Welcome to the WRITE HERE: WESTPORT blog!

WRITE HERE: WESTPORT is a community placemaking and writing project that will take place throughout the entire month of August. Each day, a different spot in the community will host a one-hour write-in. The events are designed for writers of all ages and all levels of writing experience, and they celebrate all of the defining places that make Westport unique.

To read all the posts inspired by WRITE HERE, just scroll down!

And you can upload your own post to our dedicated blog site by going to the Sign Up page!


from L. Montano

August 20, 2019

“Ned Dimes Marina”

I can imagine this place 100 years ago, how it would look like. Bustling with some sailor or fishing activity perhaps? Or a sort of marshland, pristine and far from the activity of an era of growth and expansion.

Somehow, this place has stayed. In its permanence, it has adapted to change without losing that air, that air of “aah”, clean air, blue sky, sparkling water, tall grasses, and varied fowl.

This area of the coastline is, for me, very distinctive of Westport. I use it as my place to come and shoot photographs, particularly during sunsets. It is as welcoming in the summer as it is in winter when birds and snow merge against a horizon in palettes mutating from reds to pinks to blues, then silver and darkening purplish-lavender. The care put into the area attests to the recognition of the importance of open spaces where the community enjoys together, from the 4th of July celebration to regular picnics nearby, on Sherwood Island. Places like this make people sit back and relax. Just forget for a bit the tribulations of life and be grateful for the open space and natural views that remain.

LM-LM

 
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from L. Montano

August 16, 2019

“The Little Firefighter”

Like any normal boy, he dreamed of becoming a firefighter. The cartoons presented them as these real-life heroes who saved people from tall buildings, climbing on wiggly extended ladders, and those uniforms! They made the firefighters look super-human, bigger than they actually were.

As he grew up, his dreams and idealization of firefighters grew with him. They saved people’s lives and that’s what he wanted to do. He explored the options, but as time passed, he realized he was not going to be 6 feet tall, ever. One day, a firefighter went to his school to talk about safety and what firefighters did. He could not shake the vision of such an imposing man, with gentle eyes and a friendly smile.

He was supple, he was physical. He climbed rocks and had strength, but he did not feel like the picture-perfect of six foot or above. Nonetheless, he considered his options. He decided to give it a try. He went through grueling training, surprising everybody with his agility and impressive strength to carry heavy loads despite his short height. His strength and willingness were noticed by his trainers and training peers.

Against all odds, he passed all the required tests and exercises. Once he hit the ground, he ran! He was exposed to real-life life-saving deeds and he found his niche among his company. He was the expert crawler, going into tight spaces carrying heavy loads. He furrowed through old buildings with hidden spaces as if going through the underground tunnels of fighting soldiers, with a mission.

In the end, he was a member of the company bringing his own qualities, his capacity to twist his body in tight spaces, to go as high as possible, to almost fly on roofs and still carry heavy loads. All this, regardless of his height. Having conquered this world, he felt super-human!

LM-LM

 
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from mitch161

The House

A building is a funnel, a telescope, a microscope, leading to a world, or many worlds. The Historical Society house is one obvious pathway to myriad stories/places/lives in Westport, throughout Connecticut, or across America.

Every building is a doorway to the past, of the area and the people and objects and animals. A doorway to the past -the good times, the bad times, the families and incidents and events.

But, perhaps this gateway may be seen as a portal from the past to the present – and even into the future. We are all products of our environment, and the house is probably the most significant manifestation of our memories of our past. And how then could it not play a major role in formulating our present (and future)?

Think of that the next time you remember the house.

 
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from RAR

Thank you to Carley, at the Levitt Pavilion, Lt. Anthony Prezioso, representing the Westport Police Department and Firefighter's Lt. Nick Marsan and Michael Grasso at Westport's main fire station, for welcoming WestportWRITES participants so warmly, sharing their own stories and graciously listening to ours. For all that you do: Thank you!

 
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from Cuteness

One day it was my birthday I was turning 10. My mom was running late to my birthday party because she was getting me my present by the time she got there it was time to blow out my candles on my birthday cake. After we all cut the cake and ate it, It was time to open gifts and there was 24 people at my birthday and my mom wanted to give me her present last so after all 24 presents I finally got to my moms present. As I was opening it I was thinking what it could be and when I saw the top I saw a little cage and a little cute tiny Pomeranian was in there I was so happy I almost cried but instead I got up and gave my mom a big hug and said thank you

 
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from Cuteness

In the mornings I wake up and go on my phone for a little. Then I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth and use the bathroom. Next, I go to the kitchen to get some cereal for breakfast. After, I go back up stairs to take a shower and get dressed. Finally, I go where I need to go for the day and come back usually in the afternoon maybe after Lunch.

