Archive for June 6th, 2008

My Hometown (for real)

Back in April, when I was taking the advanced digital scrapbooking class (which I still haven’t finished, in part due to the fact that I flew off to New Hampshire for a week…), I was also signed up for a class by Shimelle, called There’s No Place Like Home.  The prompts and projects were all…related to home…as you can imagine.   I pretty much just read the daily prompts and thought “Oh cool, that sounds like something fun to do.”

One of the very first prompts was about your hometown.  Even though I live in a nice little town in Eastern Iowa, and am probably stuck here for the duration, I consider Ledyard, Connecticut to be my home town.

What?  You’ve never heard of it?  How about Mystic?  Have you heard of that?  Yeah, Ledyard is not that far from Mystic.  I love the Mystic Seaport, and enjoyed the Mystic Aquarium when I was younger.  But would you believe that I have never seen the movie Mystic Pizza?  How crazy is that?

Ledyard itself wasn’t much more than a bedroom community for the Groton/New London Submarine Base.  We moved to the area when I was in 3rd grade.  At first we lived in Gales Ferry, which is a “village” within Ledyard.  Gales Ferry had it’s own post office, but administratively it was part of Ledyard.  At the end of 6th grade, my parents bought a house and we moved to Ledyard.  I graduated from Ledyard High School in 1990, with about 200ish in my class. (Compare that to the 32 that are currently in Will and Joe’s class.  Weird.  I remember when we had our Kindergarten meeting with Mr. Foster, the principal.  He had all sorts of statistics about how many of those kindergarteners would like graduate together.  The scariest stat was how many would marry each other.  Four of them.  Isn’t that bizarre?  And I don’t think that counted the ones that might marry up or a down a grade).

Ledyard was a nice place to grow up.  Good school, beautiful scenery.  Winding roads through the woods.  (We always joked that the roads were made by drunken farmers following their cows.  Or maybe the cows were drunk.  Or maybe it was horses.  I can’t remember.  Someone was drunk, though, because nothing went in a straight line.  Not like here in Iowa.  Oh, Iowa has it’s curvy roads, but nothing like Connecticut.   Here, everything is pretty well laid out in nice grids and if you start driving in the direction you think you should go, you’ll eventually get where you are going.  Not so much in Connecticut.)

I could ramble on about the things I remember…we lived in Sherwood Forest on Robin Hood Drive in Gales Ferry.  Holdridge’s (the local nursery), Spiro’s (the pizza place), Ledyard Fair, Gales Ferry United Methodist Church, being a Page at the Library (i.e. I shelved books…), but I’m getting sleepy and have to tell you the thing that fascinates me about Ledyard and the surrounding area.

I remember, vaguely, when I was in high school hearing about the Mashantucket Pequots opening a high stakes bingo facility.  (According to the Google, that opened in 1986).  What happened after that, though.  Wowee Zowee.

Foxwoods Casino, my friends.  5 miles from the house in which we lived in Ledyard.  The largest casino in the world.    I have a hard time fathoming the size of that place.  Or its impact on the area.  According to the website, they have something like 11,000 employees.  Good grief! I haven’t been back to Ledyard since…I’m not sure when.  Probably somewhere around 1996.  I guess I don’t know if any of my family ever visited the casino, hopefully I’ll hear from them.

I hope to go back some day, just to look around a bit.  I have heard that MQX (the quilt show I attended in April in New Hampshire) will be moving to Providence, RI in 2010 — that’s super-close to Ledyard, so I’m sure I’ll be visiting the old stomping grounds that year!

So that’s my little musing (for now) on my hometown.  Where did you grow up?  What’s it like now?  If you post on your blog about your hometown, be sure to leave me a comment so I can come visit and read about where you grew up.



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