January 21, 2020

Lyme Library Presents Rescheduled ‘Backyard Birding,’ Feb. 29

LYME — Curious as to whom is composing that sweet-sounding trill?

Join the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center at the Lyme Public Library to learn how to identify backyard birds by sight and sound Saturday, Feb. 29, at 2 p.m.  Learn who is at the feeder during each season and what their feeding habits are.

Bring your binoculars for some outdoor practice. The presenter will also have some pairs available.

For information and to register, call the library at 860-434-2272.

Share

Start the New Year with a Twist … of Yoga! Classes at Saint Ann’s Thursday Mornings, All Welcome

OLD LYME — Yoga With A Twist is an all-level gentle Yoga Class. It is appropriate for first-time yoga students and those who are more experienced. The class will include breath work, stretching and moving with the combined objectives of strengthening the body, and improving balance and overall well-being.  Chairs will be available for those who do not want to practice on the mat.   

The instructor is Deb Novack, who believes that Yoga is for everyone and no matter what your limitations are, you will feel an improvement the first time you come to class. Dhe is a Hatha-style Yoga Teacher, who incorporates meditation, breathing techniques, restorative and yin poses and shapes, into her teahing.  

Novack is excited about, and experienced in, introducing new people to the healing modality of Yoga and meditation.

Class will be held at Saint Ann’s Church, 82 Shore Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. in the Griswold Room on Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. beginning on Jan. 9.  Bring a Yoga mat and any props you like working with (e.g., blocks, straps, blankets, etc.). Chairs will be available for use.

This is a community event and all are welcome.

The suggested donation is $10 and no reservation is required.  

Contact Deb Novack with any questions at debnovack1@yahoo.com or contact the Parish Office at Saint Ann’s #860-434-1621.

Saint Ann’s is an Episcopal parish in Old Lyme, which is under the direction of the Provisional Priest-in-Charge, the Rev. Dr. Anita L. Schell. Saint Ann’s is located at 82 Shore Road (Rt. 156), two miles off I95, Exit 70. Convenient parking is adjacent to the church and the Sanctuary has ADA access. For more information, visit www.saintannsoldlyme.org .

Share

Upcoming Events at Lyme Public Library Through March

LYME — The following programs, which are scheduled at Lyme Public Library, 482 Hamburg Rd, are free and open to all at. Registration at 860-434-2272 is appreciated.

Lyme Library Cookbook Club: The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook
Saturday, Jan. 11
1 p.m.

Just in time for the NFL Playoffs. Choose a recipe from this cookbook or share one of your own favorites.  The Cookbook Club will meet again Feb. 8, and March 14.

Backyard Birding with the CT Audubon Society Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center
Saturday, Jan. 18
2 p.m.

Fine tune bird-watching and identifying skills. If time and weather permit, attendees may go outside. Bring your binoculars.

Beyond Bicept: The Real Story of Rosie the Riveter, presented by Dr. Amanda Goodheart Parks
Saturday, Jan. 25
2 p.m.

Trace the journey from propaganda poster to feminist icon.

Prudence Allen: Secretary to Coretta Scott King. Sharing Stories of Time Spent with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and his Family
Saturday, Feb. 15
2 p.m.

Raised in Connecticut, Prudence Allen supported equal rights for all, marched in civil rights marches in the 1960s, and joined Dr King and his family. She will share memories and stories of her time.

Endre (Andy) Sarkany, Childhood Survivor of the Holocaust
Tuesday, March 24
7 p.m.

Sarkany speaks to students about his personal experiences during the Holocaust, living under the brutality of the Soviet regime in Hungary, and finding a home in the United States.

Share

Thinking About Regifting? Read More on This and Other Holiday Confessions


Thinking about regifiting one (or more) of those wonderful gifts you received on Wednesday?  Well, you’re not alone since according to a Holiday Confessions Survey, published on Reviews.org, more than half of Americans (58.52%) admit that they’ve regifted a present!

Read the full article with lots more confessions (e.g., more than two-thirds of us have peeked at our holiday presents early, three-quarters of us have kept a present we bought for someone else, and almost 30 percent of us have gone more than $500 into debt to pay for our holiday shopping) at this link.

Share

A View from My Porch: The Second Renaissance of Miss ElizabethTashjian (Connecticut’s “Nut Lady”)

Editor’s Note: We are delighted to welcome a new columnist to our LymeLine family today. Tom Gotowka will write an occasional piece under the title, “A View From My Porch,” and we are going to let him introduce both his column and himself in his own words.  We hope you enjoy Tom’s offerings — as always, let us know your thoughts!

Author’s Note: “A View from My Porch” is a new column that will cover a range of subjects that I believe will be of community interest. It might be literature and the arts, an event, or even something to do with healthcare. I may occasionally stray into a political issue, but this column will not be partisan political (Other publications have that more than covered.) In reality, all I see from my porch is my wife’s studio, a red barn, a network of beautiful gardens, and a salt marsh, but, of course, “a view” is so much more than what one actually sees.

To give you a sense of the experiences that “qualify” me to write this column, my entire adult career has been in healthcare. I’ll sit on the Navy side at the Army/Navy football game. I always sit on the crimson side at any Harvard/Yale contest. I enjoy reading historic speeches and consider myself a scholar of the period from FDR through JFK. A child of AM Radio, I probably know the lyrics of every rock and roll or folk song published since 1960.

My first few columns will take a fresh look at some of Old Lyme’s cultural and historic icons. As such, this first essay is titled “The Second Renaissance of Miss ElizabethTashjian”. The second column covers Naval hero Ezra Lee.

Eliazabeth Tashjian appeared several times on ‘The Tonight Show’ with Johnny Carson.

