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NEWS&VIEWS by Jacqueline Bennett

Unless You’re A New Englander It’s Hard to Fathom …

Posted on September 26, 2016

South Windsor CT

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett South Windsor CT

By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com

 

Unless you are a New Englander it may be hard to fathom the sheer joy that accompanies the first chill in the air with the arrival of each autumn. When I opened my front door the past two mornings and this morning around 5 a.m., the welcome coolness was waiting. It left me feeling refreshed, as if a new beginning could be just around the corner.

 

Autumn 2016 made its debut on Thursday, September 22, and Connecticut could not have asked for a more perfect first fall weekend. By Saturday and Sunday crisp temperatures meant it was time to pull on favorite sweatshirts, from my L.L.Bean deep green zip front to heavy hoodies that were being worn.

 

Unless you are a New Englander it may be hard to fathom the sheer joy that accompanies the sight of an autumn pumpkin patch. Driving the back roads through Ellington, East Windsor and Enfield this weekend we took turns commenting on the beauty of the days. At times we silently took in familiar autumnal sights – touches of early leaf color here and there signaling a promise of the brilliance to come, local farm stands setting up apple baskets and pumpkin displays, an abundance of county fairs signs, and, a combination of rickety old red tractors and shiny new John Deere’s slowing down traffic as they hauled bundles of hay.

 

 

Unless you are a New Englander it may be hard to fathom the sheer joy that accompanies the satisfaction from accomplishing the hard, hard work which goes into chopping wood that will be used to warm homes in coming months. With the sight of neatly stacked wood piles comes too, anticipation of the first wood stove fire of the season and snuggling up next to it, under a handmade quilt with a good book and a mug of cider.

 

 

Welcome autumn!

“FIRST FOLIO!The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare” – Rare Collection at UConn

Posted on September 19, 2016

. "To be or not to be..."

 “To be or not to be…”

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com

 

An extraordinary opportunity awaits at the William Benton Museum on the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus. Through September 25, visitors can view a first collected edition, published in 1623, of plays by William Shakespeare in the exhibit, “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare”.  Admission is free.

 

In recognition of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. has sent “First Folio” on a national tour making a stop at one site in each state. UConn was the distinguished selection for the Connecticut stop.

 

Of the 233 copies known today, 82 belong to the Folger,” states a synopsis of the event.

FIRST FOLIO on display at the Benton Museum.

FIRST FOLIO on display at the Benton Museum.

 

Phrases used used in language today were written by William Shakespeare.

Phrases used today were written by William Shakespeare.

 

 

Without First Folio, the works of Shakespeare it is feared may have been lost. Thus this volume is considered “one of the most famous books in history.”

 

As was noted, phrases not only still common but as well still relevant in the English language today were penned by Shakespeare. Known as “the Bard” Shakespeare is arguably the world’s most famous playwright, and likely the most quoted.

 

 

 

 At ‘The Benton’, Shakespeare lovers will undoubtedly be fascinated to see First Folio opened to a page displaying one of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes from “Hamlet” – ‘to be or not to be’. It can be seen on the right side of the book and is the opening line for the first paragraph on the left column.

 

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In an adjacent room of ‘The Benton’ the exhibit continues with the theme the “Culture of Shakespeare”. There costumes that 036exemplify clothing typical of Shakespearean times can be viewed.032033

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The William Benton Museum of Art, 245 Glenbrook Road, #2140 Storrs, CT 860-486-4520. Admission is free; donations are appreciated. 

For more information go to  shakespeare.uconn.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALSO –

In connection with the visit of First Folio to UConn,  the university planned a number of programs and activities. Among the participants was the university’s renown puppetry program. As part of a festival celebrating the town of Mansfield, on Sunday September 18 Shakespearean puppets created for the First Folio event were being shown outside the Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry in Storrs Center. 008

Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?

Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?

"When shall we three meet again?"

“When shall we three meet again?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windsor “Walk of Light” Commemorates 15th Anniversary of 9/11

Posted on September 12, 2016

"Walk of Light" in Windsor, Connecticut September 11, 2016.

