By Meg Walburn Viviano
I was a Sesame Street kid. Like so many toddlers over the past 51 years (yes, 51!) I was put in front of the TV daily with my blankie and a sippy cup of milk to watch Sesame Street. I learned my ABCs and 123s from brightly-colored Muppets who sing and dance.
Over its five decades, the longest-running children’s TV show has produced dozens of renditions of one particular musical number: the song “The People in Your Neighborhood.” It asks, Who are the people in your neighborhood/ The people that you meet each day? and introduces kids to community workers ranging from the aspirational (firefighter, doctor, pilot) to the sometimes overlooked (crossing guard, window washer, exterminator).
As we put together this issue of CBM Bay Weekly, I found that catchy tune running through my head. (If you’d like to reminisce, the original performance from 1969 and several more versions are posted on YouTube.) This week’s paper spotlights many of the “people in your neighborhood” of Chesapeake Country—from outright life-saving heroes to folks who quietly do the jobs that afford us a good quality of life.
Recently a reader reached out to us to tell us about his community’s plan to celebrate National Garbage Man Appreciation Day. Never heard of it? The concept is simple, but rarely executed. How often do you see a neighborhood invite their trash collectors to a pizza party? When did you last engage your own trash collector in conversation, or ask about his or her job? We’re proud to report from Edgewater on a group of neighbors who did just that.
Another group of unsung heroes: the organizations who go out on the water at least once a week to check that it’s safe for us to go swimming. Hunting for fecal bacteria isn’t glamorous, but the information those crews gather could save local beach-goers, boaters and watersport enthusiasts from illness. In Bay Bulletin, we show you how to get the latest updates on your nearby waterway.
Perhaps the most inspiring “people in your neighborhood” are the eight teenage boys who spent the pandemic not playing video games, not goofing around on TikTok, but working towards the rank of Eagle Scout. It’s a title that is earned through years of service to the community, and most Scout troops only see one or two members persevere to that level. In Anne Arundel County, all eight seniors at the same high school became Eagle Scouts—gaining leadership skills and investing their time in service to their communities and the Chesapeake Bay environment.
I have no idea whether any of these impressive young men were Sesame Street kids. But it’s clear that the value of contributing to their community was instilled in each of them at a young age. At Bay Weekly, we’re happy to shed light on the people in your neighborhood, making it better each day.