June 16, 2021

Legal News You Can Use: Basic Information About QDROs

When a couple is going through a divorce, they often know that they will need to divide their property and there may be decisions to make regarding child custody. However, they may not be aware of the requirements of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and its role in the divorce.

Retirement plan benefits

A QDRO is a domestic relations order that creates or recognizes an alternate payee’s right to receive all or some of a participant’s benefits under a retirement plan. It is completed after the divorce is final.

The alternate payee must be a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent of the plan’s participant. The QDRO may be included with the divorce decree, a property settlement or it can be issued as a separate order.

The QDRO must contain the name and mailing address of the participant and payee, the name of each plan the order applies to, the amount to be paid to the payee and the number of payments or time period for the payments.

The administrators of the retirement plan that provides benefits affected by the order have specific responsibilities. They act as plan fiduciaries, meaning that they act in the interest of the plan participant and the beneficiaries. They are required to provide notice to participants and alternate payees when they receive the order and information about how they determine the status of an order.

It is very important that QDROs are completed accurately and they can be very complex.

An experienced attorney can answer questions about the QDRO process, provide representation for divorce matters and help parties make informed decisions.

Attorneys at Suisman Shapiro can discuss the divorce process with you and answer your questions on the subject. Visit their website or call 800-499-0145 — lines are open 24 hours a day.

Sponsored post by Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law.

Ivoryton Playhouse Reopens its Doors with ‘Murder for Two,’ July 8

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse will open its doors for a five-play season on July 8.

Murder For Two by Kellen Blair and Joe Kinosian is a blend of music, mayhem and murder! In this hilarious 90-minute show, two performers play 13 roles—not to mention the piano—in a witty and winking homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries.

The New York Times calls it “Ingenious! A snazzy double-act that spins out a comic mystery animated by funny, deftly turned songs.”

Murder For Two was developed at the Adirondack Theatre Festival and 42nd Street Moon. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presented the World Premiere Production in May, 2011, which was extended four times and ran for more than six months. Kinosian and Blair were recognized with a 2011 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical.

Everyone is a suspect in Murder For Two – Ian Lowe*, who was last seen in Ivoryton in The Woman in Black — plays the detective, and Joe Kinosian* plays all 13 suspects and they both play the piano.

A zany blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery, this 90-minute whodunit is a highly theatrical duet loaded with laughs.

The show is directed and choreographed by Wendy Seyb, the set is designed by Martin Marchitto, lighting by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Elizabeth Saylor.

Murder For Two opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse July 8 and runs through Aug. 1, 2021. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. There will be one Thursday matinee on July 8.

The safety of the audience is the primary concern. Face masks are required at all times in the theatre. There is no intermission and no concessions will be sold. Eating and drinking are not allowed in the theatre. Socially-distanced  seats mean there are only 96 seats in the theatre for your comfort and protection.  To view the socially-distanced seating plan, follow this link.

The second show in the 2021 Summer Season will be:

by Emily Mann, adapted from the book “Having Our Say”
Aug. 12 – Sept. 5
A beautiful, funny and heartfelt family drama based on the bestselling memoir of Bessie and Sadie Delany – trailblazers, activists and best friends.

More shows will be announced soon.

Tickets are $55 for adults, $50 for seniors, $25 for students and are available on June 14 by calling the Playhouse box office at 860.767.7318. Tickets are not available online. Visit the website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org for more information. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity



Ledge Light Announces 2021 Mosquito Control Program, Free Larvicide ‘Dunks’ Offered to all District Residents

LYME/OLD LYME — Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) is offering mosquito control consultation services and larvicidal mosquito dunks to residents in Lyme and Old Lyme.

Ledge Light is also offering this service to the other towns LLHD services, i.e., East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, New London, North Stonington, Stonington, and Waterford.

Mosquito dunks are a larvicide designed to lessen the potential for West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Zika Virus. They are safe for use around the home because they utilize a naturally-occurring biological treatment to eliminate mosquitos before they become flying/feeding adults.

Ledge Light emphasizes that now is the time to be proactive about mosquito control because mosquitoes are just beginning to breed for the summer season.

Breeding sites include standing water in wetland areas or yard depressions, clogged rain gutters, empty garden containers, used tire piles, pool covers and tree holes.

It is important to empty standing water on your property once a week to eliminate potential mosquito breeding. When standing water cannot be removed, using a larvicide will eliminate immature mosquitoes before they can mature into flying adults. Flying adults are much more difficult and costly to eliminate.

Ledge Light Health District will provide to residents or homeowners association, free of charge:

  1. A site visit to assess standing water issues and make recommendations for eliminating mosquito breeding conditions
  2. An initial treatment with mosquito dunks*
  3. A season‐long supply of mosquito dunks, until our supply is eliminated.

*Note that the District will only provide larvicide dunks for standing water bodies less than 400 sq. ft. Application of the larvicide will be done by the homeowner.

For more information, contact Patti Myers, 860‐434‐1605 ext. 214 or visit the LLHD website: www.llhd.org, the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Website: www.ct.gov/mosquito or the CT DEEP Pesticide Management Program or Pre‐Notification Registry at 860‐434‐3369.

Reading Uncertainly? ‘And Yet . . . ‘ by Christopher Hitchens

Here is yet another compendium of literate, acerbic, often hilarious, and thoroughly opinionated essays from Christopher Hitchens, the UK-expatriate who moved to Washington for freedom from monarchy and amusement.

He died in 2011 at the youthful age of 62 but these essays will long outlive him.

He dissects both people (Che Guevara, Edward Kennedy, George Orwell, Barack Obama, Gertrude Bell, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, Ian Fleming, Edmund Wilson, and more) and places (Ohio, the Parthenon, Armenia, London, the South, and especially Washington).

His views and ideas always poke fingers into your mind.

Consider: (1) Turkey is “an army that has a country.” (2) “We live in a culture that’s saturated with the cult of personality and with attention to private life.” (3) “ . . . the great soap opera of our existence . . . .” (4) Leaders are “as much the prisoners of events as the masters of them.”

No holiday is exempt from his derision. Twice he lectures us against the celebration of Christmas. His favorite Protestant fundamentalist (Hitchens himself is an outspoken atheist) is Oliver Cromwell, who “banned the celebration of Christmas altogether.”

Hitchens also skewers himself, with three riotous chapters about his attempt toward self-improvement, readily acknowledging his three major flaws: smoking, drinking and gorging on fat food.

Yet he often sheds some new insight. He compliments Barack Obama’s rare qualities as, “…an apparently very deep internal equanimity, and an ability to employ irony at his own expense.”

Even while seeming certain, he acknowledges this, “… age of uncertainty which has now definitively become our age. It seems that there are no rules, golden or otherwise, even natural or otherwise, by which we can define our place in the universe or the cosmos.”

Do read these challenging essays, plus, if you are ambitious, try two of his earlier works, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever, and god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. That is correct, the word “god” is deliberately not capitalized.

Hitchen’s conclusion: “ …  internationalism is the highest form of patriotism.”

Editor’s Note: And Yet . . .’ by Christopher Hitchens was published by Simon & Schuster, New York in 2015.

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, Conn., he has recently moved to Peabody, Mass.
Felix now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction, a subject 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, while living in Lyme, served as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farm Coffee.
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.

The Farmer’s Market at Tiffany Farms Opens Saturdays for the Season

View of The Farmer’s Market at Tiffany Farms in Lyme.

LYME —‘The Farmer’s Market at Tiffany Farms’ in Lyme opens for the season this Saturday, June 12, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Vendors this season will include

  • Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm
  • Biscotti and Beyond
  • Bittersweet Farms
  • Chatfield Hollow Farm
  • Confections by Tonie Marie (new – confections!)
  • Dondero Orchards
  • Fat Stone Farm (returning!)
  • From the Farm
  • Long Table Farm
  • Maple Breeze Farm
  • Marna Roons. (New – macaroons!)
  • Sankow Beaver Brook Farm
  • TALK Seafood
  • Tiffany Farms Pasture Raised Beef (started in September and was a HUGE success!)
  • Traveling Italian Chef
  • Wave Hill Breads

Jennifer Tiffany, who runs the market with her husband Bill Hurtle, told LymeLine by email, “We have a well rounded list of returnees in addition to a couple of new vendors to fill our sweet tooth cravings!”