“Walk of Light” in Windsor, Connecticut September 11, 2016.

 

On the steps of Windsor CT Town Hall honoring the fallen of 9/11.

On the steps of Windsor CT Town Hall honoring the fallen of 9/11.

By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com

 

A large crowd filled the Windsor, Connecticut Town Green Sunday night, September 11, 2016 where a 15th Anniversary “Walk of Light” and commemorative ceremony honored victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks against America. Nearly 3000 luminaries lined the historic town green, inscribed and decorated, representing each individual who lost his or her life due to the attacks.

 

Four hijacked planes attacked the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and one aimed at Washington D.C. was downed in Pennsylvania.

 

Fred Kuo at the podium.

Fred Kuo at the podium.

Despite his still palpable grief, speaker Fred Kuo chose to focus on “gifts of kindness” associated with that day. Director of Experiential Learning and Associate Director of Alumni & Parent Relations at Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Kuo’s father – also named Fred – was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.

 

At the time, although Kuo was new to a job at Merrimack College, he recalled a series of kindnesses showed to him by people there – from someone ushering a distraught Kuo into a campus chapel, to those who sat and talked with him, to friends in Windsor offering him a place to stay overnight on his return trip to his family home on Long Island, N.Y., to three members of a fraternity at the college who insisted on riding back with Kuo. As well, Kuo spoke of the kindness showed to him by the college in allowing him time before returning to work and their understanding when he decided he wanted a job closer to home. Prior to coming to Loomis Chaffee, he took a position at Fairfield University in Connecticut which ultimately gave him the “gift of family”, he said. It was there that he met his wife and the couple now has three children. Rather than concentrating on the horrific tragedy of 9/11, Kuo said he thinks of the kindness shown to him which reflect a lesson, known to his Loomis Chaffee students, called “the common good”.

 

“There was a heightened feeling we were all in this together” he said, “I fear we are losing that.”

 

The pain of the loss of his father remains, added Kuo. At age 44, Kuo said, a third of his life has been spent without his father.

 

013Mayor Donald Trinks took the podium and reflected on why Windsor would be inclined to create the “Walk of Light”, not just on the 15th anniversary of 9/11 but on three previous anniversaries of the attacks. Each “Walk of Light” has been organized by Enita Jubrey, assistant to the town manager, with inscriptions and decoration done by Windsor students and community members.

 

004Windsor lost a resident in the Twin Towers attack, and three more people with close ties to the town – a number increased to four with the addition of Kuo’s father. Despite the connections to the event, Trinks said there is an overriding reason that Windsor hosts the “Walk of Light”.

Mayor Donald Trinks.

Mayor Donald Trinks.

 

 

“Why Windsor? Simply because we are a community that cares,” the mayor said. He noted the luminary bags were “created with love, originality and reverence.”

 

“As a resident and a ‘townie’, I could not be more proud of Windsor than I am tonight,” said Trinks.

 

The national anthem.

The national anthem.

Bob Bolasevich, town fire marshal, offered the firefighter tribute. He spoke movingly of the fallen firefighter’s tribute – “the tolling of the bells” – the bell tolling then ensued. Jordan Hunter, Shaneisia Bloomfield, Windsor High School alumni and Deja Russ, East Windsor sang the national anthem. Mike Noga, assistant chief of the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes and had also led the fire department honor guard onto the town green. Don Melanson, chief of police, served as master of ceremonies.

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In the closing benediction Pastor Nicole Yonkman of the First Church in Windsor spoke of both the literal and symbolic power of light.

 

She said, “The light shines through the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it”.

Seattle Seahawks To Stand for Unity

Posted on September 11, 2016

Seattle Sehawks will stand in unity during the national anthem at today's game.

Seattle Seahawks plan to stand in unity, arms locked, during the playing of the national anthem at today’s game.

 

By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com

 

When I was growing up my mother used to tell of how her father, my grandfather, would stand for the national anthem no matter where he was – even if he was in the house and it came over the radio. Mom loved to be on the go, so in the days of her waning health we tried to bring her as many places as possible. Among the last events we brought Mom to before she passed, was one of her beloved University of Connecticut football games. As is the custom, the national anthem was played prior to the start of the game – and Mom being Mom – she insisted on standing up from her wheelchair to honor America.

