The witches and ghosts will fly on Halloween next Wednesday, and they won't be alone.

Due to various familial needs, I will also fly off to retirement and Hilltop Community Center will have a new coordinator. I have no doubt that the center will be in good hands and that the coordinator will work with all of you even better than I have.

No one is irreplaceable, and every business needs new blood from time to time.

I know that as the years have flown by for me, I have probably missed doing a lot of things for the center and the public that uses it. New approaches to things may be needed and I support and applaud whatever can be done to improve services.

Hilltop is a wonderful old lady who needs plenty of care and consideration and I hope you, as the community it was built for, will help to make positive new changes.

When I first walked through the halls of the old Hilltop T.B. Sanitarium, it was a mess of deterioration. The floors were slippery with wet slime, the ceiling tiles were moldy and falling and the screens on all the sitting porches had been torn off by hurricanes. Windows had been used for target practice by kids for years, and yet, the group of concerned citizens that it belonged to could see possibilities galore for what was basically a very sound structure.

We managed, after many meeting in the Nueces County Commissioners Court, to convince the commissioners and then-Judge Robert Barnes to allow us to have one wing of the old building, which we willingly accepted with no air conditioning or heat and only one clerk and one maintenance man.

I helped the clerk to recognize needs for the center and the public with my community development training in the Peace Corps. When the clerk left after about a year, I applied for the job so I could see many of the possibilities and my ideas take fruition.

As I sat in my Hilltop office for the first time on the day after Labor Day in 1981, the phone was silent and there were only three groups willing to meet in spite of the lack of amenities. The parking lot was scrubby and certainly big enough for the few cars using it every day.

Of course, the center has blossomed thanks to all the support it has received over the years. It took years just to get a decent roof over the front wing, and then many more years to see the renovations and remodeling turn it into a county hub of activity.

I am proud to say that my many visions have resulted in packed rooms and parking lots and, of course, in the additions to the parks around it.

I will be sad to lose the daily contact I've been privileged to have with all of you over the years.

However, I do not intend to leave this area permanently. This is home, even though I'm needed elsewhere now. Thank you all for a wonderful ride.

Beverly Brock lives in Northwest Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at (361) 241-3754 or via email at mizbev01@aol.com.