Connecticut


Stamford Connecticut. We spent our first night at the Stamford Inn, right off 195. I was tired and wanted to stop at the nearest hotel to the highway. An older hotel, in it’s hey day it was a new Holiday Inn. But now, it was a run down building with carpets so dirty you couldn’t see the carpet pattern. The hotel was so close to the highway, there was constant buzz in the air from cars and trucks passing on the road.

There was an assortment of characters in the hotel that night. Truck drivers needing a bed, tired of sleeping in their trucks. Motorcycles were parked through out the back parking lot, their riders drinking beer on the hotel lawn. Families with station wagons packed full of luggage, boxes and bags. A swirl of activity came with the night. Lots of people were walking around stretching their legs after riding in cars most of the day and staying in small hotel rooms at night. The mixture of so many different travelers sparked several instances that brought police to the hotel.

Carol called the contact name given to us by her friend in Springfield. He owned a local radio station. We talked about living and working in Stamford. He wasn’t very encouraging to us living in Stamford without know anyone other than him. It wasn’t a long conversation and he didn’t invite us meet with him to talk more.

I don’t know if it was the hotel setting, the constant buzz of traffic, the lack of encouragement, or our expectations that made up our minds we were not going to stay in Stamford. We left that day, no use paying for another night and continue our search for a place live.

We decided not to travel the main federal highways, but to meander on two-lane tree covered back roads. There are lots roads like that in Connecticut. The roads would curve like going around something, but there was nothing there. A lot of the roads were cow trails that went around boulders. The boulders were not there any more, but the twisted road reflected the cows history.

We pass through Norwalk and found Westport Connecticut. It wasn’t on the map we had. We came out the woods and there it was. Small cobble stone streets adored with petite boutique stores. Green trees everywhere. Expensive cars parked up and down the streets. We decided to explore Westport.

There was only one hotel, the Westport Inn located on the outskirts of town. Westport was once an artists’ colony. There are no industries in town except many companies had their corporate headquarters located there, and many commercial designers and graphic artists work out of Westport. It is a commuter community to wealthy executives in Manhattan, which was only fifty miles away. We saw a lot of limousines on the roads around Westport. Many wealthy people have summer homes in Westport.

The median family income is $95,791. it is a community whose population decreased yet the income level increased. The average age is early forties, and about thirty percent of the people have income over $150,000.

We were walking down the main street when Carol saw some brightly wrapped little packages of snacks in a store window. I told her I didn’t think she wanted to go in that store. It was a grocery store for dogs. Not cats and dogs, just dogs. They had a four floor tall animal hospital building. That how it was in Westport.

We went looking for a place to live. Westport didn’t have apartment complexes in the city. People would rent out part of their houses to people. People they know or referred by someone trusted. Since we didn’t know anyone we tried to go through a real estate office.

We met the lady at her office, she drove us around Westport explaining the benefits of living there. As a Westport resident we would automatically be members of the country club, which the city owned. The trip took about a hour to the house she wanted to show us. A wonderful house owned by a writer. One block from the ocean, two-car garage, wood paneling in every room. A library room filled with shelfs of books Everything was provided, dishes, silverware, sheets; we only had to move in. She told us, the price was reduced because it was so late in the season, only $6,000 a month.

It might have been a bargain price, but to people who had no jobs and only about $2,000 in their pocket, it was not a bargain. We told the real estate lady we were interested in something around three or four hundred dollars a month. She had a shocked look of her face. She didn’t handle that kind of rental, we could check the newspaper. The hour trip out to the house turned into a ten-minute drive back to her office where our car was.

We didn’t see any blacks walking the streets of Westport. At some restaurants we did see them in the kitchens or out back smoking. One day around five o’clock I had to go the store, when I came back I told Carol I had found the black folks. They were at bus stops leaving town. We learn later many of them lived a few miles away in Bridgeport.

We stayed a week in Westport then figured out it was not a town you came looking for work unless you were in certain professions. Most people that came to Westport had money, it was an exclusive city, after all Paul Nueman lived there. They tell the story of a woman in an ice cream store when Paul Nueman came up to her, spoke to her and she fainted. He was telling her about ice cream dripping on her dress.

A beautiful city, even McDonald had to fit into the the community. They couldn’t have their big Ms arches. No, they had a small sign like all business had to have to do business in the town. We stayed a week and knew it was not the place for us, closed by economic habits to blacks and opportunities.

The biggest thing about Westport, I got back into writing. I had started writing ‘Lost Survivor’ before we left Springfield. I didn’t do writing during the day because we were in the car on the road. Most nights, after something to eat, laying down a few minutes, I go to sleep. Staying more than a day in one place gave me a chance to sit at the old, heavy electric, typewriter.

The first phase of our adventure had been exciting. And God’s grace had been present and visible. With little or no financial resources we had made it this far. And help had been there when we needed it. We had adjusted our living habits from a seven-room apartment to, a car and one-room hotels through improvising and making due with what we had.

I knew the Fire Chief in Hartford Connecticut, so we decided to see what possibilities were there. On the way to Hartford, we went through one of the most dangerous highway intersection in the country. Three expressways crisscross each other.

It just so happen that we were in the far right lane and had to cross the other two expressways to the far left lane to continue our journey. I wondered why would something like that be designed. If it was a big mistake, well everyone should see that and change it. To most of the drivers around me, it was probably just another day of acceptance. Needless to say, to Carol and I, it was a hair-rising endeavor.

The darkness of night covered Hartford Connecticut, when we got there, jackhammers tearing up concrete assaulted our ears. We checked into an older Holiday Inn for the night. All night, there was the constant racket from construction. It didn’t bother us, we both fell across the bed and slept until morning.

I called my friend, he had a busy day but would have his father pick us up and show us around the town. I had no image, or knowledge of Hartford Connecticut in my mind. I remembered something vaguely about big insurance companies being located there. Hartford is the capital of Connecticut and insurance is the region's major industry. It is nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World”. Also, Mark Twain lived there.

His father drove us around Hartford showing us the city’s various sights and places. We spend two days with the Chief and his family. Nice folks, lived in nice area. We appreciated their company but nothing touched us about it being a place we would want to live.

The father talked a lot about Jamaicans coming up from New York and the Hartford white power structure dealing with them as black leaders instead of the local blacks.

We would check in with our mothers couple of time a week. There were alway messages from friends. We returned a call to friends that lived in Arizona, started us on our next phase of travel. They invited us to come out to Scottsdale, Arizona to stay with them. I thought hey, that is what writers do, sit by a pool, have profound thoughts and put them to paper. So what if we were thousands of miles away in Hartford, Connecticut.

We had spend a large chunk of money on hotels, food, and gas. We needed to find jobs and a place to live or move on with the money we had left. We decided to go to Arizona. They told us about friends living in Colorado, around Denver. We could stop there on the way for a few days. So, the next leg of our adventure begins.


J Publications, Inc. 2013