 

Pride in our national anthem runs deep in my family, as it does in most American families throughout the nation. When the anthem comes under fire it may sting – but fear not. Our country, our flag, our national anthem has withstood many a protest; as well as those who have tried to bring the U.S. down.

 

For every one person who sits or kneels, as a few National Football League players have done recently to protest what they say is racial injustice (including one Seahawks player), there will be a hundred more who stand in unity to solve our problems together. And on today of all days, the 9/11 anniversary of the terrorists attacks against America, standing together could not be more important.

 

Today during the Seattle Seahawks game the team is expected to stand together with arms locked during the playing of the “The Star Spangled Banner.”

 

Seahawks player Doug Baldwin who released the unity video for the team stated, ” We honor those who have fought for the freedom we cherish, and we stand to ensure the riches of freedom and security of justice for all people”. He added, “Progress can and will be made only if we stand together.”

 

Divided we fall – united we stand.

 

 

 

 

“Walk of Light” in Windsor, Connecticut to Commemorate 15th Anniversary of 9/11

Posted on September 9, 2016

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Photo by Jacqueline Bennett  The 15th anniversary “Walk of Light” 2016 will be held this Sunday in Windsor, Connecticut.

Write-Up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com (Photos from 2011)

 

009It is hard to believe that this Sunday will mark the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States. Among the commemorations being held across the country, the town of Windsor, Connecticut will host the “Walk of Light”.

 

"Walk of Light" 2011.

“Walk of Light” 2011.

In memory of the souls lost to the attack, approximately 3,000 paper luminaries will line the historic Windsor Town Green located in Windsor, Center. Decorated by local students and community members, each bag has been inscribed with the name of an individual whose life was taken. As dusk falls, glow sticks will illuminate the bags creating a seemingly endless flow of light spanning the green.

 

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Free and open to the public, the “Walk of Light” provides an opportunity to stroll the green and reflect. From 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. a ceremony will take place at the green to honor the “fallen heroes”. The green will remain illuminated until 9:00 p.m.

 

 

Enia Jubrey with students researching the victims of 9/11 in order to decorate luminaries for the 2011 "Walk of Light".
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Enita Jubrey with Windsor, Connecticut students researching the victims of 9/11 in order to decorate luminaries.

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This is not the only anniversary “Walk of Light” hosted by Windsor. Each one has been organized by Enita Jubrey, assistant to the town manager. Jubrey suggested the luminaries for the original tribute.

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Community members insert the glowsticks.

Community members insert the glow sticks.

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Community involvement has played a big role in each commemoration from researching the victims in order to decorate the luminary bags, to inserting the glow sticks on commemoration day.

 

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Closing of Howard Johnson’s in Bangor Maine Bittersweet

Posted on September 5, 2016

From HoJoLand.com

From HoJoLand.com

By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com

 

Another American cultural icon of the past is nearing extinction. On Wednesday, September 7, the last New England Howard Johnson’s restaurant located in Bangor, Maine is set to close. It is the second to last remaining in the United States, down from ‘HoJo’s’ “golden era” in the 1960s and 1970s when there were 1,000 across the country making it the largest restaurant chain in the country at that time, noted New England Living. The lone surviving restaurant is in Lake George, New York.

 

Howard Johnson restaurants have been fading from the landscape for years so what is so touching about the loss of the Bangor ‘HoJo’s’?

 

The Waitress

 It was a summer vacation in my youth when Dad, Mom, Candy, Debbie and I drove up to Bar Harbor – a beautiful little coastal town in Maine. We visited Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain, and strolled the seaport’s active downtown on a misty, cool evening; Candy and I walked behind Dad/Big Johnny, Mom/Nana and Deb, as Deb held Mom/Nana’s hand and snuggled up to her in the crisp nighttime air. By day we also checked out a lobster hut or two, then on the way home to Connecticut we pulled into a HoJo’s in Bangor for a late lunch.

