While I enjoyed Tony Beadell’s skillfully written letter regarding Ephraim’s April 5th ballot referendum on first time sale of wine and beer, and I like his comment that, “Life in Ephraim today is the collective wisdom of thousands of villagers over multiple generations,” I don’t entirely agree.
I do see collective wisdom in the Ephraim Historical Foundation’s decision NOT to take a stand on this issue as the referendum was initiated by a petition and signed by enough Ephraim voters to be placed directly on the ballot without involvement from the Village Board.
This summer will be my 76th summer in Ephraim. Growing up during the ’40s and ’50s, there were places to shop for groceries. I remember shopping with my mother at the Anderson Store, Brookside Tea Garden, and Sohns’ Market. Lapps’ Bakery used to be at the top of our road.
In those days, summer residents were able to join hotel guests in hotel dining rooms for Sunday dinners. In his home next to Wilson’s, Dr. Sneeburger delivered babies and tended the wounds of cherry pickers. Movies, mail, the library and a barber created activity in the old Village Hall, and a convenience store and a gas station were next door.
One of my favorite things to do is to give walking tours for the Ephraim Historical Foundation. Among the questions I’ve been asked are: Where do you go to buy groceries? Can you get a haircut, a head of lettuce, or a ball of twine? Can you visit a doctor or share a nice dinner with the ambience provided by a glass of beer or wine? Well, yes, but not in Ephraim.
Recently, hours at the Ephraim Post Office were cut back. There are rumors that we may lose the post office as well as the library. What’s a community without these entities?
If collective wisdom is so powerful, and had it always been exercised, Ephraim might not have lost some of what it lacks today. I believe that complacency with things as they are can cause us not to see that we are in danger of becoming what is called a bedroom community. This is in contrast with an entity that provides jobs, that has essential services and places to interact … like Ephraim used to be.
Let’s go out to eat, not Wilson’s this time but a quiet place where we can relax with a glass of wine and talk about our village’s future. Where shall we go?
Ephraim, Wis., and Salt Lake City, Utah