I grew up in Naugatuck, Connecticut. I know what most people think when they think of Connecticut- yachts, loafers, polo shirts, lawn parties, private schools, the very word privilege. And to be honest, Connecticut has places like that. Naugatuck isn't one of them. I come from another small town in New England that was thoroughly trounced by the death of the Industrial North; we lost the factories and never recovered.
It wasn't always like this. It was a reasonable place to grow up. I spent hours in our library, a Mead, McKim and White building; it may not mean much to some, but to a Gilded Era geek like myself that's an amazing brush with celebrity. My middle school was a MM&W building, too; I've written about that, some. I like to drive by and look at these buildings every time I visit.
I went back this last week, to see family (it had been about eighteen months, how awful), to see friends, to eat sandwiches and to do some exploring. I had a lovely trip- it was exactly what I needed.
I spent a good amount of time with my very smart, super sweet nephew Dameon. Isn't he lovely!? (Trust me, he's even better in real life.) I took Dameon and his mother to Gillette Castle Park in East Haddam, Connecticut. Gillette Castle was one of those magic places when I was a kid- this
gorgeous, strange stone castle built in the early 1900s above the Connecticut
River. It was fantastic to get back. (Being here reminded me how excited I am to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie, too.)
Connecticut is full of spots like this- strange, odd places full of magic when you're a child. My sister Boo and I went exploring on Wednesday; we went to the Little People's Village in Middblebury, CT, which I hear may soon be condominiums, and we went to Holy Land in Waterbury, too.
I used to go to the Little People's Village all the time when I was a teenager. I'm surprised it has held up as well as it has. The throne is still there, too. I didn't sit in it this time around, though.
I'd never been to Holy Land before, though; after years of driving through Waterbury on I-84, seeing that glowing cross on the hill, I finally just had to know. Boo and I had a great hike through what is left of the place.
It is, of course, good to be home again. I have a garden to plant- finally, I think the seedlings are ready!- and a dog to wash, yarn to dye and a back room that still desperately needs my attention. I do so love working off a list.