“Dear Sidewalk People.”
That’s how 9-year-old Dahlia started her handwritten note placed under a rock along a city sidewalk hoping to get the attention of Ann Arbor’s crews slated to replace the slab she holds dear due to a distinctive feature.
This sidewalk has a heart.
“There is a heart in this block, and as me and my mom were walking home from school, we saw that there was an ‘R’ on the block that the heart is on,” reads the girl’s note, placed next to where she made a heart-shaped chalk outline around a small cavity in the slab the city has marked with an R to replace.
“You see, the heart is not just a heart,” wrote Dahlia, “Ever since I was little, I said hi to the heart. Don’t you see how much it means to me? Every time I pass the heart, I say hi and it brings me joy.”
Her father confirmed his daughter indeed says “hi, heart” every time she passes it. When she heard the city was going to replace the slab with the heart, Dahlia said she was devastated and cried.
“So can you please leave it or at least cut around the heart, for me to pick up on my way to school,” she wrote, ending her note by thanking the city’s repair crews for their work to keep sidewalks safe and encouraging them to give her note an extra read so it makes sense.
A spokesperson for the city’s public services unit did not have an immediate response on whether the sidewalk slab could be saved or whether the heart-shaped part could be salvaged for Dahlia to take.
While Dahlia really wanted to keep the heart sidewalk, her father said the family understands the need to fix it so people don’t trip and has talked with her about it.
“We compared it to the Halloween pumpkin she really loved and wanted to keep,” he said. “We told her we could keep it, but we could watch how when a pumpkin dies it helps nature by becoming part of something new.”
In that case, they put the pumpkin in their garden and Dahlia visited it every day and watched it decay, and in the spring she watched as flowers sprung up. She got to see her pumpkin again in the form of flowers.
As for her well-crafted sidewalk note, her father said while only 9, Dahlia is an amazing writer and gives him and his wife daily gems of wisdom worthy of the wisest, aged writers.
“sometimes the people who walk softly make the deepest impressions…”
source credit: ryan stanton, mlive, ann arbor