 
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from Janet Coughenour

This morning Writer's Write gathered at the Post Road Westport Fire Station. Firefighter Nick Marsan spoke to us in a most personable manner. He generously shared a portion of his life and his decision to serve as a firefighter. His manner and generosity invited trust and a welcoming air.

Some interesting facts about the 1970's building and an explanation of the “emergency operations room” where we were comfortably seated, was fascinating. It is the place where all Westport's emergency personal meet and get their orders.

The loudspeaker sounded three times during our visit adding to the urgency of the job of firefighter. Disasters handled in the space include response to weather related issues and national disasters.

Nick spoke of the evident comradarie of all firefighters, and even how they are selected or forced to cook meals for there team. His laughter and kind spirit made this talk very relatable and true.

I am happy to have learned a bit about this heroic group of our service driven men and women who preform a vital need in my pretty town of Westport.

 
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from mitch161

The River – and More

Now it is serene and peaceful and calm – perhaps more beautiful at high tide – but there is a beauty in the mud and plants and, yes, debris at low tide as well. Life consists of high tides and low tides – to each its own. And life wouldn't be real without the highs and lows. How can we appreciate the highs without comparison to the lows, when things maybe weren't as we might like them?

Perhaps that is why people from times primeval have clustered along rivers – the sleepy village, the thriving metropolis. A metaphor for life itself.

So let us give thanks that providence has lead us to the banks of this beautiful river!

 
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from NickolaBAILEY08

*Background Noises * As the wind blows, and the trees sway, I can hear noises close by, yet far away. This noise, the noise of chaos, is the background noise that makes me think of bittersweet moments, moments that are often forgotten.

so...clear your head and say “yes, and? “

 
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from Janet Coughenour

Seated beside the sparkling Saugatuck, river, eating Bar Taco's early morning treats I am moved by how many writers showed up for the “Write Here” event. Bob Mitchell's historical accounts about the Saugatuck river and Westport's Connecticut's sailing ship days inspired me. I could picture the vast wooden vessels moored and clanking in the wind, being unloaded of their food and farming supplies, and fine china. I knew little about that old Westport. The bank robbers jumping onto a moving ship, then hopping on the halted train, successfully fleeing the police. Never arrested, even used a dye marked stolen coin to pay his fare. What a story. The lovely setting, shaded with cool water breezes offered a perfect writer's prompt. All senses stimulated, munched our chips and salsa and sought to capture the moment. Words to help hold on to the essence. As creative beings, we write, or draw or throw a pot, or compose a song, inspired by just such rare, fleeting moments.

 
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from maadhavs

Children's Library At Westport Library One time when I came here, the children's library, I was looking at a fantasy/sci-fi novel. Micheal Vey, I think. I looked at the book sleeve to see what it was about, and I saw... a bump in the sleeve. I carefully opened the sleeve to see what it was, and... IT WAS A LOLLIPOP!! This will sound ridiculous, and you should know that I am 9 years old so this behavior shown below was unusual. I DID NOT EAT THE LOLLIPOP. Again, I. DID. NOT. EAT. THE. LOLLIPOP. So, that's about it folks. I'm gone for now.

 
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from Mary-V

Boardwalk at National Hall

I once applied to bartend at the Inn at National Hall that overlooked the beautiful Saugatuck river from the west side of the bridge in downtown Westport. All I really knew of the fairly new venue was that President Bill Clinton had reportedly stayed there when he was in town campaigning.

The upscale restaurant on the first floor featured an elegant bar that boasted a vast wine collection. I realized my weakness immediately upon entering, having only tended bar in a popular local college spot in upstate New York where we certainly never had to unscrew a single wine bottle. The only bottle opener we needed was to pop off the caps to the endless bottles of Labatt’s Blue. I went to school in real upstate New York – we’re not talking about Poughkeepsie, or even Albany…

The village of Canton is a mere twenty miles from the Canadian border. Other than the two dollar bottles o’ Blue, we mostly served up shots like Jagermeister and mixed drinks like gin and tonics in cheap clear plastic cups – ordered by the mainly preppy, and largely underage St. Lawrence University students who poured into the infamous Tick Tock Inn to drink, dance, and perhaps black out after a day of liberal arts classes or an evening cheering on our Division I hockey team. I didn’t even learn to use a register as this mainstay of Canton NY was owned by a local who got away with operating it as a cash business for decades.