The Second Renaissance of Miss ElizabethTashjian (Connecticut’s “Nut Lady”)

Connecticut College’s exhibition, “Revisiting the Nut Museum: Visionary Art of Elizabeth Tashjian,” has just closed. I posit that this gallery display of her paintings, drawings, and sculptures, together with the recent Florence Griswold Museum Samuel Thorne Memorial Lecture by Professor Christopher Steiner, “Performing the Nut Museum,” represent the culminating events in this “second Renaissance.” Let me walk you through the facts that led me to this conclusion.

I was introduced to Elizabeth Tashjian more than a quarter century ago (holy cow!) by Colin McEnroe, who now hosts his own show on CT Public Radio and writes a weekly column for Hearst Communications. My wife and I were not yet residents of Old Lyme. This essay begins with a synopsis of her life. However, the crux of this column is my assertion that she became masterful at managing the media, and playing the role of quirky, eccentric artist.

Miss Tashjian was born into privilege in Manhattan in 1912, the daughter of wealthy Armenian immigrants. Her parents divorced when she was 7 years old, and she continued living in Manhattan with her mother. She showed great promise as a concert violinist and pursued music early — and before pursuing her interest in art. She studied at the New York School of Applied Design for Women and the National Academy of Design.

Elizabeth and her mother moved into a 19th century Gothic Revival mansion on Ferry Road in Old Lyme in 1950. Her mother died in 1959 and she continued living there alone. Her father pre-deceased her mother and left no estate.

Nuts were always her passion. This began during her classical arts training in New York City, where she created many paintings of nuts and nutcrackers. These themes would continue throughout her life. She was an active member of Lyme Art Association and frequently displayed her works there.

In 1972, she opened the Nut Museum, which was housed in the dining room on the ground floor of her home. The Nut Museum collection was largely comprised of her own artwork, including over 100 paintings, 20 aluminum sculptures, nut jewelry, and a Nativity scene made completely of nuts. Her art has been described as “visionary”, “avant-garde”, “surrealist”, and/or “outsider.”

She remained unmarried throughout her life. I could not find any reference to any real employment, which allowed her to concentrate wholly on her art. Like her mother, she became a Christian Science healer in mid-life, which may have provided some modest income.

Susan Campbell, writing in the Hartford Courant, described her visit to the Nut Museum: “The first time I met Elizabeth Tashjian, she swooped down the stairs of her Old Lyme mansion to greet me, and I was immediately in her thrall. I remember there was a cape.”

In 1981, Tashjian appeared on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” for the first time. She and Carson “clicked” and her success with him led to many other television appearances, including Letterman, Leno, and others. Her TV appearances usually included one of her songs (e.g., “Nuts Are Beautiful” or the “March of the Nuts.”)

She did not have the same rapport with the other hosts that she had developed in her two appearances with Carson. She often brought a 35-pound coco de mer nut with her to these appearances. The coco de mer, or “nut of the sea” is native to the Seychelles and has an unfortunate resemblance to a woman’s buttocks. She told Carson that “the existence of such a sexually provocative nut utterly refuted Darwin’s “Origin of Species.” Professor Steiner (see below) said “it was arguable whether she was exploited by the media, or exploited it.” His suspicion was that she was the joker, not the joke.

She became known as the “Nut Lady”, which she hated. Preferring words like enthusiast, advocate, culturalist, or visionary.

Miss Tashjian became increasingly reclusive from the mid-1990s through the turn of the century; and her health began to fail. Fortunately, she had found a “champion” in Christopher Steiner, a professor of art history and museum studies at Connecticut College, who was determined to protect her artistic legacy. He remained her supporter and advocate for the rest of her life.

By 2002, she was nearly indigent, in serious debt, and very frail. I won’t provide the terrible details; but she fell into a coma, was declared incompetent, and a ward of the State. The Courts put her house on the market to pay her debts. Despite refusing medical treatment because of her religious beliefs, she recovered, but was confined, apparently against her will, to a nursing home where she died in 2007.

The contents of the Nut Museum had been removed by Professor Steiner while her home was being sold. He had successfully petitioned the Old Lyme Probate Court to recognize the historic and artistic significance of the collection. Unfortunately, Tom Selleck and Henry Winkler were not yet pitching reverse mortgages as financial salvation for the indigent elderly.

And so, begins her “second Renaissance.”  In 2004, the Lyman Allyn Museum in New London launched a show of her work at which she was the guest of honor. Documentary filmmaker Don Bernier completed “In a Nutshell: A Portrait of Elizabeth Tashjian,” a feature-length video about the artist highlighting the diverse roles she assumed during her lifetime, which debuted at Connecticut. College.

Her obituary appeared in the New York Times Food Section in 2007: under the heading,“Elizabeth Tashjian, 94, an Expert on Nuts, dies,” which would have certainly appealed to her sense of irony.

The New Yorker carried “The Nut Lady Returns” in 2005.

The Armenian Weekly provides a detailed account of the Connecticut College exhibition.

Lee Howard’s recent article in The Day, “Reimagining the Nut Lady and her Art,” provides a friend’s perspective:

Share

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year … Lyme Academy Celebrates the Season with the Lyme-Old Lyme Community

Photo by Douglas Hampton Dowson of Hampton Dowson Photography of Lyme.

OLD LYME — This past Friday evening saw the start of a new and wonderful tradition for Old Lyme when the Lyme Academy of Arts held their first community tree-lighting event and illuminated the towering tree in front of the Elisabeth Gordon Chandler Center pictured above. Despite the rain, a large crowd of all ages turned out for the event including a number of local dignitaries pictured below.

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Gathered for a photo are from left to right, State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd), Interim Business Director of Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Frank Burns, Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold, Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce President Rich Shriver, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Board of Trustees member Bob Potter, and ‘The Nutcracker’ played by Bob’s wife Jeanne Potter.

