Love your pets? Show them with a special blessing!
To celebrate St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of all animals and the environment, Christ Church’s Priest-in-Charge Reverend Ally Brundige will share St. Francis’s love of all of God’s creatures. She will bless all pets brought to the church’s outdoor service (weather permitting) on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 9:30 a.m.
This also includes any stuffed animals loved by children of all ages! Snacks for animals will be provided.
Oct. 9 – 9:30 am: Christ Church: Blessing of the Animals Love your pets? Show them with a special blessing! To celebrate St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of all animals and the environment, Christ Church’s Priest-in-Charge Reverend Ally Brundige will share St. Francis’s love of all of God’s creatures. She will bless all pets brought to the church’s outdoor service (weather permitting). Children of all ages are invited to bring their stuffed animals for a blessing, too!
October 16 – 1-3:30 p.m: Forging Peace: A Community Day of Interfaith Worship and Action to End Gun Violence At Christ Church Easton, southwest Connecticut faith and community groups are uniting to host an ecumenical day of worship and action to end gun violence. Schedule:
1-1:45 p.m.: Interfaith worship
1:45-3:30 p.m: Booths for creative expression featuring Bishop Curry’s Swords to Plowshares (making garden tools from decommissioned guns), action and prevention, connection and support stations. Child-friendly activities are included.
The Memorial of the Lost will also be displayed that day and the week prior. This traveling memorial raises awareness of victims of gun violence, a tribute to all who have died in the state of Connecticut this year.
October 28 – Jackson Pike Skifflers & Friends Concert, 7:30 – 9:00pm, part of Easton’s Free Spirit Festival
This legendary band, founded by Easton’s own Will Tressler, has delighted Eastonites and many surrounding towns for over 50 years. Original band family members Katie Tressler, Dan Tressler, Sally Connolly, Dan Carlucci, and Dave McCann, along with several musicians formerly associated with the group, will come together for a special evening at Christ Church. Their repertoire will include traditional rural and urban vernacular music, early country music, minstrel and vaudeville songs, street ballads, Gospel songs, country dance tunes, railroad songs, mountain music and more. Wine, beer and snacks will be available for sale. Reserve your seats now: email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-268-3569.
October 29th: 1st Annual Easton’s Lady in White 5K Run/Walk, center point of Easton’s Free Spirit Festival
As part of Easton’s Free Spirit Festival, Easton Parks & Recreation, Easton Town Cemetery Committee and Christ Church Easton are co-hosting the race with proceeds to benefit the Cemetery Committee and the ministries of Christ Church. Says Rev. Ally Brundige, Priest-in-Charge of Christ Church, “We hope the whole town can come out to enjoy. We’re offering a special run for kids. Crafts, live music, and a bake sales are also being planned.” Nanette DeWester, Easton Town Cemetery Committee chair, “We hope this will become an annual tradition!” Registration (online only) and complete event details.
Single Participant: $35 (until 10/22/22) $40 week of event Partner Participants: (2) $60 (discount valid until 10/22/22) Teen Participants: (13-17) $10 Kids: (12 and under): Free Entry includes free race t-shirt, will be subject to availability after 10/15/22. Race will take place rain or shine. https://runsignup.com/Race/CT/Easton/EastonWhiteLady5K
The Parish of Christ Church recognizes it occupies the ancestral lands and traditional territory of the (Aspetuck River Valley dwelling) Paugussett people.
From a Seedling, a Great Tree Grew in Easton
It was a sad day yesterday when we watched the crew from White Hills Tree Removal in Shelton slowly dismember and take down the great spruce tree that has adorned the southeast corner of the Bradley-Hubbell House for as long as any of us could remember. At an estimated 100 – 110 feet in height, it was surely one of the tallest of its kind in Easton. It had survived numerous tropical storms, dozens of Nor’easters, more than a few blizzards and ice storms, and over a half dozen hurricanes. But it was no match for the tremendous bolt of lightning that struck it a few weeks ago, blowing parts of its upper trunk some 80 feet from where it so proudly stood and causing several of its limbs to smolder and smoke.
An otherwise healthy tree, it then faced the likelihood of a slow death from the lightning damage. Given its close proximity to both the historic 1816 Bradley-Hubbell House and the busy Black Rock Turnpike, the danger of it slowly shedding branches, or simply snapping during a future storm was simply too great to chance. After some lengthy discussions between the Historical Society of Easton – which restored and manages the property, the State of Connecticut, and Aquarion, it was decided the tree had to be removed.
