By Phyllis S. Donovan
Many years ago when we were just starting out in married life, one of my husband’s UMass Amherst fraternity brothers was working at New Departure here in Meriden. He talked my husband into coming for an interview there which led to his being hired for a job in management. That job brought us to Meriden even before we started a family.
At first we lived in an apartment in Wallingford but as our young family burgeoned, we had a house built by the Carabettas on a hill here in Meriden formerly inhabited by cows from Greenbacker’s and Shwink’s dairies. We have lived in the same house now for 54 years.
It was the best decision we ever made. First of all is our view. We can look directly across the valleys in between for the classic view of East and West Peaks and, depending on the weather, that view is constantly changing. On bright clear days, the mountains stand out and look closer to us than they actually are. The play of sunshine and shadows outlines their distinct shapes and differences. Sometimes they are completely shrouded in mist and virtually disappear, and other times they show up as a fuzzy mass on the horizon.
Whoever touted location, location, location, must have had Meriden in mind. Not only are we centrally located in the state, within minutes we can access major highways to take us in any direction – north, south, east or west – we are on our way in no time. Both Boston and New York City are an easy drive away. And coming home tired from a long trip, we don’t have to travel miles on back roads to reach our beds. Before we know it, we are exiting a ramp within a few minutes of our neighborhood. What a joy.
Let’s not forget the people. Through our church, clubs and service organizations we have met some of the nicest, most dedicated and giving people we have ever known. Only the past week we attended a holiday get-together of the Friends of the Library and Meriden Library Board followed the very next day by the annual dinner-dance of the Ys Men of Meriden at the Aqua Turf. At both functions, we knew and appreciated the dedicated work of everyone there as we socialized with them
We like that we can move from the bustling upscale shops at the mall to the glorious natural vistas from Gouveia’s vineyard high atop Whirlwind Hill Road in Wallingford. We truly do have the best of both country and city life.
And Hubbard Park is a real bonus! A drive through the park in the dark of night reveals a glistening array of lighted displays from birds and animals to trumpeting angels to decorated trees, walkways and buildings to stars hanging high aloft which can be seen from the highway passing through it. And new this year, there are even lighted skaters on a pond near the exit.
Tired of eating at home? The best of comfort food or fine dining are only a few minutes away.
Feel like taking in a first run movie, holiday concert or Christmas ballet? They’re all close at hand as are the best in Equity theaters. (Check out Scrooge and “A Christmas Carol” at Hartford Stage. We took all of our grandchildren to a production there several years ago and it’s still going strong in this holiday season.)
Require a hospital stay or top medical attention for any problem? Some of the finest hospitals in the country are just a short drive away.
Do I sound as if I feel lucky that we chose to settle down here so many years ago? That’s because it’s true. It’s a choice we will always be happy with and hope you are too,
It’s a good life! Enjoy it! Merry Christmas.