Looking Back And Thinking Ahead



It’s that time of year again. We realize that another year has gone by. I have saved every issue of the Heritage Villager hoping to put together a scrapbook of my writing. Alas, I’ve not been successful. I’m always too busy thinking. Thinking back tugs at my heart strings

and looking ahead is the way to grow.

In the first month of 2019, articles in the Heritage Villager brought to mind two amazing men. Villager Marvin Shapiro who is still writing and Phil Rothman who passed away on Oct. 19, 2019 will always be tied together by a common thread. They were both writers whose work was printed in the Heritage Villager. Both were also often attendees at various “Monologues” functions where they read their original pieces to the audience. I thought about both of them quite a lot after I saw Marvin at Phil Rothman’s “Tribute to Life,” which was a very uplifting experience.

“Are you still writing?” he asked. He then went on to tell me that he spends time with a group in Watermark and writes once a week. Marvin and Charlotte Shapiro let the Village in latter part of 2018.

The last time I saw “Musings with Marvin” in print was in the first issue of the Heritage Villager printed in 2019. He wrote about his work at Focus, which began around 2004. Focus and channel 14 have become a very important part of Village life. “The equipment was from ancient times, that is, from the age of analog. Remember the VHS tape?” he wrote. Then he read it at “A Memorable Morning at Monologues,” which appeared in the Jan. 18 issue.

Phil Rothman was a contributor as well. That day he read a piece in rhyme about a ride on the subway. The very crowded train went uptown, and there was no pole to hold on to. The rider lost his balance and bumped into someone’s tushie. There was a friendly conversation and they met again. There were wedding rings.

In the Sept. 6 issue the article entitled “Focus on Focus” makes Villagers aware that Focus continues to grow. Click on your remote and get to channel 14 and the carousel appears. Marcia Brooker, who is chair of Focus, spoke about “Discovery.” Discovery is the brainchild of Charlotte Shapiro and Brooker, who interviews many interesting people. Villager Ed Edelson is the producer of “On the Town,” a program which links the Village to the town of Southbury.

Highlighted in many 2019 Heritage Villagers were commentaries and photos noting the beauty of our surroundings. I take time to peep out our windows every day and appreciate our variety of views. In the April 19 issue a photo of daffodils appeared on the front page of the Villager. Also featured was an article about the opening of the River Garden. Villagers took the first steps needed for veggies and flowers to grow! The May 8 cover showed forsythia in full bloom.

Cheers for the delights of summer, and in the two August issues home gardens were featured. Move over famous botanical spaces and make room for fantastic flower gardens in different areas of the Village. Three photos were shown on the front page describing Mother Nature’s magnificence. We found it in the garden areas of Mother Mary Ellen Cheh. Mama Cheh and Mama Nature worked together. We ambled on to the work of art created by Mervyn Clay. There were others, and each one had areas that caught our eye. Autumn brought us memorable color, and winter presented an early wonderland of white. In the April 19 issue writer Vic Walton described his experiences as he wrote about having the opportunity to stroll around the pond. “On a quiet peaceful November evening, I was gifted with a sunset that was among the best I have ever seen,” he said.

Thumbing through the 2019 issues of Heritage Villager reminded me how fortunate that we live in a place where you can “do” and discover. You can read the Villager and be an armchair traveler. Enjoy Greg Wismar’s descriptions of his adventures that take you through Connecticut and sometimes very far away in a column entitled “Out and About.” Do you want to go to “Twine Town”? It’s Haddam surrounded by East Haddam and Lyme, and there is lots to see beside Gillette Castle. East Haddam was purchased from the local Native Americans for the price of 30 coats, today valued at $100.

Emily Mullins always has somethin’ cooking. In the Friday, May 17, issue, there were two recipes for BIG cookies. They could be for kids or vintage souls like us. One was made with peanut butter chips and the other with oatmeal and chocolate chips. They both contain brown sugar only, which I found gives cookies a very special flavor. Joan King has lots to say about pets. These writers usually contribute to every issue.

Educational enrichment thrives here. It was certainly evident in the trip offered to the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Information about the journey was introduced in the January 4 issue. “There were brave people living in Southbury in 1937 that foiled the German American Bund’s attempts to build a training and recreational camp in Southbury.” A trip offered by Heritage Village Activities left for Washington, D.C on Friday, April 5.

Elected officials appeared at Town Hall style meetings held in Sarah Cooke Hall. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumethal, D. Conn. and U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes D-5th District spoke on Tuesday, Feb. 19. The Village Democratic Club sponsored the event. Information appeared in the March 1 issue and an “education” continued for the participants. A three-session, thought-provoking tutorial entitled: “America’s Adversaries” began on Tuesday, April 2. These lectures were offered by Prof. Alfred Hunt and provided information about potential adversaries and included their histories and perspectives about the United States.

Gov. Ned Lamont spoke on Monday, Sept. 9, and those who could not get to Sarah Cooke Hall had the opportunity to watch the event live on channel 14. It was the first time that a sitting governor ever appeared at the Village. The article about this event appeared in the Sept. 20 issue.

“Deeper Than the Skin” was an afternoon of song and poetry. Those who attended on Monday, March 11, had an uplifting experience that told the story of shared humanity. Reggie Harris, a Southerner, and Greg Greenway, a Northerner, helped those in the audience explore racism in America. A discussion related to anti-Semitism was part of the Jewish Culture Club Hanukkah party held on Sunday, Nov. 24. Pianist Paul Bisaccia explained that he canceled his performance at Carnegie Hall this past summer when he found out the Polish organization who was the contracting organization was an anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish organization. Other performers also refused to play, and the entire program was canceled. Bisaccia’s performance in Sarah Cooke Hall was memorable. “I thought it fitting and good that I would play part of the same program that I refused to play at Carnegie Hall for the Jewish Culture Club,” he said.

This is just a smattering of what took place during 2019. Read the Heritage Villager, which will help you be well informed about the happenings in this very special community. Featured are articles about events planned by clubs, fun physical activities including bowling off site, pickle ball, volleyball, hiking, theater and musical presentations, trips and more.