Bill Hurtle and Jen Tiffany who are preparing to open ‘The Farmers Market at Tiffany Farms’ on June 15.

Social distancing is requested and masks are optional.

“The Heart Seen ‘Round Lyme” looks out at the community from the silo at Tiffany Farms.

This year’ tag-line for the market is “Keeping the trade alive as stewards of the land.”

Editor’s Note: We wish Jen and Bill the very best on Opening Day and throughout the season, which lasts until mid-October.

Visit this link to read an article we published in 2019 about the inaugural season at The Farmer’s Market.


Lyme Academy Welcomes Community Back to Campus with Upbeat Concert

OLD LYME — Hundred came out yesterday evening to enjoy a free concert hosted by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts featuring singer Chris Gregor on guitar, who was followed by Brad Bensko and Kathleen Parks.

The crowd seemed genuinely pleased to be back on the grounds of the beloved institution, which has experienced a period of uncertainty in recent years as it transitioned back from a degree-granting college to a fine arts academy.

It was an evening for all ages …

… with something for everyone.

The music delighted the audience …

… and a wonderful evening was had by all.

There will be another free concert next Thursday evening, June 17, from 5 to 7 p.m. on the grounds of the Academy featuring the Java Groove.

Don’t miss it!

Lyme-Old Lyme HS Seniors Kick Off Graduation Festivities with Jubilant Parade

All photos by Michele Dickey, except where indicated.

OLD LYME — 6/12 UPDATED: MORE PHOTOS ADDED Parents and townspeople came out in throngs yesterday evening to cheer the Lyme-Old Lyme High School seniors as they drove their cars through Old Lyme in a jubilant parade to celebrate their upcoming graduation this evening.

Cars were gaily decorated …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Old Lyme Emergency Services participated with their usual vigor …

The Old Lyme Fire Department helped out as always …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

It was a huge parade …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

…which wound its way down Lyme Street.

They rode solo …

They rode in twos here …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

… and twos there.

They rode in threes …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

… and fours …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

… and more!

In fact, they rode in crowds!

… and such a great time was had by all.

It was a Grand Parade indeed …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Spirits were high …

They waved …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Photo by Liz Frankel.

They cheered …

And the cars just kept on coming!

and coming …

and coming …

Still more …

They stood proudly atop this jeep …

and that car …

and that truck ..

and these ones too!

Even the Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall joined the celebrations to offer its own words of congratulations …

It was indeed a night to remember!

Two Lyme-Old Lyme HS Grads Selected for Team US Men’s Eight Competing at Tokyo Olympics

LYME/OLD LYME — In a truly remarkable achievement, two Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) graduates have been selected to represent the US in the Men’s Eight at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Austin Hack, LOLHS Class of 2010.

Austin Hack, who graduated from LOLHS in 2010, and Liam Corrigan, a member of the LOLHS Class of 2014, both rowed for LOLHS and then went on to represent their respective universities at Stanford (Hack) and Harvard (Corrigan).

Hack is the only returning member of the 2021 US Men’s Eight. He was a member of the 2016 US Men’s Eight team, which came in fourth in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil.

His list of rowing accomplishments is encyclopedic with an abbreviated version including membership of the following national teams: Junior, 2009-10; Under 23, 2011-12; Senior, 2013-15, 2019; and Olympic, 2016, 2020.

In terms of international results, Hack finished fifth in the the eight at the 2019 World Rowing Championships and also fifth in the four at the 2019 World Rowing Cup II.

He won bronze in the eight at the 2016 World Rowing Cup II and won the eight at the 2016 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta.

Going back further than 2016, the list is equally extensive and can be viewed in detail at this link.

Hack has been working part time for McKinsey and Company, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, he was living and training in Old Lyme. Part of his training was on a bicycle adapted by Steve Morrissey of Old Lyme on which Hack ultimately set new records on all the Strava segments in town.

Asked how they felt about their son, Austin, and Corrigan’s success in being named to the US Men’s Eight, Dr. Gregory Hack and Dr. Barbara Hack told LymeLine exclusively, “We are beyond thrilled for both Austin and Liam! On the men’s side of rowing, the US will only be sending an 8+ and a 4- to Tokyo.  To think that of those 12 seats, two of them will be occupied by sons of Old Lyme is just incredible!”

The Hacks added, “It’s a testament not only to their grit and strength, but also to their years of training/coaching starting right here at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.”

Liam Corrigan, LOLHS Class of 2014.

Corrigan graduated from Harvard with an honors degree in Physics and Astrophysics and while at Harvard, he was captain of the men’s crew.

Since graduating, he has moved to Oakland, Calif. to train with the men’s training center for the upcoming Olympics. His accomplishments with Team USA include finishing fourth in the pair at the 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, placing fifth in the four at the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships, taking eighth in the pair at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and finishing ninth in the eight at the 2014 World Rowing Junior Championships.

Corrigan recently rowed in the men’s four that won the B final at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

Responding to a question about how they felt after learning Liam had been selected for the US Men’s Eight, Brian and Joan Corrigan said, “It is difficult to describe how overjoyed and proud we are to see Liam on his way to achieving goals, which he set for himself many years ago. We have watched him work diligently over the years, and are ecstatic that he is finding success.”

They noted, “We are grateful to LOLHS, the Old Lyme Rowing Association (OLRA) and the Town of Lyme for their support over many years,” concluding, “We feel so fortunate to live in such a wonderful community.”

Liam Corrigan is at the front right of this photo of the Harvard boat.

Speaking on behalf of the OLRA, Candace and Paul Fuchs commented, “‘The Old Lyme Rowing Association is bursting with pride over the dedication and perseverance of our athletes and their families, which brought us to this historic moment. In partnership with the Town of Old Lyme and Regional School District 18, our little organization is pleased to provide a place for big kids to play and find success.’

Sadly, neither family can attend the Olympics in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, but Barbara and Greg Hack ended their email to us enthusiastically with the words, “Go Old Lyme!  Go USA!”  We wholeheartedly second that sentiment and wish Austin and Liam every success in their Olympic endeavors!

Editor’s Note: Old Lyme Rowing Association (OLRA) oversees LOLHS crew, and Blood Street Sculls. Blood  Street Sculls was established by Fred Emerson (on Blood Street) around 1965, for the cultivation of rowing for local high school students, college students and adults.  

Some of the country’s most notable athletes called Blood Street Sculls home in the early days including  Jim Dietz who is one of the most decorated scullers in US history (named to three US Olympic teams).  

A strong supporter of the nascent sport of women’s rowing, Fred Emerson organized some of the first  women’s national championships to be held on Rogers Lake in 1971, which included athletes who would  ultimately represent the US in Olympic competition.  

Blood Street Sculls was an incubator for rowing programs for high schools and colleges across New England. USCGA and Connecticut College got their start in this manner.

Anita DeFrantz first learned to row as a Connecticut College student, rowing on Rogers Lake. DeFrantz went on to represent the US in the 1976 women’s eight. She was a vocal legal authority when US athletes were prohibited from  competition in 1980 and she has risen through the ranks of international rowing and is currently the vice  president of the IOC.  

Significant achievements — excluding those by Hack and Corrigan —  by OLRA athletes since 2000 include:

Olympic Athletes
2008: Andrew Bolton Men’s lightweight four spare
2012: Sarah Trowbridge Women’s Open double sculls  

World Championships  
Sarah Trowbridge: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011  

Under 23 World Championships 
Hannah Paynter: 2019  

Junior World Championships  
Christiana Congdon: 2017  

Since record-keeping was initiated in 1997, over 100 athletes in OLRA programs have gone on to  represent their university in collegiate rowing competition.  

Paul Fuchs, Director of Rowing, holds the men’s lightweight course record for Head of the Charles, and competed on seven US World Championship teams. He has coached at the Olympic and World  championship levels and serves on the Executive Council of FISA, the international governing body for  the sport of rowing.

