Darkness leisurely replaced dusk. The pond lit up with the procession of people carrying lanterns along its banks.
This was Fellsmere Pond on the evening of June 4. Friends of Fellsmere and YODA hosted an evening of family fun. The Friends of Fellsmere is a group of citizens from Malden and Medford dedicated to honoring the 100-year legacy of Malden Hospital. YODA is a group of middle and high school students also known as Young Optimistic Daring Activists.
These two groups organized and advertised the lantern walk. It was a lovely evening, warm and dry. It was attended and enjoyed by men, women and children. Lanterns with candles were for sale, or attendees could make their own.
There were plenty of cut off 2L bottles, glue and tissue paper. And there were volunteers to help direct the lantern makers who needed help.
There were many activities for children including the lantern making. Various size cardboard boxes were on the grass which the children made into houses, built towers, and used their imaginations in many ways. The three-legged race was a hit. One little girl was noted pulling her male partner along after he had fallen. She really wanted to win!
Free hot dogs were grilled up and enjoyed; as well as free water for the thirsty. One table had candy given to many.
Once everyone had their lanterns, and the games ended, people sat in a circle to hear the plans of Friends of Fellsmere and YODA. Bob Doolittle spoke of the effort this group has put in to protecting the old Malden Hospital site from developers. About the desire to have it be a green space, a community place for the pleasure of residents of Malden and Medford. Bob even spoke of the plans to raise the necessary funds. Many people had filled a box with ideas of what could be done with the property. Bob read some of those ideas. The crowd was very supportive.
Following Bob’s talk, Dee Campbell Tompkins and spoke of their involvement with the Malden Hospital when it was a big part of the community.
Members of the YODA group spoke, beginning with Liam Schwab. This group of youngsters really have their goals set. It was wonderful to see them take charge of their future.
As if planned on a timer, darkness came and the procession began. Everyone had the candles in the lanterns lit, and some had sparklers. They circled the pond. It was a lovely site in the darkness. Across to the other side you could see the lanterns illuminate the night. Adding to this, the two fountains in the pond were lit up.
This was a first, but already, as people were leaving, they voiced a hope for a repeat. And, many more citizens of Medford and Malden were familiar now with the work to preserve the Malden Hospital site.