Photo by Douglas Hampton Dowson of Hampton Dowson Photography of Lyme.

The crowd stood patiently in the rain outside the Chandler Center listening to speeches from

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd),

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold, and

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Board member Bob Potter.

Photo by Douglas Hampton Dowson of Hampton Dowson Photography of Lyme.

Then the crowd moved to the Stobart Barn to hear the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Band perform seasonal numbers under the direction of conductor Carrie Wind.  This is the 21st year that the band has participated in holiday festivities organized by town organizations.

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Rick Kaye snaps a shot of the LOLMS Band …

Photo by Douglas Hampton Dowson of Hampton Dowson Photography of Lyme.

… who played beautifully …

Photo by Douglas Hampton Dowson of Hampton Dowson Photography of Lyme.

… under the stellar direction of long-time Middle School Band Director Carrie Wind, pictured above, who addressed the audience with her usual verve!

Photo by Douglas Hampton Dowson of Hampton Dowson Photography of Lyme.

Inside the Chauncey Stillman Gallery, these smiling elves were helping children write letters to Santa …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

… while willing parents helpde their children make ornaments.  In the photo above, Brittany Sterling of Old Lyme assists her son Graham in his creation.

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

… and meanwhile, the band played on merrily!

Share

Enjoy ‘The Magic of Christmas’ at Flo Gris Museum in Old Lyme Through New Year

There are now four palette trees to hold the more than 200 hand-painted palettes on display in this year’s ‘Magic of Christmas.’

OLD LYME — The holiday season is always something special to celebrate at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. – after all, Miss Florence was born on Christmas Day, 1850. The Museum will be decked out in its holiday finery for the Magic of Christmas celebration from Nov. 29, 2019 through Jan. 5, 2020.

This year marks the 200th painted palette to be added to Miss Florence’s Artist Trees. Since 2004 noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon – so many that now four trees are needed to hold the works of art. The idea of contemporary artists creating paintings on artists’ palettes is a nod to the Museum’s history as the center for the Lyme Art Colony, and alludes to the door and wall panels the artists painted throughout Miss Florence’s boardinghouse over a century ago. The palette artists’ styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals.

This palette by Kenney Mencher of Palo Alto, Calf., is one of the 2019 additions to the Palette Trees.

Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, glass, and collage are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises! The palettes are displayed on four trees in the Krieble gallery, along with the current exhibition, “Nothing More American:” Immigration, Sanctuary, and Community—An Exhibition by Matthew Leifheit.

To commemorate the milestone of the 200th palette, the Museum published Miss Florence’s Artist Trees: Celebrating a Tradition of Painted Palettes, which showcases each of the works of art on its own page.

In the historic rooms of the Florence Griswold House, the special installation by artist Jennifer Angus, Silver Wings and Golden Scales, has been held over by popular demand. Visitors to the House will be able to delight in this dream-like scenario of Miss Florence’s home transformed into the site of an insect-themed masquerade party through Jan. 12, 2020.

Angus evokes the bohemian spirit of the Lyme Art Colony through her artistic compositions of preserved exotic insects, including textile-inspired wallcoverings, an elegant cape for Miss Florence, and whimsical vignettes. Through her art, Angus brings to visitors not only the beauty of insects, but their critical importance to our ecology as well. Upstairs, two artists, Betsy Barry and Carol Maynard have created Fantasy Trees, designed to delight and inspire.

All ages can enjoy the beautiful Palette Christmas Trees at the ‘Magic of Christmas’ exhibition

Many special events and programs are held in conjunction with the Magic of Christmas. Christmastime Teas are among the most popular events. Delectable scones with clotted cream, assorted tea sandwiches, and cookies prepared by Gourmet Gallery, a caterer known for their delicious flavors and impeccable presentations, are accompanied by “Miss Florence’s Tea,” a special blend from Sundial Gardens in Higginum.

Miss Florence’s Tea is a special blend of superior Ceylon and China black tea enhanced with a touch of delicate spices. The tea celebrates the camaraderie and creativity of the Lyme Art Colony with each cup. Teas are held Dec. 3 through 28 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3 to 5pm and Saturdays from 12 to 2pm and 3 to 5pm.

Other events and programs include special events for families, including a visit from Frozen sisters Elsa and Anna and hands-on crafts for children and adults.

Unique gifts from The Shop and memberships to the Museum make thoughtful holiday and hostess gifts.

Located on a 12-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme, the Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a modern exhibition gallery, education center, landscape center, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. On Saturdays between November 30 through January 5, admission is only $5 when visitors bring in a non-perishable donation for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries.

For more information, visit the Museum’s website at www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

Magic of Christmas Activities

Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2pm
Book Event
Director of Education and Outreach David D.J. Rau speaks about the publication Miss Florence’s Artist Trees: Celebrating a Tradition of Painted Palettes, which was published this October to commemorate the milestone of the 200th palette added to Miss Florence’s Artists Trees this year. Please reserve your space in advance, $25 includes book. Register online at FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org

Sundays, Dec. 1 through Jan. 5, 1-4pm
Joy in the Making
Each Sunday visitors can experience the joy of making a hand-made card or ornament during the weekly drop-in creative programs. Fun for all ages. This event is free with Museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Dec. 1-24
Daily Specials in the Museum Shop
One day you might save on all books or art supplies, the next, maybe everything sparkly or all snowmen. Check FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for a calendar of items and days.

Dec. 3 through 28
Christmastime Teas
Tuesday through Saturday enjoy an elegant tea of savories and sweets overlooking the wintery splendor of the Lieutenant River. Catered by Gourmet Galley. Guests enjoy a 10% discount in The Shop. $40. Reservations required, please call 860-434-5542 x 111 for information and reservations.