The earliest known photograph of the tree is likely the one the Historical Society has from the mid-1940’s. At the time, the tree was about the perfect size for a Christmas tree – about 8 to 10 feet in height. That would have likely meant it was planted sometime in the mid to late 1930’s, most likely by the resident of the property, Franklin Hubbell, the then superintendent of the Aspetuck Watershed for the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company.
In addition to his managing the watershed, Hubbell’s knowledge of agriculture became the impetus behind the founding of the Aspetuck Valley Orchard operation that grew from a small orchard of apple trees planted atop Flirt Hill, into a large-scale enterprise that produced apples, peaches, pears, and a wide range of summer vegetables that were processed and sold at Easton’s well-known Apple Barn about a half mile north of where Hubbell resided. He also oversaw the sawmill that the BHC operated on the opposite side of Black Rock Turnpike about halfway between his house and the Apple Barn. It was Hubbell’s contributions to the town, both as an employer who gave many of Easton’s youth their first job, and his service to Easton as a public servant which included his tenure as First Selectman, that got his family name added to the Bradley-Hubbell House.
Ironically, Franklin and Helen Hubbell’s daughter Patricia passed away this summer. She grew up in that house and had nothing but fond memories of her childhood there. An accomplished author, poet, and artist, many of the books she wrote for children contained passages that described the immediate area. The tiny building that sits behind the main house was built by Hubbell as a playhouse for Patricia and her older sister Jean. Patricia often referred to it as her “museum,” a place where she collected and displayed various items of nature along with her books and crafts.
Her father turned the playhouse into a tool shed for his garden after his daughters were grown and out on their own. Sometime after his death in 1996, the diminutive structure was vandalized. After the Historical Society of Easton took the property over in 1999, it was described as the “ice house” and was included in the master plan for the renovation and restoration of the property. It served as a garden shed for many years for the Easton Garden Club that continues to maintain the beautiful garden that sits just south of the Bradley-Hubbell House today. Until very recently, it has languished in stoic silence as the rest of the property has seen a slow but continuing restoration.
One of Patricia’s last wishes was that her beloved playhouse/museum be restored. The Historical Society of Easton is intent on granting that wish. This summer, in addition to replacing the roofs on the main house and barn, the playhouse also received a completely new roof, the first step in bringing the little building back to life.
While that magnificent spruce may no longer be here to enjoy, the little playhouse in the backyard is beginning to get the attention that it so desperately deserves. Anyone wishing to help move this project along is encouraged to donate to the Historical Society of Easton to make it happen as soon as we possibly can.
Or those who would prefer to donate by check can do so by making it out to: The Historical Society of Easton CT, and sending it to PO Box 121, Easton, CT 06612. As always, no amount is either too small or too large.
Gallery of the removal of the BHH Spruce Sept. 30, 2022.
Thank You Easton for Coming to Concerts on the Hill
More Fun to Come in the Fall
Concerts on the Hill has become a fixture in the Easton community calendar. Hosted by the Parish of Christ Church, this summer’s concert series continued to broaden its support of our town’s vibrant community while offering the best of Easton’s and our local area’s musical talent. Perhaps most of all, Concerts on the Hill has helped us all enjoy the best of summer: family picnics, get-togethers with friends, and a safe place for our children to enjoy the outdoors.
“There’s nothing quite like coming together, sitting back, and enjoying the music and the sound of children laughing on our hill,” said Christ Church’s priest, Ally Brundige, adding, “Thank you, neighbors, for another great summer!”
This fall we are excited to be partnering with the town yet again. With area congregations and community groups, we will be hosting “Forging Peace: A Day of Worship and Action to End Gun Violence on Sunday, Oct. 16 from 1 – 3:30pm.
As part of the Easton Free Spirit Festival in cooperation with Easton Parks & Rec and the Cemetery Committee, we’ll host a Jackson Pike Skifflers & Friends concert (indoors) on Friday Oct. 28th. We’ll also be co-hosting Chasing the Legend: Easton’s Lady in White 5K on Sat. Oct. 29 at 10 a.m. Registration is open now. There will be a free kids shuttle run and fun run starting at 11 a.m. as well as face painting, pumpkin decorating, baked goods, and more.
The Parish of Christ Church offers its heartfelt thanks to the Easton community for supporting our concert series. We hope you enjoyed them. We can’t wait to see you at our fall events, too!
The Parish of Christ Church recognizes it occupies the ancestral lands and traditional territory of the (Aspetuck River Valley dwelling) Paugussett people.