 

To say it was busy is an understatement. A long line of vacationers had made a similar choice upon spotting the familiar orange roof, topped by a long, lean steeple typically adorned with a weathervane cupola. HoJo’s was a trusted place for America on the move in Chevys, Fords and Oldsmobiles. HoJo’s was a place to find reasonably priced and tasty family dining, particularly known for their frankfurters and beans, clam rolls and 28 flavors of ice cream plus sherbet. On this day at the Bangor HoJo’s the line was out the door and the wait for a table was more than 30 minutes. So the decision was to see if counter seats might open up more quickly. They did.

 

From Bangor, Maine HoJo's website.

From Bangor, Maine HoJo’s website.

Up stepped an extraordinarily personable and efficient waitress. Dad being Dad, it didn’t take long before he struck up a conversation with her. Back in the car, Dad and Mom commented about, despite how busy the restaurant was, the excellent service we had received. Regular readers of newsandviewsjb know that when he was growing up my father’s family owned and operated the Bennett Hotel in upstate New York. Having been reared in the hotel business, Dad was keenly aware of the importance to both management and workers of letting them know about exceptional employees.

Mom/Nana and Dad/Big Johnny.

Mom/Nana and Dad/Big Johnny.

 

Soon after we got home Dad composed a letter praising the waitress and the good service she had provided. A lefty, I can still visualize him sitting at the dining room table writing out a draft of the letter then proofread by Mom. Off the letter went. A few weeks had gone by when an envelope arrived in the mail with a Maine postmark and return address. It was a thank you from that waitress – Dad’s letter had meant so very much to her and was called to the attention of her bosses. For a number of years she and my parents exchanged Christmas cards.

 

Reported by the Associated Press, in the Boston Globe, on HoJoLand.com and in New England Living to name a few, news of the impending closing of the Bangor Howard Johnson’s has clearly struck a chord with many who recall HoJo restaurants as a part of Americana. For me, it conjured up a memory of a sweet vacation and the wonderful example of personal integrity set by my father.

 

There are more HoJo memories …

 

HoJo's Inn

From the HoJo’s Inn website – Tulsa To OK City.

Tulsa to Oklahoma City

My sister-in-law Jane and my brother John Jr. met when he was in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Texas. He fell in love with and married his Texas girl. Although they returned to Connecticut to live, John and his bride often drove down to Texas to visit Jane’s family still living there. Memorable for them – in addition to driving an 8-cylinder Ford and low gas prices – is what was a popular HoJo’s restaurant they were fond of stopping at, on a part of the ride from Tulsa to Oklahoma City along the Turner Turnpike.

 

“The Howard Johnson’s there had one of the first skywalks,” my brother recently recalled.

 

They would find a parking space on one side, then walk through the skywalk over to the restaurant. Although the restaurant has since closed, today a HoJo’s Inn is open there.

 

New Hampshire

Memorable too said John were the once plentiful New England HoJo’s restaurants that the entire family frequented on our sojourns from Connecticut to visit relatives in New Hampshire – particularly the one just before Tilton. And who could forget the HoJo motels, many of which are are still open. Most of the cousins, my sister and myself – really most of the family – have probably gone swimming in HoJo Inn pools along much of the northeast.

 

Even in Europe

Would you believe HoJo’s in Europe? Actually, John reminisced as well about a trip to Europe where the distinctive orange roof and cupola brand made famous by Howard Johnson’s came to mind. During the trip he and Jane took with their daughter Jillian, son-in-law Doyle and grandson Josh, they were struck by the orange rooftops salting the French countryside that reminded them of – Howard Johnson’s!

 

Aunt June

 

Another HoJo’s memory of mine involves my dad’s sister, my Aunt June. She lived in Stoneham, Massachusetts. After her husband died, my dad encouraged her to still get out and about. One her favorite spots was a nearby HoJo’s restaurant where she would go for lunch. It became our – first day – meeting place when we drove up from Connecticut to spend time with Aunt June.

 

Not Like Any HoJo’s I Remember!

