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Monday, December 17, 2012

A note to a few high school friends

(You know who you are) 

We went to school in Trumbull… twenty minutes from Newtown, Connecticut, during a more innocent time (although our parents might raise an eyebrow at that statement).

Fights were rare, and when they happened, they were fought with words, and sometimes fists.  If any of us had touched a gun it was likely a BB gun or a .22 rifle for 'plinking' cans and bottles in the woods.

We used to drive up to Newtown in the summertime to swim, camp and occasionally water ski at Lake Lillinonah.  We'd sometimes stop on the way up at a little shack called 'Ray's Liquor Locker' to get a cold sixpack or two… or we'd go to a quiet little towny bar near the town hall there where they didn't 'card' high school kids who wanted to share a pitcher of beer on a hot evening… so long as we minded our manners.

Now, my friends, we're all over 50, and have mostly forgotten about those summer trips up to Newtown.

At least until this past Friday, that is.

When I think back on Newtown of the late '70s, I think of quiet; of old trees and older houses… and a flagpole planted right in the middle of Main Street, letting all who visited know that patriotism is central to the town's self-identity.

Newtown

Nearly every time I take my family back to the US for a visit, I make time to take a quiet ride by myself up to Newtown.  I tell my wife (and myself) that it's to browse the consignment and antique shops (which, in part it is). 

But I also like to drive alone through the leafy town and surrounding countryside because it is a rare chance to revisit an unspoiled setting of my youth that hasn't been paved over or developed into sprawling malls. 

And it is a reminder of what small town New England is… or was.

It's funny, you know.  We thought we understood everything back then; and that the grown-ups understood nothing.

It turns out we were right. 

Because I'm a grown-up now… and I don't understand anything.

Posted by David Bogner on December 17, 2012 | Permalink

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Wish I had written it; a very fine post.

Posted by: Ellis | Dec 17, 2012 3:07:09 PM

yes. we know who we are.
this week we are all family.

our ties to this area are strong.
our son went to daycare at the adjoining complex.
both my wife and i worked down the street from this school. in fact she still works for a company from newtown. we believe a former workmate from this company has a child on 'that list'
the school these kids will temporarily use is my son's middle school.

we've since moved a town or two away.
a town where one of the teachers lived. who worshipped at church i can see from my backyard.
we are all family today.

Posted by: weese | Dec 17, 2012 3:34:41 PM

As another former Trumbull resident, this tragedy hits especially close to home.

We have got to find a way to do a better job of identifying and treating these people with mental illness - ticking time bombs - before, rather than after, a tragedy. My heart breaks...

Posted by: Elisson | Dec 17, 2012 7:17:25 PM

It is heartbreaking and mind boggling.

Posted by: Josh | Dec 17, 2012 11:59:42 PM

The degrees of separation of knowing someone from there, or worse, who lost a child is staggering. One of the children killed, is a relative of a former co-worker of mine. Words just can't describe it. I think what hurts me the most is the thought of how scared those children must have been and helpless.

Posted by: J | Dec 18, 2012 8:41:32 AM

My daughter just turned seven.

And that's as far as my brain is going on that particular train of thought.

May G-d protect all the innocent children of the world.

Posted by: psachya | Dec 18, 2012 2:30:20 PM

numbed by it all. It scares me that the facts of this tragedy simply won't sink in. I simply cannot comprehend the magnitude of it Since the Beslan siege, it feels like the world has gone mad.

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Dec 18, 2012 7:36:23 PM

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