After Year of Closure, Gillette Castle Interior Re-opens to Public 

Harold “Tyke” and Theodora “Teddie” Niver – appearing as William and Helen Gillette – stand on the terrace overlooking the Connecticut River at the century-old home of the late Connecticut actor. After a year of pandemic-imposed closure, the structure has re-opened for the 2021 season. Photo courtesy of Kelly Hunt, Capture the Moment Photography.

EAST HADDAM/LYME, Conn. – For the first time since late 2019, Gillette Castle has re-opened and will be available for public visits during Gillette Castle State Park’s regular opening hours, park officials said. 

Because of the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mansion built a century ago by the late stage actor William Gillette remained closed throughout 2020 in accord with Connecticut’s official policy for all indoor facilities associated with state parks. 

The park’s grounds are open from 8 a.m. until sunset daily, offering visitors a chance to use the park’s varied hiking trails, stroll around Gillette’s unique home and perhaps spot the eagles that frequently nest with their young along the river at many times of the year. 

Self-paced tours of the structure are to be conducted from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily, with each day’s final tour starting at 4 p.m. After Labor Day, tours will be conducted only on weekends through Columbus Day. Tickets are $6 and may be obtained at the Castle entrance on the day of visit. 

State officials report that ticket sales will also be available for pre-purchase for up to 12 individuals for specific time slots at 15-minute intervals. To guarantee a slot, advance purchase is recommended. To pre-reserve, guests in time will be able to check online at the Reserve America website (tinyurl.com/4ty5e59p) under “Gillette Castle State Park Tours.” 

The official opening was May 29. A limited “soft opening” of the structure’s interior was held one week earlier allowing park officials and tour guides to practice their presentations with members of the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park, who received a “sneak peek” in exchange.

Most Connecticut state park buildings, museums, nature centers and other enclosed structures were opened on Memorial Day weekend. Under the state’s guidelines, six feet of social distancing must be maintained at all times while inside park buildings. Masks will be required inside the structure, regardless of vaccination status.

“The home of William Gillette is the true centerpiece of this wonderful park, and it was frustrating for us not to be able to share this jewel’s inner beauty and wonders with everyone,” said Lynn Wilkinson, president of the Friends organization. “Now, thanks to a lot of hard work by many people, we’re excited to say that it’s ready to go back on display.”

The park is nestled between the towns of East Haddam and Lyme. Many of its trails follow a former railroad bed created for a narrow-gauge track installed by the late Connecticut stage actor, who built his castle-like home atop one of the Seven Sister Hills along the river. 

Trail maps and videos of the estate may be found on the Friends website at www.gillettecastlefriends.org. Those interested in becoming a Friends member may sign up online or download a mail-in application form at the website, or direct their questions to info@gillettecastlefriends.org or (860) 222-7850. 

The organization’s mission includes the preservation, restoration and conservation of the historic structure and its scenic grounds. The all-volunteer, nonprofit group works in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Memberships help to finance park and structural improvements while preserving the estate and Gillette’s legacy.

‘Witness Stones’ Celebration Highlighted Installation of Plaques Marking Sites of Enslavement in Old Lyme

Katie Huffman, Director of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, welcomes guests to the ceremony, the inaugural event for the library’s new patio. All photos from the ceremony courtesy of the Florence Griswold Museum.

OLD LYME – The Old Lyme Witness Stones Partnership held an installation ceremony last Friday, June 4, celebrating the town’s newly installed Witness Stones—historical plaques commemorating the lives of 14 individuals, who were once enslaved on Lyme Street.

The project expands the understanding of local history and honors the humanity and contributions of those formerly held in bondage.

The Witness Stone honoring Jenny Freeman at 32 Lyme Street, corner of Beckwith Lane.

Members of the Old Lyme community gathered on the lawn of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library to honor these people, who collectively represent just some of the individuals once enslaved along today’s Lyme Street:

  • Cato
  • Lewis Lewia
  • Humphrey
  • Caeser
  • Jack Howard
  • Jenny Freeman
  • Luce
  • Crusa
  • Nancy Freeman
  • Temperance Still
  • Jane
  • Pompey Freeman
  • Samuel Freeman
  • Arabella.

This plaque commemorating the life of the enslaved Jack Howard is located at 5 Lyme Street, which is the parsonage of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The program included music, poetry, and words from community partners. World-renowned soprano Lisa Williamson sang the spiritual, Deep River, and the hymn, Amazing Grace.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Chorus, under the direction of Laura Ventres, contributed to the program.

Twelve members of the Old Lyme Middle School chorus, led by Laura Ventres, also contributed to the program.

Seated from left to right are soprano Lisa Williamson, poets Marilyn Nelson, Rhonda Ward, and Antoinette Brim-Bell ready to participate in the Installation Ceremony for Witness Stones Old Lyme.

Distinguished Connecticut poets Antoinette Brim-Bell, Marilyn Nelson, and Rhonda Ward read new works capturing the unheard voices of those enslaved in Lyme and Old Lyme.

Carolyn Wakeman, co-chair of Witness Stones Old Lyme and Historian, with Katie Huffman, Director of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library.

These poems, by Antoinette Brim-Bell, Marilyn Nelson, Kate Rushin, and Rhonda Ward and created with support from a Health Improvement Collaborative of Southeastern Connecticut (HIC) Partnership Grant for Racial Equity, brought vividly to life experiences, attitudes, and emotions long ignored and then forgotten.

Poet Rhonda Ward read her poem in honor of the life of one of the enslaved people.

Seventh-grade students from the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School read biographical poems they wrote to tell the life stories of Jenny Freeman and Lewis Lewia. Using primary documents, the students researched these two enslaved town residents, making the story of local slavery tangible, personal, and relevant to their own lives.

Michelle Dean, Director of Curriculum for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, introduces the seventh-grade student poets.

Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Director of Curriculum Michelle Dean commented, “The collective level of engagement and discovery of the students on this project is something you don’t get to see that often.  They have done a wonderful job.”

Meanwhile, LOL Schools Social Studies teacher Health Saia, noted, “It has been thrilling seeing the a-ha moments the students are having as they go through the primary documents and meet Jenny Freeman and Lewis Lewia.”

Olivia Hersant, a LOL Schools Language Arts teacher,  added, “It’s been exciting. The students are learning and thinking deeply about topics that we didn’t learn about until we were adults.”

Pat Wilson Pheanious, Co-Chair of the Witness Stones Project’s Board of Directors, speaks at the ceremony.

Each Witness Stone on Lyme Street includes the name of an enslaved individual, along with important details about their lives and circumstances derived from land records, emancipation certificates, and other available historical documents.

These four Witness Stones are on the lawn of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The small brass plaques, embedded flush with the ground, have been placed primarily on the west side of the street for pedestrian safety.


An interpretive sign, pictured above, has also been installed on the lawn of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library providing a map of the Lyme Street enslavement sites.

The Old Lyme Witness Stones Partnership’s goal is to expand the understanding of local history and honor the humanity and the contributions of those formerly enslaved in the community.

The partnership’s founding members include the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, the Florence Griswold Museum, the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, and the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Community partners include the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, and the Old Lyme Historical Society.

Editor’s Note: For further information on the Witness Stones project, visit their just-launched website at this link.

June 3 COVID-19 Update: No Towns in State Now in Red Zone, No New Cases in Lyme, Old Lyme

This map, updated June 3, shows the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks. Both Lyme and Old Lyme are still in the (lowest) Gray Zone. (Only cases among persons living in community settings are included in this map; the map does not include cases among people who reside in nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.) Map: Ver 12.1.2020 Source: CT Department of Public Health Get the data Created with Datawrapper. Details in italics are the same for each of the maps shown.

LYME/OLD LYME — UPDATED 06/05: The report issued Thursday, June 3, by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks shows another dramatic improvement for the state as whole with not a single town remaining in the Red Zone (indicating the highest COVID-19 new case rates) and just one, Waterbury, in the Orange Zone.