 

191195This piece is not the first time I’ve mentioned Howard Johnson’s restaurants. Founded in New England by Howard Deering Johnson, their reputation and one-time dominance in New England was legendary. Depending on that reputation, one fateful morning in 2010 in Boston, my sisters Dixie and Candy, Mom/Nana, my nephew Mike and I thought we were headed for a HoJo’s breakfast and ended up with something quite different. It turned out the former HoJo’s had gone Chinese.

 

We knew the main section of the restaurant had been turned into a Chinese cafe but at that early hour we did not realize so too had the other portion. In light of decor like the ole’ HoJo’s restaurants we went in expecting a traditional HoJo’s breakfast. As detailed in a previous post (Jan. 28, 2016), what ensued instead was a comedy of errors. We laugh about that breakfast with affection.

 

Adieu

So it is with sadness that I bid adieu to the Bangor HoJo’s. Thanks for the sweet memory.

Dedicated Peach Cutters Make Firefighters’ Annual Festival a Success

Posted on August 29, 2016

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett  Jan Adams, 93, has been cutting peaches for the annual Eighth Utilies District fire Department Peach Festival for 40 years.

 Jan Adams, 93, has been cutting peaches for the annual Eighth Utilities District Fire Department Peach Festival in Manchester, Connecticut for 40 years. She is shown here the morning of August 27 preparing for the 67th festival held that night.

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com

 

For forty years, Jan Adams, 93, has been faithfully cutting peaches for peach shortcake served at the annual peach festival held by volunteer firefighters in Manchester, Connecticut. This year was no exception. Mrs. Adams and a host of other dedicated peach cutters helped the Eighth Utilities District Fire Department mark the 67th peach festival held Saturday, August 27.

 

“I love it!” said Mrs. Adams, “Anything for the fire department.”

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Volunteer peach cutters turned out and filled long rows of tables at the old firehouse to help with  Manchester, CT’s annual peach festival.

 

Her reign as peach cutter extraordinaire began when her son, Jim Adams, served as chief of the department. A member of the fire department auxiliary, Mrs. Adams has been cutting peaches for the popular festival ever since, displaying the same type of devotion that clearly motivates volunteers who suit up to fight fires in town.

 

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Ret. Deputy Chief Robert Eschmann cuts biscuits for the peach shortcake.

 

Retired Deputy Chief Robert Eschmann has logged 41 years helping with the event which typically draws some 4,000 festival-goers from Manchester and surrounding towns. Traditionally held on Friday nights, this year the festival was scheduled for Saturday night.

 

“That was a committee decision,” Ret. Dep. Chief Eschmann said.

 

Relocated across from the old firehouse.

Relocated across from the old firehouse.

The reason, he said, was to see if a Saturday night festival would attract even more people to the event which serves as the department’s biggest annual fundraiser. Although Connecticut is known as the ‘land of steady habits’, the move to Saturday night was not the only change this year. A few years back the festival was relocated up the hill on Main Street to the site of a newer firehouse. However, due to some needed housekeeping there, the 2016 festival was shifted back to a parking area across from the old, historic corner firehouse.

 

New Jersey peached saved the day.

New Jersey peaches saved the day.

Then there was a little matter of where to get the necessary crates galore of peaches. Ret. Dep. Chief Eschmann explained that due to an earlier frost which nipped at local peaches, the firefighters were forced to go elsewhere. Fortunately, they were able to ship peaches in from New Jersey.

 

“Usually we get the peaches from Johnny Appleseed’s, or Lyman, or over in Rocky Hill,” he noted.

 

 

Carrying in the bisquits.

Carrying in the biscuits.

Double firefighter duty.

Double firefighter duty.

Churning the peaches.

Churning the peaches.

 

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Despite the changes, organizing committee chair Danielle Cowee, a department captain, was pleased to see the community rally around the department for the morning peach cutting.

 

“It looks like there are more people here this year than last, ” she said.

 

The Garden State may have saved the day when it came to securing peaches, but locally, cream to top the peach shortcake came from Farmer’s Cow and the biscuits came from Big Y. More constants – the festival featured community spirit, entertainment, door prizes and a last, late August summertime hurrah.