I grew up in a small town. My back yard was the boundary of an institution for the mentally insane. At times there were little incidents that reminded me of the potential danger but I never felt threatened, fearful for my life or that I was in imminent danger. Similar to the sounding of the horns for fire departments, one horn, two horn, three horns or four would warn of potential danger.
My mother and Aunt worked at the institution for a time and my father was a state trouper. I felt safe, they would protect me.
My parents moved in my senior year of high school and I moved on. For a time I lived in the Dallas, Texas area. People would ask me where I was from. They would say, “well the accent is a cross between Boston and New York’”, me! I had no accent they did! “Connecticut”. “Where’s that?” I would reply “do you know were the weathermen stand, it is right behind them.” Then I would go on to say that I was from Newtown, well Sandy Hook to be specific. They had no idea where I was from, just being polite.
I did move back to the Connecticut, but to Guilford. If you are from New England you know that if your family has not been here for at least one hundred years you are from somewhere else. When asked, I reply as I always have, “I am from Newtown, Sandy Hook to be exact…..” And finish off with I moved here in the 1980’s. They had no idea where I was from, just being polite.
Newtown has changed in many ways since I moved away but I cherish the memories of my childhood. My neighborhood and all the kids I grew up with, 1910, the Botsford drive-in, Curtis Pond and Mr. Dayton the bus driver. The first time I pulled out onto Route 34 from Toddy Hill in my 1963 VW bug and didn’t roll backwards; Friday night movies at the Edmond Town Hall and the flag pole in the middle of Main Street. Even with Fairfield Hills in background it was my, as perfect as it could be childhood. It was my small New England hometown and nobody knew where it was.
That has all changed. I cry and cry some more, for all those innocent children, teachers, responders, and there families; the lives and the cherished memories of childhood that has been so brutally taken away. If only they could have grown up in Newtown, (or to be more specific Sandy Hook) Connecticut and have people have no idea where they were from but ask just to be polite.