Both Lyme and Old Lyme remain in the Gray (lowest rate) Zone for two-week new case rates. It is the fourth week for Old Lyme in that Zone, but Lyme is in the Gray Zone for a 12th straight week. It is very encouraging to see this number increase from 110 towns last week to 145 this week.

Neither Lyme nor Old Lyme reported any new cases in the June 3 report meaning Lyme holds steady at 107 cases and Old Lyme at 342, and in more good news, no COVID-19 deaths have been reported statewide in the past two days.

Twenty-one towns are now in the Yellow Zone, down from 48 last week. They are: Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bloomfield, Brooklyn, Coventry, Cromwell, Derby, East Hartford, East Haven, Granby, Hamden, Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Putnam, Rocky Hill, Shelton, Waterford and Windsor.

  • The Gray category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is less than five or less than five reported cases.
  • The Yellow category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between five and nine reported cases.
  • The Orange category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is between 10 and 14.
  • The Red category is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town exceeds 15.

In all cases, this rate does not include cases or tests among residents of nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.

Below is the map from last week that showed one town in the Red Zone, Putnam, and 10 towns in the Orange Zone.

This map, updated May 27, shows the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19 by town during the past two weeks. Both Lyme and Old Lyme were still in the (lowest) Gray Zone. (Only cases among persons living in community settings are included in this map; the map does not include cases among people who reside in nursing home, assisted living, or correctional facilities.) Map: Ver 12.1.2020 Source: CT Department of Public Health Get the data Created with Datawrapper. Details in italics are the same for each of the maps shown.

Compare the maps above with the one we published Dec. 18, 2020 to see the remarkable progress that has been made with controlling the spread of the virus through expansion of vaccination rates and improved mitigation strategies.

Map of Connecticut dated Dec. 17, 2020 showing both Lyme and Old Lyme now in the CT DPH-identified ‘Red Zone.’ This is defined as when the Average Daily Rate of COVID-19 Cases Among Persons Living in Community Settings per 100,000 Population By Town is over 15.

Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) also issued their latest weekly report of COVID data for the municipalities within their District.

Lyme, Old Lyme and North Stonington remain the only towns in the nine-town district, which are reported to have less than five new cases in the past two weeks.

Ledge Light Director of Health Stephen Mansfield prefaces the report with the comment, “We are happy to see a continued decrease in the number of new cases throughout our jurisdiction and encourage everyone to get vaccinated!”

Mansfield also notes, “The demand for vaccine is declining, and many providers are reporting that they have unfilled vaccination appointments at scheduled clinics. At this time, LLHD is vaccinating all individuals 18 and older.”

He adds, “Information regarding vaccination opportunities and other relevant information can be found at https://llhd.org/coronavirus-covid-19-situation/covid-19-vaccine/

The following link provides centralized access to Connecticut COVID data: https://data.ct.gov/stories/s/COVID-19-data/wa3g-tfvc/

Vaccination rates in Lyme and Old Lyme are also extremely encouraging with 80.22 percent of the population in Lyme having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and the equivalent number for Old Lyme being 71.63 percent.

These are some of the highest percentages in the state.

Letter to the Editor: Recognize the Past, Look to the Future; CT House, Senate Have Both Now Passed Resolution on Racism, Why Hasn’t Old Lyme BOS?

To the Editor:

The Witness Stones project, which was dedicated last week on the library grounds, demonstrates that Old Lyme residents recognize a non-revisionist view of an unfortunate part of our town’s history.

We should place a capstone on that project, and publicly acknowledge that, in Old Lyme, all residents may avail themselves of the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race, color, or creed. Aren’t these our values? Note that Connecticut did block the importation of slaves in 1774, and began a gradual emancipation in 1784.

That said, we call upon the BOS to take one additional symbolic step and finally support the Resolution that’s been on the table for the past few months.

Also note that, earlier this month, both CT’s House and Senate affirmed racism as a public health crisis, and resolved to convene a panel to study the effect of racism on health care.

Paraphrasing, the past need not always be a prologue to the future.

Respectfully submitted.


Christina J. & Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

‘Lymes Creative Arts’ Kicks Off Summer Arts, Music Programs for Students

Teens and preteens here will have a variety of ways to participate in visual arts and m
usic this summer thanks to a new collaborative effort,
Lymes Creative Arts. The initiative presents in one place all available arts and music opportunities in the two towns, including several new programs created based on feedback from a student survey.

The initiative is designed to reduce barriers to participation such as access to program options, time availability, and financial hardship.

Lyme-Old Lyme High Schools Art Department Head Will Allik will lead a Caricature Workshop during this summer’s Lymes Creative Arts programming.

Programming includes an outdoor arts studio, music club, and workshops such as a Caricature Workshop directed by Lyme-Old Lyme High School Art Department Head Will Allik, and a Ukulele Workshop led by Braiden Sunshine.

All programs can be found at https://lysb.org/TeenArts

The initiative is the creation of Sustainable Old Lyme and Sustainable Lyme, and partners with numerous organizations in the two towns including Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau (LYSB), the towns’ public libraries, Music Now Foundation, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, and Lyme Parks & Recreation.

The initiative began with a survey of 6th to 12th grade students in the two towns to see what arts and music programming students interested them, what programming they currently participate in, and reasons why they may not participate.

Forty percent of respondents replied they did not know how to find arts programming they would be interested in, 33 percent felt they were not talented enough to pursue the creative arts they were interested in, and 15 percent felt their family could not afford outside-of-school arts programming. 

“It was important to us that those students, who may not have the resources to participate, could easily do so without a lot of hoops to jump through,” said Cheryl Poirier, Sustainable Old Lyme’s chairperson.

“There are kids who rely on parents to know their interests and find fun things to do in the summer, and there are other kids, who don’t have that advantage. Our goal has been to make the program accessible to all,” she said.

‘The Voice’ finalist Braiden Sunshine will teach a Ukele Workshop this summer.

With the help of interested students, new summer programming was developed for all levels of ability, affordable options were created, and a communications plan was developed to get information out to students where they can find it, including social media and in-school posters. 

“This has truly been a community collaboration ꟷ from local arts institutions to our Student Advisory Committee, we have tried to craft a program that will have something for everyone,” said Liz Frankel, the Sustainable Lyme Action Lead.

She added, “Having students involved at every step, from developing the needs assessment survey, to including them in our planning meetings, and engaging their input on the initiative name and marketing, has been an invaluable inclusive process,” she said.

The program comes at a time when educators and youth service providers are concerned about the well-being of children and young adults following the increased social isolation during the pandemic.

Grant funding for summer programming to address the issue has become available through the American Rescue Plan. Lymes’ Youth Service  Bureau (LYSB) is the distributor of the local funding. 

This summer more than ever our teens need a creative outlet,” said Mary Seidner, LYSB’s Executive Director.  “LYSB is pleased to help facilitate the funding and scholarships for Lymes Creative Arts to offer creativity and community engagement for our middle and high school students. said Mary Seidner, LYSB’s Executive Director. 

Both Old Lyme and Lyme have town-wide efforts to achieve certification levels with Sustainable CT, a state-wide initiative that highlights municipalities that embrace a variety of sustainable practices, including community engagement with the arts.

One of the “actions” municipalities can embrace toward their certification is Arts Programming for Youth. Sustainable CT also rewards inclusive processes and collaborative efforts between municipalities, such as the one Lyme and Old Lyme have taken with Lymes Creative Arts. 

To learn more about the Lymes Creative Arts programming, visit https://lysb.org/teenarts or email LymesCreativeArts@gmail.com. Additional programming is expected to be added throughout the summer and updates will be posted on the Lymes Creative Arts Facebook page.

To learn more about Sustainable CT go to SustainableCT.org.

Powers Runs ‘The Perfect Race’ (Daquila), is CIAC Class S 400m State Champion, Sets New Lyme-Old Lyme HS Record

Aidan Powers is the 2021 Class S 400 meter State Champion and also the new Lyme-Old Lyme High School 400 meter record holder.

