Thursday, 8 November 2018
The drive seems longer than it has to because CT Public Radio has spotty coverage around the state. They've got repeaters in four or five places around the state, but I end up spending a moderate amount of time picking voices out of static or not finding a station at all. I would have thought folks in CT would be educated and more interested in public radio programming than this indicates. Oh well. I'm just visiting.
My plan for the 4 hours without the dogs was to head to Marlborough, a village where my husband Pete was born and raised. I visited there once or twice with him in the '80s and I was curious if his house was still there.
My itinerary took me along state routes through small old towns and villages. Scotland was the newest, incorporated in 1857. Windham was the oldest, incorporated in 1692, which was a while ago. There I found that I could not only travel on back roads but there was actually a road named "Back Road," and if I went down it I'd find Beaver Brook Pond.
Canterbury, where the day care is, was incorporated in 1703. I drove through Lisbon, 1786, and Columbia, 1804. You can tell where original settlers were from by the place names.
Marlborough itself dates back to 1803, and I feel confident Pete would never recognize the place. When he lived there in the '40s and early '50s, it was so rural he and his siblings went to a one-room schoolhouse. The family had so few neighbors that Pete was able to hunt small game in the surrounding area, even as a child.
The family was poor; Pete was born at the tail end of the Depression, the 5th of 6 children. His father worked at a bell foundry; his mother lived for her version of fundamentalist Christianity. Their house burned down to the ground when Pete was young and, not being able to afford rebuilding, the family converted their barn into a dwelling; Pete's mother still lived there when I visited in the '80s. Reasonably, that building is gone now, replaced by a very nice-looking ordinary house surrounded by neighbors.
I stopped for lunch at a little restaurant in town that had a "pizza" sign, but I was so early, everybody there was still eating breakfast (served all day). But I'd been up since soon after 2 AM, so by 11:00 I was ready for lunch. They not only agreed to make me a pizza but also to serve me a beer to go with it.
I'd never heard of this beer before but saw a sign they had saying it's from America's Oldest Brewery, so thought it worth a try. It was pretty good. From Pennsylvania. Sorry I missed it when I was there in April.
And the pizza was great. It's been a long time since I had one that wasn't Lean Cuisine, so this was a real treat.
Along my rural route, I passed a sign for Easter Seals Camp Hemlocks and looked it up later out of curiosity. www.easterseals.com/ It sounds like something wonderful for the people with various disabilities.
I went through Willimantic and was seriously surprised by its trademark frog bridge.
Connecticut state routes have something I've never seen before: curbs. These aren't city streets or interstates. They're 2-lane rural roads, and they all seem to have curbs. Now this is actually a big nuisance for me, because it makes it almost impossible for me to just pull over to let other cars go by. I'd be having to mount a curb to get off the road and mount it again to get back on, and I'm certain I'd have problems keeping the RV from tipping over at least once (once is too often). And I can't for the life of me figure out why they do this. It doesn't seem to be for funneling storm water into a drain. They aren't high enough to prevent erosion of the land next to the road. I can't see a function.
I found myself on several real hills, with signs on 2 of them warning of a 9% grade. This is eastern CT, too, nowhere near the Berkshires or anything.
I heard a disturbing story on CT Public Radio about prejudice against blacks in Vermont. Here I'd been thinking nice thoughts about VT, but there's apparently some very bad feeling there. A black woman who has been serving in the VT legislature resigned recently because of the very serious and very ugly threats against her and her family. Their incarceration rate is off the charts compared to their percentage in the population. Very unpleasant.
Among luminaries from Connecticut that are mentioned on roadway signs, count the following: George W. Bush in New Haven https://www.nytimes.com; Walt Kelly, creator of "Pogo" in Bridgeport; Al Capp, creator of "Li'l Abner" also in Bridgeport; Katharine Hepburn in Old Saybrook; Roger Tory Peterson, preeminent bird watcher, in Old Lyme.
Both dogs did well today, maybe partly because the day care didn't have that many dogs there. I've noticed that before. If you ever want your dog to have extra attention at a day care, take them on a Thursday. I've seen that at every day care I've been to, and it apparently holds true here too. They told me Gracie seemed nervous so they kept my 2 dogs together most of the time, but I'm guessing it's because it was all new to her, and that she'll relax over time. I'll take them back on Monday and we'll see.