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Celebration of Reginald Willey Day and its relevance to this particular moment

a photograph of three children wearing very square top hats

Children, I am glad that Reginald Willey is long dead because he would be appalled at the sorry excuse for cardboard top hats you have constructed this year. Have some pride in craft and in your community.

On this Leap Day, as we do every Leap Day, we celebrate the life of town founder Reginald Willey, born this day. On this special day, I gaze out the window of the mayor’s office and am struck by how beautiful this town appears, but also how temporary, how vulnerable that beauty actually is. As the children pass below dressed as Reginald Willey, holding tightly to their cardboard top hats—which, honestly, could be better—I am reminded how quickly things in this town often change.

For wasn’t it Reginald Willey, in both his writing and his keen understanding of community, that first asked us to reckon with how powerful that sense of change can be, as it upends, overturns, and disintegrates the very things we come to rely upon? Isn’t Willey’s greatest lesson that we must seize the moment to find joy in those around us, in this grand community we have built, while we still can?

As someone who was unreasonably and forcibly removed from the position to which she had been democratically elected six times, I am certain there are those citizens in our community—especially certain members of the Town Council—who would expect me to be bitter, to be contemptuous, to be spending this Reginald Willey Day plotting my revenge instead of celebrating Willey and all his contributions.

And those citizens would be right.

For while I celebrate the incredible achievements of Reginald Willey today, know that for the disloyal, repugnant few who sought my dismissal, a time of reckoning will soon be at hand. I will act at a time of my own choosing, but when I act, you will know. And you will regret.

I am deeply grateful to those citizens who supported me over the last challenging week including Violet Bookman, Iris Englebrecht, and Officer Ron Dublowski. Each of you make me proud to live in a town such as this.

To those that supported me through the hastily-assembled petition, I thank you, even if it seems that some of you signed out of some sort of misguided form of self-entertainment, and not out of a sense of civic duty. But certainly there are those among us who hold their civic duty dear, as Reginald Willey did.

And on this Reginald Willey Day, look up from your own self-interest for once, and celebrate what it means to be a part of a community, a town, and a place as singular as Question Mark. As Reginald Willey once said:

Question Mark, Oh Question Mark.

Posted by Mayor Elizabeth Zisk on February 29, 2024