LYME-OLD LYME — Senior Aidan Powers set a new Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) record in the 400 meters today with a blistering time of 51.3 seconds at the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) Class S championship, which was held at Willow Brook Park in New Britain, Conn.

Additionally, Powers is the Class S state champion in the 400 meters after finishing in first place in Class S.

Asked how he felt about this remarkable result, LOLHS Track Coach Aron Daquila responded exclusively to LymeLine, “Aidan is such a smart runner and has so much grit. He ran the perfect race yesterday.  The 400 is a long sprint and requires strategy.  He started strong, but in control, and when he hit the back stretch, he really exploded off the turn. He’s been training all season for that race and all that hard work really paid off.”

Daquila added, “But Aidan doesn’t quit. He turned around after that individual performance to run the anchor leg of the 4×400, where he gave his all, again, and helped his team earn a spot at the state open next week. It truly was a team effort, Aidan, [fellow senior] Gabe Lavioe, [junior] Nevin Joshy and [sophomore] Dylan Sheehan each ran great legs.”

As a result of these placements, both Powers and the relay team will now advance to compete in the 400 m and 4 x 400 m races at the CIAC State Open next Wednesday.

Powers plans to attend Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in the fall.

Huge congratulations to Aidan and the relay team, and good luck on Wednesday!

Lyme-Old Lyme Girl’s Tennis are Class S State Champions for First Time in School History!

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Girl’s Tennis team poses with the Class S state championship trophy yesterday after defeating Litchfield 5-2.

LYME/OLD LYME — The top-seeded Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) girl’s tennis team became the CIAC Class S state champions yesterday for the first time in school history when they stormed to  a 5-2 victory over #2 seeds Litchfield yesterday.  The tournament final was played indoors at the Magic Lincer Tennis Club in Manchester.

The Old Lyme girls finished the season undefeated at 20-0 and also won the Shoreline Conference title along the way.

Asked how she felt about this extraordinarily successful season, team coach Lauren Rahr, who is also a math teacher at LOLHS, responded, “It has been such an amazing season with a wonderful group of girls. When I woke up this morning I still couldn’t believe that we actually won a state tournament!”

The LOLHS Girl’s Tennis Team first-year coach Lauren Rahr accepts the Class S state championship trophy after her team’s win Thursday.

She continued, “This year was my first year coaching tennis. Previously, I had played tennis for Waterford High School and Endicott College. It was always my dream to teach math at a high school and coach their girls tennis team. Being hired at Old Lyme provided me with the opportunity to pursue these goals.”

Rahr added, “Going into this season, I didn’t want to let the girls down, and I hoped that they would all get along and win some matches. But what actually happened this season was more special than I ever imagined. The minute I saw them play and really compete on the court I knew we had something special.”

Describing the team overall, Rahr said, “Out of my 10 starting varsity players, one had competed in a varsity high school match before this season. There was a lot of nerves and inexperience when it came to match play, but each practice we ran mental toughness drills or talked tennis strategies to help bring the girls to the level they competed at all season long.”

Noting, “Tennis is such a wonderful sport because anyone can step on the court and swing a racket, Rahr pointed out, “But what makes a tennis player special is when they can analyze their short and their opponent’s shots. I like to call this “smart tennis” and by the end of the season all of my girls had accomplished this. Our change over conversations went from me doing most of the talking to them giving me detailed recollections of things they noticed and strategies they were using.”

In terms of statistics, Rahr recalled that, “During the regular season, the team competed at a high level winning 11 of their 16 matches 7-0. Three of my players went on to win the Shoreline conference individual tournament: Lauren Wallace and Alexis Fenton won the doubles draw and Samantha Tan won the ¾ singles draw.” She highlighted, “These three players were able to remain undefeated in post-season play as well as regular season. Livie Bass (four singles) was undefeated in team matches and clinched us both our semi-final win and our finals win.”

The LOLHS Girl’s Tennis team members deservedly celebrate being #1 in Class S statewide!

Talking specifically about the championship final, Rahr said, “Yesterday, every single girl went out on the court fighting not just for themselves, but for the team. This group of girls has passion, drive, and huge hearts. I feel so lucky and honored to have been able to coach them this year.”

She explained further, “During yesterday’s match, we knew winning doubles would put us in a good spot. My number one doubles pair of Lauren Wallace and Alexis Fenton won their match in record time, executing flawless doubles strategies, placement, and communication. Their win drove the momentum in our direction for the remainder of the match.”

She summed up Wallace and Fenton’s performance in the words, “Their leadership throughout the season has been a big part of our success.”

Rahr concluded, “This is one of those once in a lifetime moments that I will never forget, and I hope the girls will always remember too. No matter what else comes my way with coaching, I don’t know if anything can top this moment with this special group of girls.”

A la Carte: A Special Soup for Summer … Asparagus, of Course!

Lee White

I had promised to send you my friend Stacie’s flan recipe, but time, as often, got away from me last week. 

Perhaps I was dreaming about a  book I just finished reading, “We Begin at the End,” a sort-of growing up and murder mystery recommended by my good buddy, Rick Koster of The Day. Or maybe I was thinking about a new novel I am reading now, “The Plot,” written by an author whose books I have loved.

This one is a novel inside a novel written by an author who is writing a novel. I even went out for a late lunch/early dinner with friend Ginger Smyle.  After our meal, we got bought  ice cream in Mystic, and sat on a bench beside the Mystic River, pretending we were tourists.

But most of all, I am dreaming about vegetables, for my CSA begins in a couple of weeks.

There weren’t be many veggies ready for my weekly trip to Stone Acres in Stonington, so I drove to Trader Joe’s and bought a few packages of their frozen vegetables (almost as good as the ones we will get at the farm markets by mid-July).

And in the supermarket I bought what is still available or somewhat is local: asparagus.

I will cook as much asparagus as I can, because it will not be fairly local until next spring. And remember, those skinny stalks are not as delicious as the fat ones. Break the bottom at the point where it wants to, then use a potato peeler up to about an inch of the “flower.”

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Adapted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child (Alfred Knopf, New York, 1994)

Yield: about 2 quarts

1 cup sliced onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh asparagus, washed, bottom broken and peeled about an inch from top “flower”
2 quarts lightly salted boiling water
2 tablespoons flour
freshly ground white pepper (black if you don’t have white)
½ cup heavy cream, crème fraiche or sour cream, optional*

Cook onions and butter until tender and translucent. In the meantime, cut the tender green from the asparagus tips; drop the tips into boiling water and boil 2 minutes, or barely tender. Dip out with a skimmer, reserving water, and refresh tips in bowl of iced water to set the color; drain and reserve.

Chop the remaining stalks into one-inch lengths and add to the onions with a sprinkling of salt. Cover and cook slowly 5 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Remove from heat, and, when bubbling stops, blend in the hot asparagus cooking water (I skim the water into the mixture.) Simmer, uncovered, 25 or 30 minutes, or until tender enough to puree.

When the mixture is a bit cooler (maybe 15 minutes), pour into blender (or use a soup blender). If you like the soup clearer, you can use a sieve or Foley Food Mill. The soup will be a lovely pale green color—to keep it that way, reheat it only just before serving. Carefully correct seasonings.

You can serve this soup hot or cold.

If you are using cream, crème fraiche or sour cream and serving it hot, gently reheat the soup and add the cream just before serving. If you are serving the soup cold, refrigerate the soup and swirl in the cream before serving. To decorate each bowl of soup, garnish with the asparagus tips.

*The soup does not need cream but it is delicious. Another way to use the cream is to swirl a little cream into each bowl before adding the asparagus tips.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years, but now lives in Groton, Conn.

Good to be Back! Old Lyme’s Memorial Day Parade Sparks Smiles All Around

All photos by Michele Dickey and Suzanne Thompson.

OLD LYME — Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and as parade-watcher Lauren Girasoli announced cheerfully, “I think people were just happy to be out seeing each other, and it wouldn’t have mattered if nothing had come down Lyme Street!”


This comment was a reflection of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced cancellation of the parade last year and has kept most people confined to their homes for the past 18 months.

