January 16, 2018

Annual Winter Lecture Series on Natural, Industrial and Maritime History Starts Jan. 14

Falls River Cove during the spring floods.  Courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Essex Historical Society, Essex Meadows and Essex Land Trust co-sponsor, “Follow the Falls River: Natural, Industrial and Maritime History,” this year’s Annual Winter Lecture Series.

ESSEX – Explore Essex’s rich history along the Falls River in the popular Winter Lecture Series presented by Essex Historical Society (EHS), Essex Meadows and Essex Land Trust (ELT), Sundays, Jan. 14, 21 and 28, at 3 p.m. Each illustrated talk will feature in-depth discussion of the resources – natural, human or industrial — along the waterway that ties together the town’s three villages. 

Titled, “Follow the Falls,” the series is part of a year-long collaborative program between EHS and ELT.  All lectures are held at Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, at 3 p.m. on those Sundays.  The programs are free and open to the public. 

The series begins on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 3 p.m. with “Falls River Cove Estuary,” led by naturalist Phil Miller of Bushy Hill Nature Center.  Mr. Miller will describe the flora, fauna and ecology of the Falls River Estuary and will elaborate on the area’s natural resources that were ideal for settlement by both Native and European populations. 

On Sunday, Jan. 21, at 3 p.m., Brenda Milkofsky will present “Enterprise and  Industry Along the Falls River,” an examination of the mills, forges, cottage industries and larger manufacturies all powered by this dammable waterway with its natural falls.  Ms. Milkofsky, the Founding Director of the CT River Museum, elaborates on the work of Bill Grover, a partner in Centerbrook Architects, a firm located on the site of various industries.  She will explain how the development of all three of Essex’s villages depended upon harnessing the Falls River’s waterpower.  

The series concludes on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 3 p.m., as Dr. John Pfeiffer, Professor Emeritus, Archaeology, Wesleyan University, will address the historic Williams Shipyard at Falls River Cove and Osage Trails Preserve. Dr. Pfeiffer will explain how the shipbuilding complex’s foundations still lie beneath the river’s silt.  Examining the site in detail paints a vivid picture of early interdependent maritime trades, all operated by one family from 1790-1845 – a thriving, pre-industrial complex paralleling the village’s growth as a seaport community. 

All lectures are held in beautiful Hamilton Hall, Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, Essex.  Free and open to the public.  More information can be found at www.essexhistory.org or by calling Essex Historical Society, 860-767-0681.

Share

Happy New Year!

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

We wish all our readers, advertisers and friends a very Happy New Year 2018.

We hope it brings you and yours peace, good health and happiness.

Thank you for all your support this past year and we look forward to serving you with even stronger coverage of the towns of Chester, Essex and Deep River next year.

Share

Tickets on Sale Now for Presentation by Psychic Medium, Jan. 21; Proceeds Benefit Deep River Library

DEEP RIVER — The Friends of the Deep River Public Library will present a gallery-style reading with psychic medium Stephanie Burke on Sunday, Jan.21, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Richard Smith Town Hall Auditorium in Deep River. Tickets for this fundraising event are $40 per person and available for purchase at the Deep River Public Library.

Burke was born intuitive and has been able to see, hear, feel and communicate with the other side for as long as she can remember. She now uses her gift to help others understand that death doesn’t mean the end, but rather a new beginning.

She has had the opportunity to help families, historical societies, corporations and television shows with her gifts.

Along with her mediumship, Burke has been practicing Reiki for 10 years, helping others heal and regain balance to their energy. She is also a co-host of WBSM’s Spooky Southcoast Radio and has made appearances on TLC’s Kindred Spirits, Destination America and Syfy channels.

Don’t miss out on this enlightening experience!

Proceeds from this fundraiser go directly back the library to finance future library programs.

For more information, call the Deep River Public Library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pmTuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

Share

Reading Uncertainly? ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles

“By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration – and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.” This is the theme of a compelling, engrossing, and forever cheerful story of an Russian aristocrat condemned to lifetime “house arrest” in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel in 1921.

Through the eyes and experiences of Count Alexander Rostov, in five segments (1921-22; 1923-46; 1950; 1950-53; and 1954), we are treated to a history of Russia, the Soviet Union, European literature, art, music, medicine and architecture. And dining: the Count becomes the Head Waiter at the hotel’s superlative dining room. An entire chapter is devoted to the creation of a sumptuous bouillabaisse – a foodie’s delight!