Helen Keller Middle School’s International Flags Celebrate Diversity
At first glance, the neon and vibrant colored international flags displayed in Helen Keller Middle School cafeteria could be mistaken for a geography lesson.
The 41 flags do serve an educational purpose, but they have a deeper meaning. They represent and celebrate the wide array of homelands, ancestors and heritages of students and staff at the school.
Principal Steven Clapp and the Parent-Teacher Organization of the school purchased 30 flags from different nations to represent the diversity of the student body. Clapp and the staff bought an additional 11 flags.
“Easton can look very, very Caucasian, but as you get to know the students you can see the diversity,” said Clapp, explaining what inspired the flag display idea. “This can be represented by the 41 different flags representing just over the 300 students in the middle school.”
Clapp, a former social studies teacher, wanted to use the flags as an inquiry lesson for students throughout the semester. The flags are a permanent addition to the middle school’s cafeteria, but he is also open to parents sending in additional ideas for future lessons.
Parents of students at Helen Keller Middle School have been overwhelmingly supportive of the school’s efforts to promote diversity initiatives, Clapp said.
Christine Beuno jumped at the opportunity to purchase a Brazilian flag because she appreciates the cultural diversity inside the school. She and her husband are from Brazil. They teach their children about Brazilian culture and language, and she wants her children to learn from their friends from other countries as well.
“There are so many children at Helen Keller with different backgrounds that speak other languages besides English, that have different cultures from us,” said Bueno. “This diversity needs to be celebrated and the flags from different countries are a great idea to do that.”
“Diversity is a beautiful thing,” said Moria Finney, another parent. She purchased an Austrian flag. Her background is Irish but her husband is from Vienna, and they have many friends and a strong connection to Austria.
“I thought it was a wonderful idea – one that will hopefully give students the opportunity to share their customs and traditions with others, as well as spark great conversations,” Finney said. “In addition, not only is the display visually beautiful but also a nice reminder that even though we live in a small town, we are part of a much larger global community.“
Kristen Gemski purchased a flag of the Netherlands. She is Irish, Scottish, German, Dutch and Austrian. Her husband Justin is German and Polish.
“Our girls Kayla, a seventh grader at HKMS, and Anna, a third-grader at Samuel Staples Elementary School, have quite a few components to their heritage,” Gemski said. “I feel so fortunate that the girls are in a school district that focuses on supporting the whole child, and agree with the theory that students need to feel accepted and supported in order to really thrive.”
Photographs by Rick Falco
Local Author Deborah Levison to Speak at Easton Public Library on Oct. 19
Trumbull author Deborah Levison will discuss her upcoming fiction release, “A Nest of Snakes,” on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Easton Public Library. Deborah’s 2019 nonfiction debut, “The Crate: A Story of War, a Murder, and Justice,” was the recipient of several awards. Author Lee Child called it “an impressive and important piece of work.”
“A Nest of Snakes”is a psychological thriller of abuse and complicity. Copies of both titles will be available for purchase and signing. Registration is required at https://eastonlibrary.org.
Easton Arts Council Will Reprise “Hot To Trot Trio” at the Library on Oct. 9
The Hot To Trot Trio will return to the Easton Public Library on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 3 p.m. for another effervescent performance of its popular “Let’s Do It” series – this time, “‘Let’s Do It, Let’s Survive!,’ A Post-Pandemic Potpourri,” starring Joanne Kant, Tom Zimmerman and Olga Kalinina. Once again the trio will showcase their slightly irreverent view of love through the ages in song about how we have emerged from the pandemic a little bit frazzled but wiser.
The trio has been entertaining audiences for over six years, performing at such venues as the Thomaston Opera House, the Bijou Theater, WPKN radio, and the Richter Center for the Performing Arts. The hour-long show is free and no reservations are needed. Donations are welcomed at the door in support of EAC activities.
Photo: The Hot to Trot Trio: (L to R) Olga Kalinina, Tom Zimmerman, Joanne Kant. – Courtesy of the Easton Arts Council
Inspiring Speakers Share Their Stories at the Library
A trio of dynamic speakers will share their stories of challenge, resilience, and inspiration at the Easton Public Library on Saturday, Oct. 15, starting at 2 p.m. The program, entitled “Sharing Our Stories: Voices from the Community,” will feature a transgender woman, a domestic violence survivor-turned advocate, and the parent of a local teen who overcame an eating disorder.
Jillian Celentano is a transgender woman who transitioned in her early 50s. She is the author of “Transitioning Later in Life: A Personal Guide.” Jillian’s new path included returning to school after several decades to pursue a Master of Social Work degree, which she completed this past spring.