As Old Lyme Selectman Chris Kerr said at a recent board of selectmen’s meeting, “People need this parade.”

And although the weather did not cooperate fully, people did indeed come out to view the parade.

It was the familiar parade, but there seemed to be more of it: the high school band played longer in one place and there were more antique cars and fire trucks.

Members of the Old Lyme Historical Society make their final preparations for the parade. Photo by James Meehan.

And how about that robotic dog that pranced in front of a softball team like a realistic-but-headless greyhound? (See photo above.) What was that all about?!

At the cemetery, the winning contest winners who read their essays were high school students.

They spoke on different topics in an unsurprisingly more sophisticated tone than the usual elementary school students, who traditionally read their winning essays on the subject, “What Memorial Day Means to Me.”

The late Old Lyme Fire Department Chaplain Mervin Roberts was sadly missed, and the very recently-appointed new Chaplain wisely did not try to fill his shoes and speak.

Everyone was invited to join the band and Lyme-Old Lyme High School Select Singers in singing the Star-Spangled Banner. It felt so wonderful!

Songs, speeches, the raising of the flag, the laying of a wreath – all much the same as two years go, but oh, so welcome this year.

The combined bands of LOL High and Middle Schools played the Star-Spangled Banner during the Memorial Day ceremonies at Duck River Cemetery. Photo by James Meehan.

The cemetery ceremony lasted over an hour.

How good it was to be back!

Brian and Lauren Girasoli enjoy the parade with their daughter, Cecilia.

Many thanks indeed to all, who made this happen.


A View from My Porch: Epic Poems of Folk and Rock Part 3 — The Rock and Roll War

Editor’s Note: This is the third column by Tom Gotowka under the heading, ‘Epic Poems of Folk and Rock.’ Find Part I  at this link and Part II at this one.

I continue the “epic poems” theme in this essay, but shift to the epic works of conflict; focusing on the rock and roll genre, as influenced by the Vietnam War.

In review, Part 1 presented several works of folk music that, I felt, were the natural successors of the epic poems of antiquity. In Part 2, I considered how America became entangled in the Vietnam War, as a prerequisite for this review of the music of that war.

Epics of the Vietnam War Era:

As noted last time, Stars and Stripes” called Vietnam “the first rock and roll war”. I present, in the following, some of the music that supports that contention. I provide some context for each song, and include a sample of the lyrics, trying to ensure that the sample still conveys the original message.

Some of the lyrics are a little gritty, and the context may be troubling, but they’re included to fully illustrate the era, not to offend the reader. So, here’s the war in six songs.

“Fortunate Son”: Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)

Photograph of Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968). L-R: Tom Fogerty, Doug Clifford, Stu Cook, and John Fogerty.

When John Fogerty wrote the song, draft deferments were undoubtedly on every teenaged American boy’s mind. His lyrics support the men who served in Vietnam, but condemn the “children of privilege” (i.e., “millionaire’s son”), who used that privilege to “dodge” the draft.

Pulitzer Prize winning Vietnam War correspondent, David Halberstam, reported that the ways in which draft-age men received deferments favored those who were wealthier and more educated. For example, able both to remain in college full-time, and then pursue advanced degrees after graduation; and thus, qualifying for student deferments. 

In addition, those same young men could obtain deferments for physical problems, even untreated bone spurs, more easily than could poor or working-class men; and, “rather than trying to convince a draft board that they were physically unable to serve in the military, they could just get a note from their family doctors”. 

“Some folks are born, made to wave the flag;
they’re red, white and blue.
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”,
they point the cannon at you, Lord!
Some folks are born, silver spoon in hand;
Lord, don’t they help themselves?
But when the taxman comes to the door,
the house looks like a rummage sale.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me;
I ain’t no millionaire’s son.
I ain’t no fortunate one”.

“Feel Like I’m Fixing’ To Die Rag”: Country Joe McDonald ​(1965)

In this dark parody of the war, Country Joe (and the Fish) demonstrate the hopelessness that many Americans felt toward the War. The artist touches on, albeit, sarcastically, several important war themes in the full seven verses: the government notion that going to war was in the country’s best economic interest; and, consequently, the support from Wall Street, weapons manufacturers, and an “overly aggressive” Pentagon. 

The song also has the distinction of having been performed twice at Woodstock, and I have corroboration from a very reliable eye witness, my wife, Christina, who was present at those “3 Days of Peace & Music” in the Catskills, in 1969.

“Well, come on all of you big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He’s got himself in a terrible jam, way down yonder in Vietnam.
So put down your books, and pick up a gun,
we’re going to have a whole lot of fun.
And come on mothers throughout this land, pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on pops, don’t hesitate, send them off before it’s too late.
And then, it’s one, two, three, what are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.
Next stop is Vietnam!
And it’s five, six, seven,
open up the pearly gates.
Well, there ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we’re all going to die.”

“Revolution”: The Beatles (1968)

Trade ad for Beatles’ 1964 Grammys. Public Domain.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song to demonstrate their strong objection to the increasingly violent protests that had occurred in response to the war.

To illustrate, in April, 1965, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), held its first national protest march in Washington, DC. Co-sponsored by Women’s Strike for Peace, 25,000 attended.  After this peaceful protest march, SDS grew increasingly militant, and their tactics then included the occupation of college administration buildings on campuses across the country. The 1968 violence at Columbia University is covered in “The Strawberry Statement”, by James Kunen (both book and movie).

On Oct. 21, 1967, over 100,000 protesters gathered at the Lincoln Memorial; and later that same night, over 35,000 of the group marched on to the Pentagon for a second rally, where they sparked a violent confrontation with the soldiers and U.S. Marshals protecting the Pentagon complex. Nearly 700 demonstrators were arrested. 

Notably, the demonstrations produced the famous “flower power” photograph of a protester placing a flower in a paratrooper’s M14 rifle barrel. 

On March 17, 1968, 10,000 protesters demonstrated in Trafalgar Square against American action and British support in Vietnam. This was followed by 8,000 protesters marching to the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square; where a fierce battle with riot police and mounted officers ensued.

In August 1968, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, bore witness to a series of riots, involving tens of thousands of Vietnam War protesters, both during and before the convention. Eight protest leaders were tried on charges of criminal conspiracy and incitement to riot. 

The eight eventually became the “Chicago Seven”, after convictions were overturned because of procedural errors and Judge Hoffman’s “overt hostility to the defendants”.

Tragically, on May 4, 1970, just four days after President Nixon announced the escalation of the war into Cambodia, four students at Kent State were shot by National Guardsmen during a protest.

“You say you want a revolution.
Well, we all want to change the world.

You say you got a real solution.
Well, we’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution.
Well, we’re all doing what we can; but, 

if you want money for people with minds that hate;
all I can tell you is, brother, you have to wait.
When you talk about destruction,
don’t you know that you can count me out?
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao;
you aren’t going to make it with anyone, anyhow.”

“Ballad of the Green Berets”: Barry Sadler (1965)

The United States Army Special Forces, the “Green Berets”, are the Army’s special operations group, whose mission extends well beyond conventional warfare. 

In May 2004, a plaque was dedicated at Fort Campbell, honoring the 695 Green Berets killed in action, and the 79 missing in action during Vietnam.  Of the MIA, only three soldiers have been recovered. 

“Ballad” is a patriotic tribute to our soldiers in Special Forces, and one of the few popular songs of the Vietnam War era that portrays the military in a positive manner. 

Sadler served as a medic with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and his song, written to boost morale among our troops in Vietnam, also served as the inspiration for the John Wayne movie, “The Green Berets”.

“Fighting soldiers from the sky, fearless men who jump and die.
Men who mean just what they say; the brave men of the Green Beret.
Silver wings upon their chest; these are men, America’s best.
One hundred men we’ll test today, but only three win the Green Beret.
Trained to live off nature’s land; trained in combat, hand-to-hand.
Men who fight by night and day, courage peak from the Green Beret.”

“I Ain’t Marching Anymore”: Phil Ochs (1965)

Ochs was the “iron man” of “protest” singers; and, in his career, performed, as a “regular” at anti-war, civil rights, organized labor, and women’s rights events. 