Elsa and Anna are always popular performers at the Museum.

Saturday, Dec. 7
Elsa and Anna perform at the Museum
Visitors can enjoy holiday crafting between visits from the beloved sisters. Shows at noon, 1pm, and 2pm. This program is included with Museum admission, and visitors 12 and under are always free.

Thursday, Dec. 12, 5:30 to 7pm
Art•Bar Happy Hour
Combine creativity and cocktails! Enjoy an evening of Christmastime crafting. All materials provided. Get friends together or come make new ones! For adults 21+. $25. Register online at FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org

Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2pm
Gallery Talk
Director of Education and Outreach David D.J. Rau speaks about Miss Florence’s Artist Trees in the Gallery. This event is free with Museum admission.

Sunday, Dec. 29 from 1 to 4pm
Miss Florence’s Birthday Party
Visitors share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Enjoy a piece of birthday cake while making an assortment of fun craft projects. Fun (and free!) balloon sculptures by April’s Balloon Creations. This program is included with Museum admission, and visitors 12 and under are always free.

Faith Leitner will play her harp Sunday, Dec. 29, in the Florence Griswold Museum to celebrate “An Ode to the New Year.”

Sunday, Dec. 29, from 1 to 4pm
Ode to the New Year: Harp Music by Faith Leitner
The harp was Miss Florence’s favorite instrument. Visitors can see the one her father brought back for her from England in the Florence Griswold House. Accomplished harpist Faith Leitner will perform in the gallery. A beautiful way to end the year! This program is included with Museum admission, and visitors 12 and under are always free.

Share

Construction Begins at Old Lyme’s PGN Library; Parking Lot to be Closed for Three Weeks

Construction will begin at the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library on Monday.

OLD LYME — Construction on the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library grounds begins today, Monday, Nov. 11. The parking lot will be completely inaccessible for approximately three weeks. Library visitors should park on Lyme Street during this stage of construction.

Library staff will strive to keep the main entrance, the book drop, and handicapped parking open as much as possible. Library staff understand that this is a significant inconvenience for all Library visitors.

The good news is that the Library will have an expanded parking lot when the work is complete. Patrons are encouraged to contact the staff at 860-434-1684 if they are unable to reach the Library due to the construction to make alternative service arrangements.

Construction will begin Monday, Nov. 18 inside the library. The first phase of interior work will focus on the downstairs BookCellar, the second floor, and the room adjacent to the 1898 Reading Room.

For the most up-to-date construction or construction-related information, visit thanksphoebe.org.

Share

Letter to the Editor: A Post-Election Message To The People of Old Lyme, ‘We Must Go Forward Together’

To the Editor:

The election is behind us and Old Lyme still has a government. I am certain that Bonnie Reemsnyder will ensure a smooth and gracious transition to Mr. Griswold and our re-elected incumbent selectwoman, Mary Jo Nosal, and selectman, Chris Kerr.

Mr.Griswold inherits a fiscally strong Old Lyme that sits on a well-maintained infrastructure. Clearly, the RTC was able to keep the Port Authority issue in front of voters; and that probably made the difference.

So, now that we are past this contentious election, I’ll close with the words of Winston Churchill, who told Parliament and the British people: “We must go forward together”.

Sincerely,

Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Share

Old Lyme’s Duck River Garden Club Recognized with Multiple Awards for Members’ Efforts

Duck River Garden Club members accept the club’s awards at Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut annual awards luncheon in October. From left to right: Denise Dugas; Kathy Burton, past president; Karen Geisler, vice president; Fay Wilkman, president; Suzanne Thompson, youth & scholarship coordinator; Beverly Lewis and Nan Strohla, past president & newsletter editor.

OLD LYME — The Duck River Garden Club (DRGC) of Old Lyme has received multiple awards from Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut for the club’s civic beautification, education and horticultural therapy efforts over the past year.

The Old Lyme club, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020, was presented the awards at the statewide federation’s annual awards meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Aqua Turf Country Club. The recognition includes three traveling trophies to be enjoyed for the coming year.

The DRGC’s monthly hands-on floral arranging programs for residents of Bride Brook Nursing Home received an Award of Excellence in Garden Therapy. The club’s weekly educational displays at Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, including “Houseplant Renaissance” and “Gardening for Birds and Butterflies” won the Civic Creativity Award.

This DRGC display outlines two of the clubs projects that were awarded traveling trophies, the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library displays and the Police Department native pollinator bed. Watch for this display in coming weeks at the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library.

The ongoing project of redesigning and replanting the flower beds in front of the Old Lyme Police Department at 294 Shore Road with low-maintenance, pollinator-supporting native plants received the Award of Excellence for Historic, Memorial and Public Gardens. This is one of several civic beautification sites that DRGC volunteers maintain each year in Old Lyme.

The club’s monthly newsletter, produced by Paula Schiavone, and annual yearbook, compiled and edited for the past decade by Karin Kline, received First Place recognitions.

Duck River Garden Club (DRGC) President Fay Wilkman receiving one of the three top honors for DRGC at the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut awards meeting.

DRCG will hold a series of programs in 2020 to celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary. This will include a traveling historic display of gardening in Old Lyme, curated by the Old Lyme Historical Society. Watch for more information on DRGC’s website, www.oldlymeduckrivergc.org or call Fay Wilkman, DRGC president, 860-391-2622.

Many congratulations to all these wonderful, green-fingered ladies and gentlemen!

Share

Talking Transportation: Reading Old Timetables

Jim Cameron

I love reading timetables.  Not the new ones on smartphone apps, but the old printed ones.  Reading about a train or plane’s journey on paper is almost like taking the ride itself.