Ann McGee escaped an abusive marriage and became an advocate for domestic abuse victims. She now works as a Lead Domestic Violence Advocate for the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport. One of her passions is creating shadow boxes that honor individuals who have died as a result of domestic violence. This powerful exhibit, entitled “Unfinished Lives,” was displayed in the library this past spring.
Liane Wegener is an Easton resident whose daughter, Zoe, suffered from a debilitating eating disorder. Luckily, with the right resources and support, Zoe was able to recover. She is now enjoying college life.
“Memory, native to this valley, will spread over it like a grove, and memory will grow into legend, legend into song, song into sacrament.” – Wendell Berry
In 1966, when I was five, my parents bought a piece of land on the Fairfield-Easton town line on the corner of North and Old Burr (Snake Hill) and built a house. The first thing I noticed when we moved in, were the handmade stonewalls all around the property with post and rail fencing adjoining the gaps between the walls. Coming from the downtown area of Fairfield, I had never seen anything quite like it.
“What are these stone walls and fences for?” I asked my dad. “This was once a farm,” he explained. “The walls and fences were made to keep the cattle in.”
Our back yard property line was also the Easton Town line, placing the children in the houses directly behind us into different school districts. We were all best friends, regardless, and explored our surrounding terrain together. On Saturday mornings, we’d venture down the street to the Audubon to wander the trails, examine the pollywogs in the ponds and return the following weekend to catch and hold the frogs into which they evolved.
On occasion, we would ride our bikes past the Bluebird Inn to buy maple candy for twenty five cents at the Aspetuck Apple Barn. On the weekends in the summer, we would go to the Easton Pool (now the Aspetuck Dog Park) to swim and buy ice cream at the concession stand. When we were a bit older, we would even venture off to the Reservoir in Weston (Devils Glenn) by way of back roads, even though our parents asked us not to.
The Hemlock Reservoir was particularly special to us, since it was less than a five minute walk. Making our way down to the water, we imagined jumping in, especially on a hot summer day, but never did, since we were lectured by our parents that it was a drinking water supply, and we had to respect and uphold the reservoir’s purity. We did fish on occasion.
The one common denominator of all of our childhood experiences was the landscape. Nature was our playground, teacher and backdrop to everything we did as children. It was where we were taught about the world and where we developed kinships, friendships and a deep appreciation for our surroundings.
In high school, when we all started driving, my friends and I would hike many of the different Aspetuck and Saugatuck trails. The trails on Norton Road extending over to Valley Forge Road, were our favorite. Sometimes we would even pick a place to pitch a tent.
Then, one day, we all went off to college. Having lived in both urban and suburban settings for many years, I convinced my husband to move to Easton about nine years ago. I was surprised and happy to see that Easton remained pretty much the same place I remembered growing up.
The landscape has not changed much, other than the trees are much bigger. Silverman’s, Snow’s, Candee, Sherwood Farms, and the Aspetuck Apple Barn are still present and operational, along with two more beautiful farms, Shaggy Coos and Sport Hill Farm, all places where people can buy local produce, eggs, meat and dairy. People can also learn about organic edible herbs, flowers and local plants at Gilberties’ farm, and cut down their own Christmas trees at Maple Row Farm and several other smaller tree farms such as Sabia’s or Ganim’s.
There are several area stables to visit and ride horses, including N&C Equestrian, Gold Rush Farms and others. The annual Easton Farm Tour allows children and adults to visit the local farms and learn about local, sustainable farming. There’s plenty of breathtaking hiking at Trout Brook Valley Preserve, Paine Open Space and Randall Farm Nature Preserve, to name a few. Over one third of Easton’s land consists of open space.
And finally, there are the vast reservoirs, where on any given morning, afternoon or evening, swans, egrets, great blue herons, red tail and red shouldered hawks, and on rare occasion, bald eagles, can be spotted. The indigenous oaks, maples, chestnuts and rows of endless pine still line the perimeters of these vast bodies of water. My husband and I often take early morning rides and sit by one of the reservoirs, sipping our coffee, while taking in the peacefulness of the wildlife, water and trees.
One thing that has changed is our lifestyles. We come home from our jobs, mostly from other towns, to spend some time having dinner with our families, logging onto our computers and social media, watching television and falling asleep, only to repeat this routine throughout the week. Social media accounts and group pages are something relatively new to these country towns.