I believe that this is his best; or at least his best- known anti-Vietnam War song; and it became an “anthem” at rallies and protests. 

The song is really a treatise on the entirety of American conflict, and he casts himself as a tired soldier, who has fought in each American war, beginning with the battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. And on through both world wars.

He performed the song in August 1968, during the violent protests outside the Chicago Democratic National Convention, and, it is claimed, inspired hundreds of young men to burn their draft cards (really). He later described it as the highlight of his career.

“Oh, I marched to the battle of New Orleans,
at the end of the early British wars;
the young land started growing, and
the young blood started flowing,
but, I ain’t marching anymore.

I’ve killed my share of Indians, in a thousand different fights.
I was there at the Little Big Horn;
I heard many men lying, I saw many more dying;
but, I ain’t marching anymore.

Chorus: It’s always the old who lead us to war;
it’s always the young to fall.
Now look at all we’ve won with the saber and the gun.
Tell me, is it worth it all?

I stole California from the Mexican land,
and fought in the bloody Civil War.
I even killed my brothers, and so many others;
but, I ain’t marching anymore.

I marched to the battles of the German trench,
in a war that was bound to end all wars. 

I must have killed a million men, and now they want me back again;
but, I ain’t marching anymore.

I flew the final mission in the Japanese skies, and
set off the mighty mushroom roar.
I saw the cities burning, and 

I knew that I was learning;
that I ain’t marching anymore

Call it peace or call it treason,
call it love or call it reason;
but I ain’t marching anymore.”

“Born in the USA”: Bruce Springsteen (1984)

Bruce Springsteen performing at Roskilde Festival 2012. Photo credit: Bill Ebbesen. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

I present “Born” as the anchor of the song list because Springsteen’s focus is on America’s poor treatment of returning Vietnam War veterans. The lyrics are an account of the disrespect those veterans faced on their return home to a society that was largely opposed to the war. 

This song may be one of the most misinterpreted songs in rock and roll history. Since its release, the song’s chorus has been omnipresent at political rallies; and heard as a celebration of American life. The anti–war message is rooted in the verses, and may have been lost early on, because the song was released about a decade after the war ended.

The song is consistent with what I noted last time in “Working-Class War”, by Christian Appy; who observed that the typical U.S. soldier in Vietnam was from a poor or working-class family; a large portion were from the inner cities and factory towns. 

In the first verse, Springsteen introduced the story of a young man, born into a failing American town, who was apparently abused by his family. In some trouble, he is ordered by the courts to enlist rather than serve time. His brother, or close friend, is killed in action. 

He returns home after the war, can’t find a job, and is treated with indifference by the V.A. The final verse describes his progression into despair.

“Born down in a dead man’s town; the first kick I took was when I hit the ground.
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much,
until you spend half your life just covering up.
Got in a little hometown jam; so, they put a rifle in my hand.
Sent me off to a foreign land; to go and kill the yellow man.
I had a brother at Khe Sanh, fighting off the Viet Cong.
They’re still there, he’s all gone.
I came back home to the refinery; hiring man says “Son if it was up to me”.
I went down to see my V.A. man; he said “Son, what don’t you understand”?
In the shadow of the penitentiary; out by the gas fires of the refinery.
Nowhere to run, and nowhere to go.”

Author’s Notes:

Unlike Bruce Springsteen, I am not certain whether the courts can, or ever did, require enlistment in lieu of serving time for a criminal infraction.  If so, I can’t imagine that these individuals would be considered high value recruits. A large portion of the opposition to the war was the onus of the draft. I was not able to find reliable data on the portion of draftees, versus voluntary enlistees, in Vietnam, as opposed to prior, or subsequent (e.g., Afghanistan) wars.

I only included works that I could directly attribute to the writer’s reaction to the war. Clearly, there was a wealth of additional music that was popular at the time and was probably listened to regularly by soldiers in Vietnam.   For example, I included nothing by the Rolling Stones; and did not consider “We Gotta Get out of this Place”, by the British group, The Animals, although the song has been part of the sound tracks of many productions about the war. 

If you want to explore a very realistic production, I recommend “Hamburger Hill”, which is a highly accurate 1987 movie about the 1969 assault by the Army’s “Screaming Eagles” Battalion on a well-fortified enemy mountain position. The editors dramatically incorporated the music of the day into their soundtrack.

I was a “fortunate one” — the United States Navy and the military provided financial support and enabled deferments for over 10 years of advanced education. I had agreed, up front, to repay that support in service, which I’ve previously said was at a Naval Hospital.

My next “View” will be of the remarkable changes that have occurred in CT’s hospital and healthcare landscape I think that hospital advertisements on local newscasts now exceed those for replacement windows. 

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Thomas D. Gotowka.

Tom Gotowka

About the author: Tom Gotowka’s entire adult career has been in healthcare. He’ will sit on the Navy side at the Army/Navy football game. He always sit on the crimson side at any Harvard/Yale contest. He enjoys reading historic speeches and considers himself a scholar of the period from FDR through JFK.

A child of AM Radio, he probably knows the lyrics of every rock and roll or folk song published since 1960. He hopes these experiences give readers a sense of what he believes “qualify” him to write this column.

New ‘Family Club of CT River Valley’ Formed in Response to National Mom’s Club’s Intransigence on Racism,

Members of the new Family Club of the Connecticut River Valley share a smile in this photo taken when they gathered on the beach with some of their children. From left to right are Maraia Ener; Charity Archbald; Danielle Kuczkowski; Rachel Kaplan; and Jolene Brant. All photos submitted.

LYME/OLD LYME/AREAWIDE — The regional Connecticut Chapter of the Moms’ Club has been around for some 12 years and during that time, has supported many women as both new and seasoned moms. Recently, however, it took the difficult decision to leave the national umbrella of Moms’ Club and break away to form the Family Club of the Connecticut River Valley (FCCRV.)

Stefanie Hill, FCCRV Administrative Vice President, explained to LymeLine that this was not a decision taken lightly, noting that there had always been times when it was easier to look the other way when it came to the national Moms Club’s messaging and policies. For example, she pointed out, “We were not allowed to meet more than once a month during evenings or weekends because we were supposed to be at home supporting our husbands.”

Hill added, “We also assumed it was just old wording, which stated that the club was only “for at-home moms,” because our own club welcomed working moms.”

Club members could live with those things, she said, but then came the summer of 2020 when a major racial reckoning surfaced in the US. Understandably, Moms Clubs all across the country started discussing their response to this situation since, Hill said, “As moms, this affects us because we are actively raising children — the next generation in our society.”

One Club Chapter in California decided to make a simple statement and promise, “We stand with all moms and pledge that racial discrimination will stop with our kids.”

The national Moms Club, however, decided not to permit use of that statement and determined, to quote Hill, that, “Somehow standing for basic human rights is “political activity.”

The national Club took things even further, saying in a nutshell that if individual Clubs did not agree with the national position, then they should leave.

And so, over 200 chapters (including the regional Connecticut chapter) and thousands of members did leave due to the national Club’s stance that race itself is political and discussions about racism should not be entertained.

The local Old Lyme-Old Saybrook Moms Club took a vote among their own members and decided unanimously to leave the national club because, in Hill’s words, “We felt strongly that we needed to hold the organization, which we were a part of, accountable. Silencing conversations about race in our homes is harmful because silence is exactly how racism has continued to be so pervasive in our country.”

She added, “While we may think we are teaching “color blindness,” we are instead ignoring the realities of both personal and systemic racism that continue to harm people of color.”

Hill continued, “As parents we have the power to change the narrative for our children – that all skin colors, religions, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and identities are valued. We are a part of a collective society and injustice towards those other than ourselves should not be ignored.”

The new Family Club of the Connecticut Valley organizes a variety of activities during the year. Here children of members are seen exploring the riverside during one of the events.

After the decision had been taken to leave the national Club, board members from the local club took up the call to action to form a more inclusive group.

