Keeping civility in style

Bay Village is a terrific town. When the Cahoon family arrived in 1810, they had a vision for this community. Being very Christian and hard-working, they lived a very humble and disciplined lifestyle. If you haven’t gotten a chance to visit Rose Hill Museum lately, it’s lovely, and it takes you back to a much simpler time. The Historical Society has done a terrific job preserving the address so that we may authentically experience how they lived.

Bay Village has always been a bit of an anomaly because there is a sense of pride in this community that is unique. We are very proud of the way history and tradition have been maintained and preserved in our town. We are wholesome, civil and friendly to one another. We take care of our neighbors and our seniors, and we value them. We look out for one another and our children, and we want them to experience a childhood. 

We are friendly, kind and loyal to routine. We can walk into a grocery store and have a favorite cashier. Kitty is Heinen’s mayor, and I can't imagine not looking for her at the customer service desk. I think most of us have a favorite friend at the banks, dry cleaners and coffee shops. Someone that greets us with a smile and knows us by name. We stop and talk to each other. 

I remember leaving for college and missing Bay Village very quickly. I wanted to go to Heinen’s and run into someone’s mother who would catch me up on things. I missed driving down the street hearing an occasional honk or wave from someone, and I missed being someplace that felt like home.

Growing up, we all said we were going to leave and never come back to this quiet, sleepy little town. We had big plans, we were going to see the world. What we found was that no place felt like home in Bay Village. Bicycles, ice cream shops, churches and kindness.

Recently,  I have been observing some behavior and language that has made me a little nervous. This language puts our town and its reputation for a wholesome, civil community in jeopardy. Some people feel very differently about our schools and what should be taught in them. I would like to remind everyone that this is Bay Village. It’s one of a kind, and people have worked very hard for a long time to keep it civil.  

Please respect the traditions and kindness that many have worked very hard to preserve. I know many have gotten angry over opinions and rumors but it's precisely that. It’s essential that we take a step back and think about our actions.

There is plenty of anger and nasty in the world right now. Let's make a conscious effort to keep it out of here. After all, our children are watching. The next generation will hopefully continue to keep Bay Village special. Isn't that more important than lashing out and calling people names on social media? Besides, when was the last time someone offended you, and you changed your mind in support? 

We are allowed to disagree, but it can be done respectfully.  Think about your words and think about what you want this pleasant, sleepy little town to look like in the future.

Be civil, this is Bay Village. 

Colleen Harding

President of The Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol.   I am a member St Raphael Women's Guild, Friends of the Westside Catholic Center and The Avon Oaks Women's Golf Association.

I live in Bay Village with my husband and 3 children.   

Read More on Readers' Opinions
Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 10:25 AM, 11.02.2021