As human beings, we’ve always had two identities, our private selves and the selves we present in public. Social media has created a third identity, however, one that we can edit and manufacture, and then, place online. These are merely versions of ourselves. We still haven’t seen the results or consequences as a society of people spending so much time on social media; but for myself, I can certainly say that the meaningful human experiences in my life are never a result of what happens on social media. They are made up of real interactions with other people and my interactions with nature. These are the settings, rather than the vague backdrops of social media pages, that stick in my head and have shaped who I am as a person.
They say that every generation is a bridge between the past and the future. Eastonites have the best of both worlds. We can enjoy good schools, the luxuries of modern technology and travel to some of our favorite stores and eateries in less than thirty minutes. Greiser’s Coffee & Market, a popular meeting place in town, offers local artwork and crafts to view and purchase, antiques, books, educational lectures, pop up shops, outdoor jazz, rock and bluegrass barbecues, all while keeping the setting of an old fashioned country general store.
Yet, in this time of urbanization and environmental decline, Easton has managed to maintain its multi-generational connection to its sculpted beauty, for which we should be grateful, take advantage and support and sustain the unique local life and community that we have.
The pictures below were submitted by Easton residents, and were taken at Silverman’s Farm, Sherwood Farms, Shaggy Coos, Sport Hill Farm, Candee Farm, Snow’s Farm, Maple Row, Sabia and Ganim tree farms, Greiser’s, Aspetuck Apple Barn, Gilbertie’s Organics, Aspetuck and Easton reservoirs, Paine Open Space, Randall Farm Nature Preserve, and Trout Brook Valley Nature Preserve. Paintings are courtesy of artist John Forgione.
Thank you everyone for sharing your unplugged selves!
Elizabeth Adriani’s Image Wins Easton Arts Council Photography Contest
It was a dark night in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic when Elizabeth Adriani arranged to meet a high school friend on the fields at Samuel Staples Elementary School. She not only looked forward to getting a glimpse of a comet said to be passing over, but in spite of the chill in the air, she looked forward to seeing her good friend after months of isolation.
The comet was blurry. Still, as was her practice, Adriani took pictures – scores of them – of the surrounding view, having given up on getting any good shots of the heavenly bodies streaking overhead. There was light extending, expanding, and reaching down. Suddenly in a moment, an image of light touched the darkness. Her intense feeling, and now ours, was captured in a photograph: “Connected”, winner of the 2021 Easton Arts Council Photography Contest.
Though she finds it hard to remember the model number of her digital Olympus Camera, Elizabeth is clearly attached to it, as artists are to their tools. With it slung over her shoulder, she often starts the day photographing nature in her neighborhood.
“You never know when you might discover something unique, something nice,” she says, admitting that she takes thousands of pictures. Her transportation on these morning sojourns is a small “Free Spirit” bicycle, to which she’s also obviously attached. “It’s from the 80s,” she enthuses, and with a shy smile, describes its blue paint “with sparkles in it.”
The 18-year-old conveys a whimsy that belies her serious intentions to produce art that tells a meaningful story. Art that helps and heals. Art that helps make connections.
Having experienced trauma and having struggled with anxiety and feelings of being different all her life, Adriani’s work has much to do with mental health. “I want to communicate the idea that it’s OK not to be OK,” she emphasizes, having personally experienced the pressure that comes with trying to conform to a perceived norm.
“I describe myself as weird,” she says. “Then my friends say, ‘Weird? You’re not weird,’ as if it’s something bad.” She lights up. “I think weird is fabulous.”
While she didn’t always embrace her differences, Adriani describes coming out of her shell later, during her years at Joel Barlow High School. Unlike many parents, hers didn’t sign her up for extra classes, activities or sports unless she initiated participation. She attributes that parental concession to her ability to remain a free spirit.
She started drawing as a preschooler, she’s now using her skill as an illustrator to complete an internship with a movie-props maker, a job she loves. In January, she heads off to Savannah College of Art and Design to continue to build her skills in fine art. “I want to change the stigma that mental illness is ‘bad,'” Adriani says. She knows now that, like her, there are many who struggle and she wants them to know that they aren’t alone.
Reflecting upon the love and help she’s experienced growing up in Easton, particularly from her teachers at Joel Barlow, she states how crucial it is to have such understanding and support. “It’s important to show that you’re listening, that you care. If we just started there, the world would be such a better place.”
And then there’s her photograph, “Connected.” To this talented young woman, the concept speaks to the light that is there for us all, if we reach for it, even in the darkest of times. “Connected” captures that moment, a streak of light piercing a night sky. It’s other-worldly, inspiring, even weird in a fabulous way.