Community memory is created in the exchange of story. Sharing. Listening, Asking Questions. Exploring a common bond. My 1st community still overshadows my current community with memories more fragile with each passing year. Through poem I explore dissonance, lack of connection and my barriers to having ‘Here‘ feel more like home.
My roots: Windsor, CT
It is claimed as the first settlement in Connecticut. It is where an interstate cuts North and South and meandering rivers still meet. Each year there is ‘Shad Derby Day’ for all, not just those with a fishing line over the bridge.There once was a movie marquee in town and another boasting 31 flavors of Ice Cream. In the numerous park ponds, ripples still attracted striders and dragonflies. For me ‘fresh coffee” remains synonymous with going shopping at the A&P in the town center.
Some small truths: My 1st awareness of the world was from inside a tobacco barn where immigrant works straddle the heat and the rafters. My 1st encounter with infamy, was the names of my public elementary schools: John Fitch and Kennedy. Like Wallingford there is also an evolved story of private school for boys and girls, merged, to remain a dipstick for courageous intellect. Memories flicker linking to stories of aspiring to places bigger than where Native American Indians once lived or youth gathered day and night in spaces set aside for structured “gathering”.
My residence: Wallingford,CT
My fourth relocation within Connecticut where the parkway cuts North and South
and an esplanade traverses one of many hilltops aside my front lawn. I chose relocation here based on a few prior positive encounters with the community. A decade prior I was a welcomed presenter among civic-minded women. I traveled this rustic parkway rather than the interstate to a satellite office at a quaint re-purposed foundry. From a neighboring farm community my children had double hitter summer at Indian Y-camp and were enchanting by the library with a community TV station inside. They love for both.
Memories turned out to be more like miss-perception.
My community service reentry: Celebrate (or Taste of) Wallingford Day re-acquaints me with prospects of local service however person-to-person encounters across the parade ground, school yards and Quinnipiac Trail became false positives: Disillusioned by PTAC members for a school named Dag Hammarskjold without Dag Awakenings awareness and a library maimed now absent the progressive inclusion of a Community TV within its walls. The appealing nearby walk-to-school path gives way to a “better to bus to the city” for education decision. Culture was in other places too. Promotion of poets that slam was discouraged, even more so the poets of color. Discovery was commingled with a mystery story about silo-making: badger parodies had somersaulted ‘us’ into darkness. For me the community members acquainted with my former service continued to badger me. Asking again and again until I become designated for appointment to serve ‘an advisor’ without scaffolding.
Feeling it. The center is full of dead.
My daily engagements with ‘the other’ happens where the mission is about barrier breaking
Twinkles become story: a blue chicken, a re-purposed barn, a face-off with history, a door to keep open to all; my midlife becomes consumed with powerful wild and free engagement.
‘To be the change I want to see in the world.’ I remain. Optimism opens one encounter at a time and new stories begin to transform my life and maybe my community enough to someday call Wallingford “home”.