North Shore. Leslie and I went for coffee in Old Town, and we enjoyed our Marblehead moments finding the ribbons, scavenger hunt-style. The rest of my favorite blue ribbon snaps are below.