OPINION: Keeping the eagle flying

OPINION: Keeping the eagle flying



Sometimes I find out that something I think I remember isn’t necessarily exactly the way I “remember” it. I assume this is strictly a function of age, probably caused by the build-up of a certain amount of dust, or maybe rust, on the circuit breakers in the old cranium.

Other times, though, I can confirm that the fuses and relays and solenoids in the attic are still working surprisingly well. Some of them, anyway.

Case in point: This short list of scraps and exemplars and vestiges of what I might call Connecticut Culture that I’ve spied here and there, now and then, over the years:

■ Loitering around at the Smithsonian Institution one time, decades ago, I noticed a display case full of silver-plated items made in Meriden. And it turns out there are more such in the Cooper Hewitt collection, in New York.

(Later that day I discovered what appeared to be the original Ruby Slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” on display at the Library of Congress, along with the contents of President Lincoln’s pockets on the day he died. Highlights: Two pairs of spectacles and a Confederate five-dollar bill.)

■In the movie “A Separate Peace,” which came out in 1972, there’s a locker-room scene and on the lockers you can clearly read the word “Corbin,” a proud New Britain name from way back.■Another movie reference: In “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension,” from 1984, there comes a moment when someone says, “This is a job for the Kolodney Brothers,” or words to that effect. This is another Hardware City reference, as the Kolodney Brothers used to have a store downtown and the movie’s director (one W.D. Richter) was a native.■ And then there was the time I was making a connection at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when I stumbled upon a beautifully restored propeller from a United Airlines Douglas DC-6B, on display there as a proud relic of the Hamilton Standard division of United Aircraft, later a part of United Technologies, still later morphing into Hamilton Sunstrand, then into a couple of other iterations. Since then, the prop — originally attached to a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, of course — was moved to San Francisco and now resides, I believe, in Denver. (In an odd coincidence, I now recall — or think I do — that W.D. Richter’s father once worked for Hamilton Standard. I think. Either that, or chalk it up to another blown-out vacuum tube in the old cerebellum.)■And you can go just about anywhere in the country and find yourself in an Otis elevator. Which always makes me feel safe, because I hate riding in an elevator that nobody was willing to put their name on.

Anyway, what this is all leading up to is that United Technologies is merging with Raytheon and moving its HQ to suburban Boston, but it’s still a big part of Connecticut’s industrial history, and always will be. At least that’s what I take away from the assurances we’re hearing that most of UT’s 19,000 Connecticut employees will remain in the state, with only a few dozen suits moving out, and that “Raytheon Technologies will maintain a strong presence in Connecticut for years to come.”

How strong? How long? They’re not saying.

Reach Glenn Richter at grichter@record-journal.com.


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