My wife and I celebrated our 35th anniversary this past weekend-well, I celebrated. I think my wife might have put on a brave front and made the best of it all. We have shared twenty-one of our years together as residents of The Rose of New England, raising two children (she did most if not all of the heavy lifting), our son, Patrick, and daughter, Michelle, to adulthood. Both attended the now closed and gone Buckingham School, then it was on to Kelly Middle School and Norwich Free Academy.
I thought a lot about the years and the changes those years have brought that she and I have seen since arriving here while enjoying glorious autumn New England weekend weather (unless you were from Stamford). Don't get me wrong. When it comes to winter and snow I am not now nor have I been a fan since I spent thirteen months in Greenland back in the middle Seventies while wearing Air Force blue. Oddly enough, it doesn't keep you warm-trust me on that.
But this weekend was special. Autumn is a good time to pause and take stock of where we have been and where we are going as the days, already short, seem to grow more so as Daylight Savings Time ends (a week from this coming Sunday) and the calendar fills with holidays. I was thinking about who we were when we first arrived here and some, and most certainly not all, the people we have been in the ensuing years.
We've lived on the same street for all this time, surrounded by friends and neighbors who raised their families here as well. Our part of the street had all, or most, of the children back in the day and everybody went to school together and after school everyone played with everyone else to include a homegrown specialty, "Home Run Derby." It was, I believe, unique to our block and played almost all year round. It had more to do with being neighbors than it ever had to do with baseball. That was then and Home Run Derby is a memory .
All of our children are grown now and almost all of them are gone, some near and others far, many with families of their own. Our part of the street is quiet now as most of the school-age children live on the other end and their laughter and shouts carry to where we sit in our quiet houses waiting for what happens next.
We intellectually accept the notion of change without ever really accepting that change is like the ripple from a pebble in a pond and begins at the center, in the case of a community, with each of us and radiates outward. It's all well and good to talk about the importance of 'investing in education' but if you will not concede that such an investment could mean your taxes will rise, all the talk is worthless.
We can spend as many hours as you'd like talking about the way things were in Norwich and play Pin the Blame on the Passing Years while dreaming and scheming of better days, but unless and until each of us can let go of hurt and hard feelings from decades of decisions whose intentions may have been laudable but whose outcomes were less than optimal we'll keep circling for a landing without ever arriving. There is no standing still-if we will not move forward we shall fall behind and once that happens we end up very close to where we are right now.
Look around-Accept that the colorful leaves on the trees fall to the ground and turn brown but realize by so doing they permit the budding of the next spring and assure a new beginning.