Consider this analysis: “Surely, the span of time between the placing of an order and the arrival of appetizers is one of the most perilous in all human interaction. What young lovers have not found themselves bat this juncture in a silence so sudden, so seemingly insurmountable that it threatens to cast doubt upon their chemistry as a couple? What husband and wife have not found themselves suddenly unnerved by the fear that they might not ever have something urgent, impassioned, or surprising to say to each other again?”

The good Count is forever curious, of people, events, and changing circumstances. On reading: “After all, isn’t that why the pages of a book are numbered? To facilitate the finding of one’s place after a reasonable interruption?” On how he spends his time: “dining, discussing, reading, reflection.” On history: “the business of identifying momentous events from the comfort of a high-backed chair.” On life itself: “ … life does not proceed by leaps and bounds. It unfolds. At any given moment, it is the manifestation of a thousand transitions.” And, given his confinement, also exercising: squats and push-ups every morning, plus climbing stairs to his attic rooms.

Towles names the Count’s barber at the hotel, Yaroslav Yaroslavl, provoking my own recollections of travel in Russia, first to St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) at its Hermitage in 1984 and later to Moscow and Yaroslavl in 1992. And the Count also states emphatically that, “all poets must eventually bow before the haiku,” a statement which — as a modest haiku composer myself — I endorse with pleasure!

So the Metropol becomes hardly a “prison” for Count Alexander, but rather it is his own wide, wide world.

One unusual note: all chapters have titles beginning in the letter A. And the end of the story has an unnamed lady waiting for the Count. But we know her name both begins and ends with an A …

The keynote of the eminently readable novel is “Montaigne’s maxim, that the surest sign of wisdom is constant cheerfulness.”

Editor’s Note: ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles is published by Viking, New York 2016.

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 that 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 Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.

Share

Essex Savings Bank Chester Branch Celebrates Fifth Year Anniversary

CHESTER — On Dec. 14, 2012 the Chester Branch of Essex Savings Bank first opened its doors to the public.

On Nov. 28, the Branch held a gathering to celebrate their 5th anniversary. Joining the branch staff in hosting the evening were members of the Bank’s Board of Directors as well as numerous Bank employees. The overall turnout for the evening was outstanding with over 100 RSVPs from residents and businesses throughout the local area. In addition, all three Selectwomen from the Town of Chester were available to help celebrate.

Guests enjoyed refreshments provided by local businesses The Villager and The Chester Bottle Shoppe. There was also a raffle with Chester themed gifts and gift certificates from The French Hen, Lark, Simon’s, The Wheatmarket, The Villager and Chester Finders’ Market.

The evening provided the opportunity to thank the customers and businesses in Chester and the surrounding towns for their support over the last five years.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Division, Essex

Share

Letter From Paris: Deaths of Two Icons Leave a Nation in Mourning

Nicole Prévost Logan

From Les Invalides to the Champs Elysees, intense emotion grips France at the passing of two iconic personalities.

Within 24 hours France lost two familiar figures: Jean d’Ormesson, 92, man of letters, and Johnny Hallyday, 74, the popular singer who, for almost 60 years, enthralled millions of fans. The intensity of the emotions was incredible. For a week, politics, wars, economic crises, were suspended and replaced by an immense sadness, which united the nation. No matter how different the two men were, they shared a great simplicity and the gift of connecting with the people.

It is not unusual for the French to express their collective grief in the public place. In 1885, two million people attended the national funerals of Victor Hugo. Simone Weil, the courageous woman who showed exceptional fortitude in her public life by being a pioneer of the right to abortion, received the highest honors by being laid to rest in the Pantheon. In 1963, a human tide surged toward the Pere Lachaise cemetery to say goodbye to Edith Piaf.

Count Jean d’Ormesson

Count Jean d’Ormesson, at age 48, was the youngest “immortal” to enter the Academie Française – a literary institution created by Louis XIII to uphold the French language. He died as the dean of that 40-members council. Son of a French ambassador, d’Ormesson was part of the French aristocracy, with degrees in history and philosophy. He directed the conservative daily Le Figaro, became a prolific writer, publishing a book per year, with the last one completed three days before his death. His smiling face and piercing blue eyes were a familiar sight for the viewers of countless televised literary shows, such Bouillon de Culture, Apostrophe or La Grande Librairie.

An elegant conversationalist, he spoke with wit, lightness, and optimism. His remarks, studded with literary quotes, included gems of uplifting philosophy, such as,”Life is beautiful because we are lucky to die”, and “In the New Testament, the myth of the Wandering Jew is condemned to immortality by Jesus.”