Growing up in Canada, I was fascinated with the two major passenger railroads, the quasi-government owned “crown corporation” Canadian National Railroad (CNR) and the private Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR).  Both ran transcontinental trains from Montreal and Toronto to Vancouver, a journey of 70+ hours … if they were on time.

I wondered why the CPR’s streamliner “The Canadian” left Toronto at 4:15 p.m. while its CNR competitor “The Super Continental” left at 6 p.m.  And why did the CNR’s later-leaving train arrive four hours earlier into Vancouver than the CPR’s?  Reading the 31 stop itinerary explained why: they took much different routes through the Canadian Rockies.  The CPR’s more southerly, scenic route was the highlight of the trip so they timed the journey for daylight hours.

Canada has two official languages, English and French, so it was by reading those timetables I learned that “quotidien” meant daily, “repas” meant meal and “douane” translated as customs, as in crossing an international border.

Fast forward 50 years and I’m still intrigued with old New Haven Railroad timetables, comparing that crack (private) railroad’s speeds with those of present-day Metro-North and Amtrak.  How did the New Haven make it from New Haven to Penn Station in 90 minutes while it today takes Amtrak 109 minutes?

But old timetables contain more than train times.  They also talk about the entire travel experience.

Did it really (in 1955) cost just $7.75 to go from Boston to NY in coach ($14 in a lower berth, $13 in an upper)?  The old timetables also list the trains’ “consists”… what kind of rail cars made up each run: coaches, Pullmans, Parlor-Lounge car (some equipped with two-way radio telephones) and diners.

On the aviation side, I remember when airlines published their own timetables too, often promoting their advanced aircraft: American Airline’s 707 Astrojet, United’s DC-8 Mainliner and Braniff Airlines “Conquistador” DC-6.

The illustrations were always of well-dressed travelers smiling as they boarded their planes using ground-stairs, long before airports had jetways.  The seating looked roomy and comfortable, and was tended by well-coiffed stewardesses serving elaborate meals.

But the grand-daddy of all airline timetables was the OAG, the Official Airlines Guide, a phone book-sized (look it up, kids) compendium of every flight in the country.  As a one-time road warrior, I even subscribed to the “pocket” version, which was about an inch thick.  Miss a flight?  Your OAG would show you the alternatives.

What I enjoyed most reading the OAG’s railroad-style timetable wasn’t the flight times, and later, the on-time performance percentage, but the kind of aircraft used on each flight.  I took a liking to TWA’s iconic L-1011’s and avoided American’s DC-10’s after the deadly 1979 crash at O’Hare.

And after 9/11, I always opted for any airline flying Airbus equipment.  The reason?  The 9/11 terrorists had gone to flight school to learn how to fly traditional “yolk” flight controls, but only the airlines’ own simulators could train pilots on the Airbus fly-by-wire joystick controls:  i.e., Airbus jets were not going to get hijacked.  Or so I hoped.

Today there are no paper timetables.  All the information is online and on my phone … handy, yes, but definitely not as romantic.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  For a full collection of  “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

Share

Hooray for Halloween! Almost Against All Odds, It Did Happen on Lyme Street Last Night …

It wasn’t only the children having fun on Lyme Street last night – Julie O’Brien (left) and Martha Quaratella were fully invested in the spirit of the evening!

OLD LYME — Despite the weather, a cancelled parade, a fallen tree, and power outages galore, Halloween happened anyway in Old Lyme! 

We’re delighted to share a few photos from the notorious night when trick or treating ghosts and ghouls; witches and wizards; and swashbucklers and superheroes take over Lyme Street in search of candy … along with a reflection on Halloween by our journalist friend Linda Ahnert.

The Halloween Party at LYSB drew lions, Little Red Riding Hoods, Dorothy’s and everything in between! We’re pretty sure that’s Max Garvin inside the lion costume on the left! Photo by Missy Colburn Garvin.

Hooray for Halloween!
By Linda Ahnert

For those of us who grew up in the 1950s, Halloween was a big blast. We decked the school halls with jack-o’-lanterns and black cats. We sang holiday hymns about creepy moonlit nights, sleeping shadows, and ghostly shapes without heads. But most of all, we dreamed about what we were going “to be” for Halloween. What kid doesn’t like to play “make believe” and become a queen for a night or perhaps the bride of Dracula?

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts opened its doors to display a sea of pumpkins decorated by students from Lyme-Old Lyme Schools. Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Then there was the trick or treating itself. After donning the nifty costumes our moms had made for us, we headed out to ring doorbells and collect candy. Furtive little groups of us would pass each other in the night as we crisscrossed our Ozzie and Harriet neighborhood. And we would pass along snippets of information—when we learned that the new family on our street was handing out candy apples, we would make a beeline there.

Also attending the LYSB Halloween Party were this Superhero and friend. Photo by Missy Colburn Garvin.

But not too many years after we baby boomers had retired from ringing doorbells, the holiday itself entered a twilight zone. Those were the days when you heard true horror stories of kids finding razor blades in their candy. Real life had become a lot scarier and parents would accompany children as they went from house to house. And certainly no one would dare to knock on the door of a stranger.

Student-decorated pumpkins were also on display outside Lyme Academy. Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Which is why it’s great to see that in recent years Halloween has once again become big-time fun. People are festooning their houses with orange lights and decorating their lawns with goblins and other gruesome creatures. Pages in mail order catalogs are devoted to all the latest trends in Halloween décor and costuming. Turn on the TV at this time of year and you will see ads for “Halloween Headquarters” at Kmart or “Spooky Central” at Wal-Mart.

Millie Cameron — dressed as a jelly fish, who is the daughter of Lyme-Old Lyme High School varsity boys’ soccer coach Ally Gleason — was out on the town with Mom (right) last night. Photo by Martha Quaratella.

