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Morgan Hill
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December 11, 2023

Letter: An epitaph for earlier times

This is an epitaph for a time of life before. A time of life when we could take our children downtown to an event and get their faces painted and ride tiny rides and eat popcorn, corn dogs and barbecue and listen to live music and dance around being silly.

I never would have imagined writing this epitaph when a small group from the Morgan Hill Downtown Association joined together in our office above what was then the Coffee Roasting Club in the 1980s to start the Taste of Morgan Hill. An event that was developed to focus on our unique restaurants downtown and Morgan Hill craftspeople, it was special and low key, one could almost say intimate. 

We loaded up the stroller and walked our girls downtown. Everybody in town was there. And then four years ago we walked downtown with our granddaughters! It was wonderful, a time to see everyone, an end of the summer! 

Our worries then were of the first rain of the season, not having enough porta potties, the trash not getting picked up and maybe that guy in the beer booth getting too drunk again and giving away beer to his friends. At the time, that last issue generated a lot of discussion.

The Mushroom Mardi Gras had been in place for a while, but it was really a different type of event and was not downtown then. It was at The Flying Lady. A long dead quirky and fun restaurant and aviation museum of sorts. 

Who would’ve imagined that we would need security other than a security guard walking around overnight eventually just to make sure no one took anything from any of the craft booths. Actually, we had a booth downtown once and someone stole my son-in-law‘s bicycle. That was a shock!

As I write this epitaph, I am very sad. I don’t see a way out. I don’t see that there is a next year, there can’t be a next year because things have changed. It’s not just that we have a fear of there being a shooting. There was a shooting in Gilroy at the Garlic Festival, one of the most iconic events in the state of California. 

Someone on Next Door asked, “Why is this happening? Why is the city not allowing this?”

It is our culture; and our culture has changed and we have become more isolated. As we become more separated from each other, we lose our connections and our ability to understand that people are different, and that we should celebrate those differences and learn from each other. 

Now, we have separation, anger and guns and we don’t have the Garlic Festival, the Mushroom Mardi Gras and the Taste of Morgan Hill. What is next, the Fourth of July parade? Symbol of our independence? How ironic we lose our safety, we lose our independence, we lose our community. 

Lesley Miles

Morgan Hill

Please leave a comment


  1. Thank you for this article Leslie. An epitaph is written in the memory of someone or something that has died. Could this be? We would come to Morgan Hill to enjoy these amazing small town events and then moved here because we wanted to live is this beautiful place. It’s still beautiful but changing with the times. We did have the Wine stroll and it went well I heard. So that’s something I guess. Their gonna do the Mushroom concert charging 75.00 per person and that’s ok but not a family event. I see a pattern of some sort. Events that aren’t family friendly. Weird. Concerts bring in people from out of town as does the Wine stroll so I guess good $$$ for restaurants so I’m sure that’s why these events happen. Priorities for sure. I will miss these amazing family events with the food booths and artists. 💕

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