During the strikingly sober ceremony, in the courtyard of the Invalides, a small group of guests, representing the world of politics and culture, stood stoically, whipped by a glacial wind. The eulogy given by French president Emmanuel Macron, matched the literary sophistication of the deceased academician.

Johnny Hallyday was a monument in France with an amazing longevity. From the first time he appeared on the stage at age 17, this blond, tall young man became an adulated performer and he remained a star for almost 60 years. For millions of fans, his disappearance meant the loss of a chunk of their own life. Fighting lung cancer for several years, in spite of the terrible pain, he continued performing until the very end. People thought he was indestructible, hence the extreme shock people felt when they learned about his death on Dec. 6th.

Abandoned by his father at the age of eight months, Hallyday did not grow up in the security of a proper family but bounced around from one relative to another. A cousin gave him his stage name.

Facts about his career are staggering: more than 28 million spectators attended the 3,300 concerts he gave in 40 countries; he sold 110 million records. He had a real talent in choosing the best composers and song writers, which allowed him to produce 1,000 songs, many of them in Gold albums.

Johnny Hallyday

Hallyday went through all the styles of music from rock n’roll, pop, blues, soul, country, and hard rock. Among the best known hits is, “Ah Marie, si tu savais, tout le mal que l’on m’a fait” (Ah, Marie, if you only knew how much they hurt me) about a young man, fighting in the WWI trenches and writing to his fiancee.

It is a paradox that, in spite of his love for the US, that country barely knew him. Driving full speed on his Harley Davidson with his buddies from the Midwest to California was one of his greatest pleasures. He sang with Sammy Davis Junior. Michel Berger wrote for him a song called “On a tous quelque chose de Tennessee” (We all have something of Tennesse.) The lyrics recall lines from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

He spent the last 10 years of his life in Los Angeles, Calif., with Tom Hanks and Ben Affleck as neighbors and only returned to France to perform in concerts. Some of his concerts became giant productions of a size never seen before. The absolute zenith of his career was right after France won the soccer World Cup in 1998 when Hallyday flew over the Stade de France by helicopter and was lowered into the hysterical crowd.

The public funeral of Hallyday was an incredible spectacle offered to millions of fans. The cortege moved slowly down the Champs Elysees, led by a white coffin. This was followed by a caravan of black limousines filled with family, close friends and dignitaries and then – even for people who do not particularly like motorcycles – the incredible sight of 700 bikers, who had come from all over France.

On the steps of the Madeleine church, President Emmanuel Macron, paid his respects to the rock star and invited the crowd to bid farewell to “Mr. Johhny Hallyday.”

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

Share

Community Renewal Team Accepting Submissions for 2018 National Arts Program Through Jan. 11

AREAWIDE — For 27 years, Community Renewal Team (CRT) has served as the sole host in the state of Connecticut for the annual National Arts Program® (NAP), providing an opportunity for local artists to showcase their art within the community.

Professional artists, along with youth, teens, amateurs and intermediate artists from Middlesex and Hartford counties are invited to submit their work now for the 2018 art show, which will be on display at Capital Community College (950 Main Street in Hartford, CT) from Jan. 19 – Feb. 7, 2018.

All forms of visual arts are accepted for this show; from paintings and photographs to sculptures, crafts and textiles.

Applications are being accepted until Jan. 11, 2018, and it is free to submit work for the show.

The NAP provides materials and funding for this visual art exhibit, including cash awards totaling $3,450.

More information about how to get involved in the 2018 National Arts Program is available on the CRT website at http://www.crtct.org/en/events/national-arts

Share

Local Auditions to be Held Monday for Ivoryton Playhouse ‘Women Playwrights Initiative”

IVORYTON — On Monday, Jan. 8, the Ivoryton Playhouse will be holding auditions for local actors to participate in its Second Annual Women Playwrights Initiative.

Beginning on Sunday, Feb. 25,  actors will have the rare opportunity to work with a director and writer on a new play in a workshop setting, and on March 2  and 3 perform a staged reading for the public. This is an exciting project and there are a limited number of roles available. Looking for women and men aged 30 – 60+, all ethnicities.

Bring a picture and resume and a short monologue. Sides will be available.

Open call – no appointment necessary. Check the Playhouse website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org for casting breakdown.

Auditions will be held at the Ivoryton Playhouse Administrative Offices, 22 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT on Monday, Jan. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, email info@ivorytonplayhouse.org

Share