Today you can purchase all kinds of items to get in touch with your inner ghoul. Everything from Hitchcockian crows to cauldrons equipped with foggers to create a bubbling witch’s brew. And, if you’re hosting a “monster” Halloween party, don’t forget the ice cubes that glow bright orange. Or the CD’s of haunted house music to create an eerie ambience.

Sorry, but we just couldn’t resist publishing another photo of little Millie Cameron — the absolutely cutest jellyfish in town! Photo by Martha Quaratella.

Yes, there’s no doubt that Halloween has gone to a whole new level. So why should kids have all the fun? Nowadays, adults are also donning costumes and getting in on the act. One year I had a dental appointment on Oct. 31. I arrived at the dentist’s office to find the women employees all decked out in costumes. My favorite was the 30-something receptionist outfitted as a teenager from the 1950s complete with poodle skirt and pony tail.

Plenty of fun for the adults too at the LYSB Halloween Party! Photo by Missy Colburn Garvin.

In our neck of the woods, we don’t have to go far to get into the spirit of the season. Take a stroll through the Pumpkin Patch at Scotts Yankee Farmer in East Lyme.  Or drive to Mystic Seaport for “Nautical Nightmares” and listen to maritime ghost stories as you walk through the darkened village. Not to mention that our own village of Old Lyme is transformed into a magical place on Allhallows Eve. Children trick or treat their way along Lyme Street in costumes that range from the scary to the sublime.

It’s Halloween—just like the ones I used to know.

Share

Lyme Garden Club Fall Birdseed Fundraiser Continues Through Nov. 13

LYME — Lyme Garden Club is holding their Annual Fall Birdseed Fundraiser from now until Nov. 13. All seed is fresh because it is this year’s crop. All profits support the club’s Beautify Lyme projects.

Choices include:

Black Oil Sunflower Seed 50 lb. @ $36 & 25 lb. @ $23

Striped Sunflower Seed 50 lb. @ $32 & 25 lb. @ $24

Sunflower Seed Chips 50 lb. @ $66 & 25 lb. @ $36

Song Maker Mix 40 lb. @ $32 & 20 lb. @ $20

Thistle 10 lb. @ $20 & 5 lb. @ $12

Suet Cakes $1.50 or case of 12 @ $18

Suet/Seed Wreaths @ $20

Pick up is Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Lyme Fire Company parking lot (behind the firehouse) 213 Hamburg Rd. (Rte. 156) from 10 a.m. until noon.  Delivery is available for $5.

For further information, contact Judy at 860-526-9868 or jwd50@comcast.net by Nov. 13.

Share

Vote for Old Lyme’s Rhyleigh Russell in the ‘Celebration of Music National Competition’!

Rhyleigh Russell

OLD LYME — Rhyleigh Russell of Old Lyme is a finalist in the Celebration of Music National Competition. She is 14-years-old and a freshman at Lyme Old Lyme High School (LOLHS), where she is one of the varsity goalkeepers on the LOLHS soccer team.

Russell has four siblings and notes in her biography on the Celebration of Music website, “My whole family runs on music never going a day without it or discussing it in some manner.”

She also explains her passion for music in her biography, saying, “My goal with every performance is that I’m making someone proud or connecting with someone who may be uplifted in some way. My purpose is to help as many people as I can through music and performance whether its a smile on my parents face, a tear rolling down someone’s face because they don’t feel alone or to uplift a spirit. Everything I sing is with purpose and emotion.”

The contest is a talent search that showcases the best young musical talent across America. Singers, musicians, bands, and dancers between the ages of four and 25 are all encouraged to enter in their city by submitting an audition tape.

The Celebration of Music concept was inspired by Ethan Bortnick and his desire to give young musicians the same opportunities PBS afforded him. The winner will be announced Nov. 3 by Bortnick at the Bushnell in Hartford.

Voting is still open in the contest and Rhyleigh and her family would love LymeLine.com readers to vote for her.

Read Rhyleigh’s biography at this link and vote for her at the link at the foot of the page!

Good luck, Rhyleigh!

 

Share

Old Lyme Fire Dept. Hosts Educational, Fun Open House; Enjoy Our Photo Essay of the Event

All photos by Doris Coleman.

The Old Lyme Fire Department welcomed hundreds of children and their parents, friends or caregivers to its annual Open House held during the evening of Oct. 9. The event was held at the main firehouse located on 69 Lyme Street in Old Lyme.

Activities included

  • Fire safety and firefighting demonstrations.
  • Fire truck rides
  • Bike Rodeo and helmet giveaway
  • Life jacket information from the DEEP
  • CHIP Child ID Program information

Information pertinent to preventing fire-related incidents and home evacuation will be available for all ages.State of the art firefighting apparatus and equipment will also be demonstrated and on display.

Complimentary refreshments were served.

Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel were on hand to answer any questions the public may have to ensure a safer environment for children and adults.

Members of Old Lyme Cub Scout Troop 27 experienced first-hand what it feels like to be inside an ambulance.

Old Lyme Troop 27 Cb Scouts and their leaders posed for this wonderful photo at the OLFD Open House.  The Cub Scouts present included Brayden Boisseau, Quinn Parrot, Avi Hall, Douglas Paonessa, Thomas Calabrese, Evan Garner, Aiden Lapinski, Max Paonessa, Dylan Boisseau, Henry Kyle, Luke Wallen, Woody Goss, Gig Goss, and Paul Taliento. The back row includes, from left to right, Cub Scout leaders Craig Taliento , Jon Goss, Ken Swaney, Doug Garner, and Rob Paonessa.

