Ginger Landini steps out of her car at the intersection of Stow and Everett streets in Concord. It’s 3:15 p.m., and Alcott School is about to let out.
Landini is one of the town’s six crossing guards, and this week marks the end of a 47-year career controlling traffic at the beginning and end of the school day.
She got into the job because her husband, Paul, was a Concord police officer.
“The police chief at the time asked us policemen’s wives if we wanted to be crossing guards,” said Landini. “I couldn’t see leaving, not with four kids.”
Landini is dressed in a police uniform with a bright yellow vest so that she can be seen by approaching drivers. “It’s only my second uniform,” she said.
‘She is a . . . great addition to the town. She is a role model for the kids.’
She dons white cotton gloves that appear frayed at the edges.
“You can’t buy these anymore, because people don’t wear them to church,” she said.
Her first corner was in West Concord at the intersection of Main and West streets, serving the Thoreau School.
“I was petrified at first, standing in the middle of Main Street,” said Landini. “But it’s fun. It’s like you are not working. It becomes part of your day.”
She was trained in hand gestures to direct traffic. First she stops the children gathering at a street corner; then she stops the cars to allow the kids to cross the street.
“Traffic has increased dramatically over the past few years and the crossing guards have to be more knowledgeable about it,” said safety Officer Kevin Monahan. He said Landini is one of the best.
“She is a wonderful person and a great addition to the town,” said Monahan. “She is wonderful with the kids, the pedestrians, and the bicyclists in getting those kids across the streets to school. She is a role model for the kids.”
He said about 100 kids ride a bike, a skateboard, or a scooter to school each day, and in the 12 years he has worked in Concord, he said there has not been a single accident involving a car and a child walking to or from school.
“It’s a great record,” said Monahan.
Twice a day, five days a week, Landini stands in the middle of the four-way stop at Stow and Everett. As children approach the corner, she holds up her gloved hands, and when all cars and buses stop, she ushers the kids across with a friendly word to each one. She inquires after moms and dads, brothers and sisters, or how a school project worked out.
“I’ve crossed kids who are now parents, and their children,” said Landini.
Sometimes, she said children who feel they are “too old to be crossed” hide in the bushes until she goes back to her car.
She is surprised at how many parents who live so close to the Alcott drive their kids to school. “Some parents live three or four houses down,” said Landini.
She said she tries to take down the license numbers of cars that speed or do not stop, but sometimes she can’t remember long enough to call the information in to police.
Police Officer Kevin Walsh stopped by to talk to Landini this week, and said the department follows up by calling the car owners that Landini reports.
“It’s made me a better driver,” she said.
On Tuesday afternoon, after Landini’s last shift, the Police Department will hold a reception for her on the third floor of the Concord Police Department.