Saturday, January 9, 2010

Connecticut - January 9, 1788

I've been through Connecticut many times, but don't visit there much. Our family drives to Maryland several times a year and rest stops in Connecticut are well known to us. James works with colleagues at Central Connecticut State University in New Britan on a Brazilan/U.S. student exchange program and I once gave a presentation at the New England Faculty Development Consortium Conference at UCONN in Storrs.We also saw a great Picasso exhibit in Connecticut several years ago. I can't remember which museum it was though.  We will be making a pilgrimage to Bridgewater, Connecticut sometime in the furture though for our Bridgewaters Project blog.

I read a memoir for my Connecticut book, Girls of a Tender Age by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith. Smith writes of growing up with an austic brother (before there was even a name for autism) in the 1950s in a gritty working class neighborhood in Hartford. Her mother worked in an insurance office long before being a "working mother" was cool. Even when she was very young she was often left in charge of her brother, who was several years older than she. Woven throughout the the book is the story of Robert Malm, who would eventually rape and murder one of Smith's fifth-grade classmates. The description of the class learning that their classmate would not be back to school is haunting. They are told simply not to talk about her, and they all watch as her desk is removed and then rearrange their own desks to fill in the void.

I remember once in high school, in 1980, seeing the name of a student who had been arrested for murdering another student the week before on the list of daily absences, as if he were just out sick for the day. Our principal as well had simply told us he didn't want us talking abou it. The accused never did return to school. I do not know what happened to him. Smith and I both realize that this sort of thing wouldn't happen today. Counselors would be brought in.
The best thing about Smith's book is that it is lousy with library references. There are at least 10, including one on the acknowlegements page, and one analogy in which she mentions her "brain as a card catalog...the old fashioned kind...a mahogony cabinet with twenty-five little drawers." The copy of the book I read was autographed by the author, inscribed "To the Swansea Public Library From a former Peace Corp Volunteer/Librarian."

I had never heard of the game setback before I read the book, but according to Tirone Smith it is  a "native Connecticut" game

Likewise, I had never seen the Yuletide classic Christmas in Connecticut (1945) before. A comedy of errors about a Martha Stewart-equse columnist (Barbara Stanwyck) trying to create the perfect New England holiday. Watching the opening credits I was reminded of the opening of Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life - the fonts and artwork, indeed the feel of reading a Christmas cards, were all the same. Although predictable, I enjoyed watching this. I tend to overanalyze movies, so I had a lot of questions about this one, especially once the police were brought in, too unbelievalble that more questions weren't asked - a fun movie nonetheless. I understand there is a remake with Dyan Cannon made in 1992, and another is in the works for release in 2012.

I supped on classic homemade corn chowder today made with corn I froze over the summer from my CSA farm box. It also had potatoes, onions, garlic, basil, and parsley.Quite delicious. In honor of the "nutmeg state" I drank a bit of hot chocolate sprinkled with nutmeg for dessert.

1 comment:

  1. I know this about nutmeg: the lethal dose is twice the psychoactive dose. The psych professor who told us this would not tell us the doses, though, probably suspecting our motives. I wonder if our friends in the Nutmeg State have any insight on this important question.