In my coastal town, violent nor'easters, hurricanes, storms, and flooding crash at our back door. Along with these spectacular occurrences, come the damage. As long as I can remember, there has been a mural painted on the sea wall by one of the entrances to Scituate's Minot Beach which is very special to me. It shows two lifeguards standing side by side, and I can remember posing with it when I was young. Time and storms had taken a toll on the mural, and noticeable holes began to form in the concrete. The once bold and colorful paint had begun to fade and could be chipped away with an easy scratch of the finger. Minot Beach's landmark was in desperate need of repair.
The repainting of the mural was suggested to me by a friend of my family, so I suggested it to my friend. We both agreed and her mom even volunteered to help. We began asking different hardware and paint stores until one finally agreed to donate the paint. After rummaging around in the back room filled with all different colors of paint samples, we took what we needed with great thanks to the manager of the store. After tracing the dull lines of the mural, and then sadly chipping the lifeguards away, we were ready to paint. I experienced the weirdest feeling while slowly scraping away the remains of the mural, but was relieved of the sadness when thinking of the new design and ideas for the future version.
Day after day, we would meet and talk to many curious people with questions of what we were doing, why we were painting it, the history of the mural, and who the previous painter was. We were even honored to meet the original painter's brother, who had been ordered to investigate our actions! We would often also be interrupted by people thanking us, and commenting on how they had been wondering if anyone would repair the mural. It felt good to realize this mural was also special and important to many of the other citizens of Minot.
While we were completing our mission we came across some bumpy roads, but kept on going. Often we would leave the unfinished painting feeling frustrated and wishing we had never agreed to complete the challenging work of restoring the mural.
The mural looked better every day. I would often stop and stare at the painting, surprised by our own work. The last few days people watching gave nod of approval and admiration. When the last finishing touches were made, we both proudly signed our names and the date, hoping the mural would not need painting for many years!
This community service project was very enjoyable. I had fun working for the community, and helping replace our beach's mural. Now, every time I walk or drive by the two lifeguards, once again side by side, it feels good to say "I did that!" fl
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.