Needless to say, my Tick Tock ‘tending resume must’ve proved lackluster to the National Inn management, and I did not get the gig at the ritzy Inn’s bar. Besides zero experience uncorking wine bottles, I don’t think I had the look for that classy establishment. Moreover, I’m sure I still resembled more like a high schooler to those in charge. Instead, I would later land a bartending job for which I was better suited– believe it or not, at a biker bar in Black Rock.

Ten miles up the road from the National Inn, just over the Ash Creek and the Fairfield/Bridgeport line, lived a joint called The Avenue Cafe. That name did not accurately capture the vibe of this dark, divey watering hole where you’d find a cast of characters that may include Hells Angels prospects, hardworking people of the various trades such as carpenters and electricians, and definitely some alcoholics of various levels of functioning. The Ave, as the regulars referred to it, hosted a shots-and-beer crowd. My typical patron might simply request “a shot o’ Jack and a Bud.” Unlike the bar at National Hall, I can assure you Bill Clinton never bellied up to the bar at the Avenue Cafe...

 
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from maadhavs

Train Station-Crazy Donuts I learned about the Transcontinental Railroad this year in school. And they built it to make Westward Expansion easier, apparently.But what the Irish and Chinese workers did was a bit different than you might expect. They built it from 2 sides, actually. (INSERT SURPRISED-FACE IMAGE HERE) Yeah. So... that's kind of all I wrote. So, yeah. I'm done now.

 
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from Anonymous Guy

The Children’s Library

When was it? The summer before 4th grade? 5th grade? My local public library had a summer reading contest . . . You had to read a book, then meet with a librarian to discuss it – to prove you weren’t fibbing, I suppose — and then you’d get to move your name card one place forward on a big board posted on the wall. I think it was a picture of some kind of race track.

Anyway, this one year I really got into the contest and wound up one of the top readers in town, finishing 30- or was it 40-something books. If you made it to ten, the library would send a letter to your teacher in your upcoming grade. Looking back, I don’t remember having received any acknowledgement from whomever my teacher turned out to be, notwithstanding my prodigious number. But I think it may have been that summer that established in my own mind that reading was something I was very good at and one of the important things about who I was. My performance probably also had something to do with what became one of my mother’s main talking points about me for many years – that her son was “such a bookworm! Give him a book and you won’t hear a peep out of him for hours!”

 
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from VonneWhittleton

Westport Center for Senior Activities

I squint to read the gold lettered Senior Center sign off of Imperial Ave because I'm running late and don't want to miss my turn. As I drive in, I'm thinking I'm having a harder time dealing with this vicious outside world and just want to get to place that feels safe. I've been to the Senior Center before and wish for a long moment that I would be old enough to come here regularly. I think about all that is offered for our seniors in our town and a little envious that I can't come here to participate in Jan's writing classes or take an art class or maybe some Tai Chi. I've got 6 more years until I qualify!

But I don't feel out of place or unwelcome when I've had the chance to participate. It's the opposite, actually. I am embraced and comforted and feel that this is how it should be. We take care of our elders because they have rocked us and fed us and fought wars for us. And so, living here in Westport and raising my children far from their grandparents, I've always had this nagging voice in my head that tells me, “This isn't the way it's supposed to be...”

Being here feels natural. It gives me a sense of community and makes me feel part of a larger family. I hear other people's parents and grandparents read their stories and feel deeply moved by their honesty and their losses and their great loves. They have let me eavesdrop...no...they have told me to pull up a chair and put another log on the tribal campfire and listen.

I leave feeling hopeful.

 
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from AskDoris

Senior Center

High ceilings, light, smiles…happy engaged humans. Playing cards, working out, creating works of art, eating meals together, learning, interacting. People in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and yes, even some over 100! Doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, actors, stay at home moms, workers in all fields. Members who traveled the world some who’ve never left Connecticut. High school drop outs to PHd’s to Poet Laureates & Pulitzer Prize winners. All coming together as equals. Sharing their strenghts, building bonds and friendships with the unlikliest of characters.

I have no children and for me the fear of being alone when I aged was real. Watching the seniors in my life, the loneliness and understimulation they experienced frightened me. Since then, I’ve witnessed my husband embrace and enjoy the Senior Center playing Bridge a few times a week. A place he said he would never go because it was for “old people”. He now values being around others and sharing a common interest. For me, his enthusiasm has shown me that I have nothing to fear.

 
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