A Glendora Icon Has Passed - RIP Mark in the Park
Okay, so growing up in Glendora, CA was such a HUGE blessing. I can't even tell you what a difference a community makes in people's lives. In fact it's taken me about a week to write this post and I'm still very emotional about it.
Sometime in my elementary school days, you know, about the time you start to REALLY remember things, I met a guy around town named Mark. He was everywhere and knew everyone. He knew your parents, he knew your kids, and I don't believe Mark ever knew a stranger. and if he didn't want to know you, he wanted to.
Some people didn't know how to take Mark exactly. He would just come up and stand there looking at you and waiting for you to say something. You see, Mark had suffered some brain damage from oxygen deprivation. But he was awesome and lovable and almost angelic.
Mark was everywhere, he rode his bike. He had many bikes over the course of the years and sometimes they were even stolen. His response, "Oh well, they needed my bike more than me". He was in the local Ralphs while it was still there, then it was Vons and Starbucks. And the people of Glendora took care of Mark. They would buy him lunch at Maria's, they would give him free breakfast in their restaurants. In fact at his funeral, his sister laughed and reminded everyone that he DID have a refridgerator!) And all throughout his service, people kept telling stories and saying he was well taken care of.
But for me, it was Mark who took care of us. He was there to listen, he was there to talk and he was there to remind you that what you were doing wasn't quite right, even if only by his presence. He was such an example of unconditional love to everyone he came in contact with. And I, for one, already miss him dearly.
This was shown on the people who came from far and wide to his funeral. There were people who had long ago moved out of Glendora who showed up and shared their stories. And out of the nearly 200 people who attended the Monday evening service, I think almost 1/2 shared a tidbit about how Mark touched their lives. The priest even commented on how he usually didn't have very many people sharing and it was usually like pulling teeth.
Anyway, coming back to the people of Glendora... I know that Mark flourished because of the people. Because of their acceptance of someone who was a little bit different. Because the people of Glendora are accepting and caring and family oriented. There is no better place to raise your kids or to be a kid than the City of Glendora.