In many ways the FCCRV is similar to the previous structure, which supported moms through making connections, but now it welcomes in addition dads and anyone serving in a parent role.

The mission statement of the FCCRV is, “… to create and promote a supportive network of families in the Connecticut River Valley, emphasizing inclusivity, diversity, kindness, and community engagement, to strengthen our parenting experiences and enrich the lives of our children.”

Hill emphasized the FCCRV is not a social justice club but they will not quash conversations about race as an essential parenting issue,” but instead encourage them.

She added, “While change is never easy, adapting is necessary … Family Club is choosing not to live in the past but instead to hope for a better future for all children. There is still a movement for social justice happening in our country that can’t be ignored. And parents in our communities still need support.”

Jolene Brant of Old Lyme, president of the newly-formed club, summed up her own feelings on creating the organization, saying, “I feel like now that we have created the Family Club, friends are joining and our membership is growing.”

The FCCRV now has some 30 members and welcomes new ones from Old Lyme, Lyme, East Lyme, Waterford, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Chester, Deep River, and Essex. Many parents in the club are new parents or have elementary aged children, but parents with children of all ages are welcome.

Events hosted by members are held during the day, on weekdays or weekends to suit the varying schedules of members but monthly “social” meetings generally take place after school or on weekends to try and accommodate the most families. Evening ‘happenings’ for adults only are typically organized once a month and range from trivia nights to dessert and drinks.

One of the Club’s service activities was preparing flowers for the residents of Essex Meadows.

The Club plans two to four service projects a year to participate in the local community. One of these was preparing flowers in vases to take to the residents of Essex Meadows along with examples of artwork created by members’ children.

During the month of May, the FCCRV hosted a highly successful Diaper Drive to benefit the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries. The Drive not only raised funds bit also collected over 2,000 diapers for families in need.

Looking to the future, Brant concluded on a positive note, saying, “We are making an impact in the community with our outreach efforts, we are here to make our community stronger, and we are providing families with as much support as possible. I feel like we are making a difference, and I feel a sense of accomplishment.”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link for more information about the Family Club of the Connecticut River Valley, including details of how to join.

Death Announced of Judith Fay Lightfoot of Lyme; Nationally-Recognized Civic Leader, Former President of High Hopes, Lyme Public Library, Numerous Other Organizations

Judith Fay Lightfoot

LYME — Judith Fay Lightfoot, civic leader, mentor, friend, and beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, died on May 19 at age 81 at her home in Lyme, Connecticut. Intelligent, caring, generous, and grateful until her last breath, Judy moved in the world with deep optimism, love, and grace as she tirelessly and determinedly worked to make that world a better and more beautiful place. A natural leader with a brilliant, ever-present smile, she inspired all who crossed her path, whether family, friend, colleague, or stranger, to discover and share their best selves. As one family member wrote, “Saying she had a way with people would be a tremendous understatement. She showed us the way with people.”  

Born September 14, 1939, in New York City, Judy was the adored daughter of Robert L. Fay and Margaret Leavenworth Fay and older sister of Robert L. Fay, Jr. She attended public schools in Rye, New York, and Wallingford, Connecticut, and the Day Prospect Hill School in New Haven, where she was valedictorian and class president. She attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 1959, she married Richard Lightfoot, moving with her new husband to Hawaii, where he was teaching, and then to Massachusetts so he could attend law school. In 1961, she wholeheartedly embraced her role as a mother with the arrival of their first child, Alexandra, who was followed in short order by Elizabeth, Ann, and John. 

Even as she was busy providing idyllic childhoods for her four children, and later providing worlds of joy and magic for her 13 grandchildren, Judy found time to make a profound difference in the communities around her. Long active in civic matters, she served as president and trustee of High Hopes Therapeutic Riding of Old Lyme; president and trustee of The Lyme Public Library; president and trustee of North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International), Denver; president and trustee of Horses and Humans Foundation, Cleveland; trustee of Day Prospect Hill School, New Haven; secretary and trustee of Hopkins School, New Haven; secretary and trustee of Lyme Public Library Foundation, Lyme; and president of the Westchester, New York, Council of Junior Leagues. In recognition of her service on behalf of people with disabilities, Judy was invited to the White House for the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and in 1995 was honored with the James Brady Professional Achievement Award, which recognizes contributions made in the field of equine assisted activities and therapies. In 1998, she was cited for her public service by The Hartford Courant, and the Board of Directors’ conference room at the Lyme Public Library is named in her honor.

Although Judy’s list of accomplishments is long, it was her gift for galvanizing others to work together to create lasting change that made her presence in any community so invaluable. As an early volunteer for what was then known as LCVERA (Lower Connecticut Valley Educational Riding Association) and later became High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Judy saw the transformative potential of therapeutic riding and helped the program grow into the international leader it is today. In her roles at NARHA and Horses and Humans Foundation, she elevated the conversation about the human-animal bond and skillfully and strategically engaged others in this work. During her 31 years of service to the Lyme Public Library, most of them as Board President, she helped the library win multiple awards for excellence, obtain important collections, and raise funds for the construction of a new, 6,800-square-foot, state-of-the-art library and community center, an undertaking she first championed and then helped shepherd through construction and completion. 

Together, Judy and her partner-in-all-things, Dick, spearheaded countless friend- and fund-raising events to support the nonprofits they believed in, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars and engaging thousands of new volunteers and friends so these ventures could live on and grow well beyond Judy’s and Dick’s involvement. A natural-born teacher, Judy was brilliant at inspiring others to hone their own special gifts, encouraging them to share their talents in collaborative support of the common good. A friend and colleague who worked with her on a local board described Judy as a “community icon.” Another who served alongside her on a national board wrote about her “boundless kindness, leadership, analytical ability, and humor,” adding that she was “unmatched as a mentor and a role model for many of us.” 

Outside of her public roles, Judy was a great friend to all children, giving every young person she encountered the gift of unconditional love. A true baby-whisperer, she was able to calm the most colicky infant and redirect the most obstinate toddler, and among her greatest joys was welcoming a new family member into the world. Even in her last days, Judy was never happier than when she looked into the eyes of a baby, whether those eyes were in a photo or on the face of her first great-grandchild, at whom she beamed with unbridled delight in the days before she died. 

Dick and Judy started out their married life in Honolulu and, over the last two decades, enjoyed spending winters on the island of Molokai, which reminded them of the Honolulu of the late 50s. Throughout their marriage, they enjoyed travel to destinations across the globe, including Brazil, Egypt, Greenland, Kenya, Niger, and Thailand. 

Much as she loved Hawaii and discovering new places and people, though, Judy loved her home in Lyme the most. Her fervent wish, expressed repeatedly over the years, was that she be able to spend her final days at Twin Brooks Farm, the bucolic property she and Dick have called home for 35 years. Her family is thrilled that she got her wish, and they thank her caregivers, Larissa Kilassonia, Siba Sibiya, Mary Mather, and Lynn Farrell, for their invaluable assistance in making it possible. 

Judy is survived by her husband of 61 years, Dick, and their four children and their spouses, Alexandra Lightfoot (Thomas Kelley) of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Elizabeth Lightfoot (Nicholas Clements) of Lyme, Ann Lightfoot (Faulkner Hunt) of Lyme, and John Lightfoot (Apollonia Morrill) of Berkeley, California. Also surviving her are 13 grandchildren, Bowen, Aidan, and Hugh Kelley; Graeme, Isabel (Kevin Smith), Alastair, and Honor Clements; Joab, Henry, Agatha, and Beatrice Hunt; Rose and Olive Lightfoot; and one great-grandchild, Finn Smith. Her brother, Robert L. Fay, Jr. and his wife Carolyn, of Northford, Connecticut, and their family also survive her. 

A memorial service will be held at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Road, Old Lyme, Connecticut, on Sunday, June 27 at 3 p.m. Masking and social distancing guidelines will be in place. The family invites donations in Judy’s memory to High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, 36 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371, the Lyme Public Library Foundation, 482 Town Street, Lyme, CT 06371, or Molokai College and Career Club, 2140 Farrington Avenue, Hoolehua, HI 96729.