Back in Willimantic
We rolled in tonight at around six after picking up the dog on the way home. Home from Connecticut where we spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving used to be at Nana’s, my wife’s grandmother’s house. But since Nana died we have spent it with my mother-in-law in Columbia. We cooked the first couple of times, but for the last two years, she too has gotten quite frail and doesn’t seem able to cope with the hectic hub-bub of a big Thanksgiving dinner. So we take her out to eat at her favorite restaurant. Even there she eats like a bird and takes most of her dinner home to have as leftovers. My wife, daughter, and I are all vegetarians, so we don’t miss the turkey. I do miss sitting around the table with all the family, though. Both the brothers do their own thing, both the sisters are out of town now (not that we aren’t). So it’s just the four of us.
I got up early on Thanksgiving morning and, while my wife and daughter slept, went out with my camera to cruise around Willimantic again. Since we are there at Thanksgiving and Christmas I seem to be able to photograph that town when there are few people on the streets and things are very quiet. It had rained during the night and the streets were wet. The temp was extremely mild for late November. Mist was hanging over the river and along the creek beds. The sky was cloudy but beginning to break.
Willimantic is a great town for street photography. At least the kind I like to shoot. There’s a great deal of ethnic diversity, a somewhat depressed economy, a nearby college, old neighborhoods, and historic buildings mixed with not so new architecture. It makes for great combinations and colorful material.
The town has a historic connection to frogs via the Windham Frog Pond. The story dates from 1754 when, after a long drought, the townspeople were awakened one night to a terrible noise. Fearing and indian attack, they took to the hills with guns. Finding nothing there they returned home, only to discover, the next morning, that the noise had come, not from the hills, but from what was left of the mill pond to the east, where, during the night, a fierce battle between the bull frogs for what was left of the remaining water had taken place.
The town is also known for its historic thread mills. So on the bridge spanning the river there are enormous frogs sitting atop thread spools. They also appear at other places about the town and seem to be thematic in countless windows and yards around the area.
I love the visual aspects of this town. The juxtapositions and the contrasts. I did a previous post on Willimantic. I don’t know if it’s just different material than I’m used to, or if this town holds something special that I need to document. Whatever it is, I’ll keep returning, as long as the holidays bring me there.
All images are Copyright © George Cannon, All Rights Reserved.