An Alternate View of Connecticut

In early 2008 my stepfather died, and toward the end of that year my mother became gravely ill with Guillain-Barre syndrome.  I, my mother’s only child, left my husband and toddler son and flew to Connecticut for two weeks to take care of mom’s affairs as she languished in the hospital in a state of delirium.

Although the visit was difficult, I felt so comforted by the my step-father’s family, with whom I stayed. Each morning I went to the hospital and then spent the day my mother’s house to dig through papers, manage her bills, and prepare her home for what was certain to be a lengthy absence. My days were very solitary and quiet as I went about my tasks. Driving from town to town handling business gave me a chance to reflect upon the scenery in a way that I had not in my typical visits home. At the end of two weeks I had no choice but to entrust my mother to the care of her doctors and return home to take care of my family and return to my job.

That was my last lengthy visit back to Connecticut, aside from the three days I spent six months later picking up my mother and packing her house for her move to Florida.

Florida has been my home for years, but today, I sorely miss Connecticut. I long for it. I wish to go to my home state and grieve amongst my people. But I know that there is nothing I can do, except to pray, and I must do that from here. But today, my heart is in Connecticut.

Below is a blog that I posted on a different forum four years ago, following my trip to Connecticut. I wanted to bring you a very different Connecticut than that which has been thrust into the national spotlight.


1. Grumpy people
2. Lousy roads
3. Asshole drivers
4. Slush in my shoes

These things I hate about Connecticut.

But in spite of these things I maintain a love and a longing in my heart for my home state, the place that shaped and molded me, and therefore understands me.

It has become the obvious cliche in the South to characterize Northerners in general, and New Englanders in particular, as rude. On the surface it would seem so, but below that crust you will find warmth and generosity. Is it a possibility that New Englanders are not rude but deeply private?

For what I miss the most about Connecticut would be its people, stalwart and practical, imperious and aristocratic. It is a character that is impossible to fully encapsulate in mere words, or to fully understand without personally enduring long, bleak winters, short days, and heart-stopping gas bills, only to watch those last dirty deposits of frozen slush and icicles thaw and melt in March, and violets spring up along the roadsides.

To grow up going to school in buildings that approach 100 years old will either make a child long for contemporary and stylish surroundings, or feel a flutter in her heart as she ponders the history of a structure.

Here’s a structure to ponder…

The hospital where my mother has been the past few months.

Here are a few more shots…

Note the stone urns on the ledge.

Here’s one of the little balconies that grace a few of the windows:

And here’s a final shot of the other end of the hospital…

Another thing I miss about Connecticut is the religious imagery that seems to be everywhere…

This Saint Francis is in the rock beside my mom’s church.

This is my mom’s church:

Want a better shot?

There’s another one down the street with a genuine Tiffany stained glass window.

One more, of the steeple:

I’d say that in Connecticut about 70% of the homes are 80 years old or more. You see lots of houses like this one:

No, they’re not all this big. I would say that the majority of them are some variation on this theme:

You also get to see lots of old stone walls, and little buildings like this one – an old pump house, I think…

One last thing I miss about Connecticut…grinders at the neighborhood pizzeria.

We don’t have neighborhood pizzerias in the South. In the South we have Bubba’s Oyster Shack. Not that there’s anything wrong with Bubba’s Oyster Shack. It’s just that sometimes I want Salvatore’s Pizza & Grinders.

I live in Pensacola, Florida. It’s home, and I love it. But a piece of my heart will always be in Connecticut. My heart breaks for the day when it is no longer plausible or necessary for me to return there. It’s already happening.


About Joyce

40-year-old university advisor, 10-years married with two small children, trying to do it all and have it all and still manage the occasional social interaction through the wonderful world of blogging.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to An Alternate View of Connecticut

  1. I understand what you mean. I know people who had a simiilar feeling regarding NYC after 911.

  2. Wow, the pictures are amazing! I’m 98% sure I would love it there! Also, I can’t believe you have been blogging for 4 years…you’re a veteran!

    • Joyce says:

      Connecticut is amazing…outside of the urban areas, you drive through and see signs that say “You Are Entering the Historic Town of…” so beautiful. I don’t forsee a time that I will get to go back any time soon, and that is sometimes hard.

      I blogged for serveral years at the other site, and then stopped when readership dwindled as people moved on. It’s not very rewarding to blog for no audience. I haven’t blogged since 2009, until I found this site…and I am so glad I did.

  3. Valerie says:

    I would feel that way if something were to have happened in Michigan, as that is where I grew up. I’m sorry, I know how much harder it must be for those to be your Connecticut family. 😦 It is devastating to us all, of course, though. I pray that the parents know they are not alone. We are all mourning with them.

    • Joyce says:

      Very much so…it is my prayer that these families know that they are not completely alone in their grief, and that as much as we are able, we stand with them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s