Emily Griswold takes a closer look at the Old Lyme Fireboat with her son Aiden. Veteran OLFD volunteer and current Old Lyme Citizen of the Year Bob Doyen stands to her right, while Mike McCarthy stands in the fireboat with his son Mason.

One of the Old Lyme ambulances was a popular place to visit during the Open House.

A group of Old Lyme Fire department stalwarts gathered for this photo.  Bob Pierson, second from left, a former OLFD President, came all the way from his and wife Barbara’s new home in North Carolina for the event.

A firefighter-in-training!

Connecticut’s Boating Division was handing out helpful information and advice on life-jacket safety, initial boating courses, refresher courses, and other classes.

These fine ladies of the OLFD Auxiliary were on hand to help with anything and everything during the event. From left to right, Sue Campbell, Barbara Doyen, MaryEllen Jewett, and Judy McCarthy.

Briana Dow (leaning on helium tank) and Erin Pervine are all ready to talk about smoke alarm safety with balloons galore and  handouts for the asking.

The Bike Rodeo and helmet giveaway drew plenty of participants. Dawn Hamilton stands to the left while her grandson Mason Holland of Old Lyme tries on a helmet.

Always a good thing to know how to get out of a window!

Amtrak Police Department certainly presented a smiling face at the event.

Old Lyme Ambulance President Claire Haskins enjoys a well-deserved cup of apple cider.

Volunteer Kaitlin Koshoffer from the YMCA at Westbrook explained swim lesson options to mom Jamie Snurkowski of Old Lyme, who was attending the event with her son Reed.

So much to ask, so much to tell, so much to show …

The Connecticut Freemasons sponsor a child identification program called Connecticut Child Identification Program (CHIP). Standing ready to explain the program to all those interested are, from left to right, John Main, Ryan Proto and his father, Peter Proto.

Youngsters of all ages learned a great deal of useful information … Aiden Griswold and Cooper Staab, both of Old Lyme, were having a great time.

Hats off to the OLFD for putting on such a terrific event … and many thanks again to photographer Doris Coleman!

Share

Today, In Context of Palestine, Old Lyme Church Asks ‘Will There Really be a Morning?’ in Interfaith Program; All Welcome


OLD LYME  — The Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOLEF), in its longstanding mission to amplify voices of conscience in support of peace and justice, will open its 2019 Fall Speaker Series on Sunday, Oct. 20, at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL).

Cindy and Craig Corrie

Open to the public, with no admission charge, and interwoven with elements of the FCCOL Sunday worship services at 9 and 11 a.m., and its Adult Forum at 10 a.m., the interfaith program will feature reflections by American human rights activists and Palestinian peace advocates addressing the many challenges that confront Palestinians living under military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The roster of speakers, presenters, and performers will include:

Mark Braverman, a Jewish American with deep family roots in the Holy Land, who serves as executive director of Kairos USA, a movement of U.S. Christians working to end the crisis in Israel/Palestine. He will deliver the sermon at both Sunday worship services.

Mark Braverman

Palestinian youth ambassadors, university students and recent graduates, who will share their visions of a better world, one in whic

h they will enjoy the types of civil liberties enshrined in the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Cindy and Craig Corrie, founders of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, dedicated to the support of grass-roots efforts in pursuit of human rights and social, economic and environmental justice. The Foundation honors the memory of their daughter Rachel, who, in 2003, was run over and killed by an Israeli military-operated bulldozer as she tried to protect a Palestinian home from demolition in Rafah, Gaza. The Corries will participate in the morning worship services and speak at the Adult Forum as well, where they will be joined by the Palestinian Youth Ambassadors.

Music during the morning services will be provided by Tamer Al-Sahouri, head of the Arabic Music department at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Palestine, and his wife, singer Nadine Shomali. Their visit will be Tamar’s fifth and Nadine’s second appearance at Tree of Life programs.

N Shomali and Tal-Sahouri

At the conclusion of the morning events, program participants and attendees will be welcomed in the Fellowship Room of the FCCOL to meet and greet over refreshments, shop for Palestinian crafts and olive oil, and take in the Promised Land exhibit produced by the Jewish Museum of the Palestinian Experience.

Pausing briefly in organizing this year’s Speaker Series, the Rev. David W. Good, Minister Emeritus of the FCCOL, and Founder of the Tree of Life Educational Fund, commented, “In witnessing the harsh realities Palestinians confront every day in the occupied territories, I can’t help but recall the poignant question with which the poet Emily Dickinson opened one of her particularly haunting poems,  ‘Will there really be a morning?’ ”

He continued, “Here in the U.S., we readily assume that as soon as tomorrow, there will of course be ‘a morning.’ But that easy assumption doesn’t play for those who live under military occupation in the Holy Land, believing that no one cares.

Good concluded, “At TOLEF, we do care. In programs such as this speaker series, we strive to educate others in the sincere hope that one day, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian children will play together in the Holy Land, no longer divided, no longer afraid, and no longer wondering if there will ‘really be a morning,” adding wistfully, “How I look forward to that day!”

Share

LOLJWC Partners with Tractor Supply Co’s to Collect Pet Food Supplies, Benefits Old Lyme Lyme Animal Control & Other Pet Welfare Organizations

Donate pet food at any Tractor Supply Co. to ensure puppies don’t have to eat pumpkins! Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash.

LYME-OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club is partnering with five Tractor Supply Companies to collect pet food and supplies to benefit Old Lyme Animal Control, Valley Shore Animal Welfare League and Barkville Dog Rescue.

The food/supply drive runs the whole month of October.

Tractor Supply Company stores receiving pet food and supplies are located in Old Saybrook, Colchester, Griswold, Guilford and Middletown stores.

Share

Reading Uncertainly: ‘The Meaning of Human Existence’ by Edward O. Wilson

Who are we?

