When my husband, Ned, and I determined that it was finally time to move back "home" to German Village, it was very clear where we wanted to land.

When my husband, Ned, and I determined that it was finally time to move back "home" to German Village, it was very clear where we wanted to land.

We would be returning with a very active, very frisky Springer spaniel who made no bones about her need to flex her muscles and run with the wind (pardon the pun). We were blessed with good luck and timing. When an old acquaintance's home across from Schiller Park became available, we jumped at the chance.

Having lived in German Village in the early 1970s, we were familiar with the park, but rediscovering all it had to offer was wonderful. Our neighbors around the park feel a special responsibility for its beauty and safety and at the same time, a camaraderie towards the many activities that occur in our front yard daily.

Schiller Park has been used for years as a gathering place for picnics, softball and strolling with friends. On a beautiful spring or fall day, the park is filled with activity, skates, bicycles, people walking and, wonderfully, children, lots of children.

It used to be said that young couples fly to the suburbs when they start their families, but not so much anymore. The stroller brigade is out in full array. And thanks to a play group of young moms 20 to 30 years ago, there is a playground available for little ones. After so many years, the area is in need of some updating and refreshing, and this current generation of parents may use the model of the past to bring forth improvements. With all this activity, trash and litter are inevitable. But Ned can often be seen with gloves on his hands, picking up and discarding refuse.

In 1971, when we were first married and living on City Park Avenue, a group of us decorated an old purple Spitzer Dodge as a float and drove around the park celebrating the Oktoberfest. I dressed as the "Munchner Kindl," a mascot of the Oktoberfest who is often seen holding a beer mug in one hand and a radish in the other.

The Oktoberfest is no longer in the village, but there are still many activities happening around the park each year. Among them are the Columbus Marathon, when I stand in my front yard passing out water, and Halloween, when we pass out hundreds of pieces of candy and decorate our homes to frighten and delight children from all over the city. Village Lights is one more event that has become a beautiful tradition. Luminaries are lit all over the village, but never more beautifully than around, and in, Schiller Park.

Schiller Park is also a mecca for dogs, of all shapes and sizes. Often, the name of the dog is more familiar than that of the owner. Occasionally the owners could benefit from training, but generally, the dog community is friendly and considerate. Our dog, Kicky, thinks the park belongs to her. She believes that other dogs must answer to her, and most even do. The annual pet parade, started by Fred Holdridge, is a reflection of the animal-friendly Schiller Park. Animals of all kinds prance, strut, crawl and creep across the stage and compete for the grand prize.

German Village is the only place Ned and I wish to live, and every part has its own beauty and charm. Of course, the people are really what make this wonderful community "home." When we look at our front window, our window to the world, we are thankful every day.

Josie Merkle and her husband, Ned, live on Jaeger Street in German Village.