Edward O. Wilson, the eminent Harvard biologist and noted student of ants, describes our strange species in a remarkable and memorable book. In 15 brief, succinct and challenging chapters, each less than 10 pages, he suggests that, at once, we are far more and far less than we imagine.

His is a daunting title but the contents live up to expectations.

First, far less: homo sapiens have existed through a modest six millennia, a mere blip in the 13-plus billion years of our universe, the 4.5 billion years of this earth and the 400 million years of other “species on earth.” And this earth is but a “mote of stardust near the edge of our galaxy (an estimated hundred billion star systems make up the Milky Way galaxy) among a hundred billion or more galaxies in the universe.”

And even among the other species here on this planet, “how bizarre we are as a species … we are chemosensory idiots” when compared to most of them. “Our species is almost unconscious of most stimuli.”

But we are unusual.

We have the “capacity to imagine possible futures, and to plan and choose among them,” the “ability to invent and inwardly rehearse competing scenarios of future interactions.”

Dr. Wilson compares the “humanities” to “science.” The humanities tell us “what,” “the particularities of human nature back and forth in endless permutations, albeit laced with genius and in exquisite detail,” while science increasingly is needed to tell us “why.”

Are we trapped in our own egos?

In Chapter 11, The Collapse of Biodiversity, we seem to be knocking off many species, only to find more.  But “ … without nature,  finally, no people!” “The human impact on biodiversity, to put the matter as briefly as possible, is an attack on ourselves!” This re-confirms the famous Pogo adage, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Wilson suggests we remember the acronym HIPPO: Habitat loss; Invasive species; Pollution: Population growth; and Overharvesting. These may be the most important challenges our species face.

Has the human creation of religions helped? Wilson is dubious.

Religion’s “history is as old or nearly so as that of humanity itself. The attempted resolution of its mysteries lies at the heart of philosophy.” But “the great religions are also, and tragically, sources of ceaseless and unnecessary suffering.”

He adds: “the true cause of hatred and violence is faith versus faith, an outward expression of the ancient instinct of tribalism. Faith is the one thing that makes otherwise good people do bad things.” Many will find this offensive but it is a considered opinion, backed up with solid examples. Wilson summarizes thus, “the best way to live in this real world is to free ourselves of demons and tribal gods!”

He returns to the balance of science and the humanities; the latter describe “the human condition,” while science “encompasses the meaning of human existence.”  We are “an accident of evolution,” from herbivore to carnivore, from wanderer to static, from small families to multiple “tribes.” And “when an individual is cooperative and altruistic, this reduces his advantage in competition to a comparable degree with other members, but increases the survival and reproduction rate of the group as a whole.” No wonder we have conflicting views of how to respond …

Dr. Wilson’s conclusion: “Are human beings intrinsically good but corrupted by the forces of evil, or the reverse, innately sinful yet redeemable by the forces of good? Are we built to pledge our lives to a group, even to the risk of death, or the opposite, built to place ourselves and our families above all else? Scientific evidence, a good part of it accumulated during the past twenty years, suggests that we are both of these things simultaneously. Each of us in inherently conflicted.”

“If the heuristic and analytical power of science can be joined with the introspective creativity of the humanities, human instinct will rise to an infinitely more productive and interesting meaning.”

After each chapter, I had to stop and reflect on Wilson’s ideas, taking many notes.

And I plan to re-read it in its entirety next year.

Editor’s Note: ‘The Meaning of Human Existence’ by  Edward O. Wilson, was published by W. W. Norton  & Co., New York, 2014.

Felix Kloman

About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction, which explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farm Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His late wife, Ann, was also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visited every summer.

Share

Listen Anytime on the Web to ‘CT Outdoors’ Radio Show About the I-Park Foundation

Suzanne Thompson (center) stands with her guests from I-Park Joann Paradis and Claudia Dinep.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to experience an unveiling of outdoor site-inspired artist creations, come to I-Park Foundation in East Haddam this Sunday for one of its free seasonal open houses. Learn about this fascinating preserve and visiting artists’ enclave on this week’s CT Outdoors with Old Lyme’s Suzanne Thompson.

Guests Joanne Paradis, I-Park Foundation executive director and Claudia Dinep, landscape architect and ecological design specialist also talk about plans underway for an accessible nature trail that winds through parts of the 400+ acre nature preserve.

You can listen to a recording of the show anytime on your PC or Mac anytime from the website, click the On Demand icon, look for pop-up screen from https://radio.securenetsystems.net and scroll to CT-Outdoors-91719—I-Park-Open-House.
For more information, visit i-park.org
Share

Old Lyme Historical Society Presents its 2019 Board of Trustees

Board members of the Old Lyme Historical Society for the coming year gathered for a photo recently in the OLHS building on Lyme Street. Photo by James Meehan.

The Old Lyme Historical Society (OLHS) has announced its 2019-20 board of trustees. They are pictured in the photo above:

Back Row: John Pote, Nicholas Westbrook, Ross W. Higgins, Mark Lander, Jill Pilgrim, Mark Terwilliger, Mary Ellen Jewett, Cynthia Taylor, Michaelle Pearson, Robert DiNapoli and James Meehan.

Middle Row: Skip Beebe, Kevin Cole, Alison Mitchell, Sandra Joncus and Ted Freeman.

Front Row: Dawn McCarthy, Edith Twining, Ann Marie Jewett, Katie Balocca and Elaine Stiles.

Missing from photo: Tim Griswold, Matthew LaConti, Todd Machnik and Andi Williams.

The OLHS officers for the coming year are:

Co-Chairs
Michaelle Pearson and John Pote
Treasurer
Ann Marie Jewett
Recording Secretary
Katie Balocca
Corresponding Secretary
Cynthia Taylor
Share