Update on Thomas and Victoria Williams

17 09 2015

East Hartford cemetery and meeting 003Yesterday, I visited the Center Cemetery in East Hartford, CT, to check on the Williams grave. Marty had alerted me to a new marker she’d seen online, so I checked it out. Sure enough, the Friends of Center Cemetery had erected a plaque identifying Thomas and his history. Thirty markers total were scattered around in what will become a podcast site tour option. Others included freed slaves, Civil War casualties, small pox victims, and captains lost at sea.

East Hartford cemetery and meeting 004Later, I met some of the Cemetery Friends and they described an encounter with a great-grandson at the cemetery one day. They had an informative conversation with him. He had mixed reactions to the attention paid to Thomas: proud but reserved about the publicity. The cemetery group lost contact with him and hope to reconnect (FCenterCemetery@gmail.com) with family members.

East Hartford cemetery and meeting 009After visiting the cemetery, I spoke at the annual meeting of the East Hartford Historical Society. This devoted group of historians eagerly heard how I discovered Thomas and Victoria’s story, my research, connections with Williams family members, and how I integrated the information into my latest novel, Caravan of Dreams. I was particularly pleased that I was able to bring this information back to East Hartford, where Thomas and Victoria ultimately resided in the Old Farmer’s Hotel. Life does come full circle!

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Shining Encouragement

24 08 2015

Dancing girl with sunflower 001It is summer and I am walking up the hill through a tree-covered archway on a dirt road, as I have done regularly for the past thirty years. I pause, as usual, at the Dancing Girl, a spindly hemlock with its trunk and roots resembling a gracefully moving young woman. But today, a few feet away from her splaying roots, in the gravelly till of the roadside, I catch sight of a splash of yellow rays and I stop short. Dead in my tracks, as they say.

For years, I’ve noticed this tree, with its roots exposed and clinging to rocky outcrops. They resemble legs, its trunk a torso, and its branches the swaying arms and head of a dancing girl. For decades, I’ve hiked up this dirt road and encountered a host of oddities, including discarded condoms and bundles of the Hartford Courant, enormous dead fish, blood-red saprophytic plants, and glimpses of fisher cats and red fox. One day, I was stung under the rim of my glasses on my eyebrow by a yellow jacket. Another, I tumbled head over heels into a ravine for no reason at all. “Okay”, I’ve shouted to whatever essence was floating around me. “Enough. I will find and tell your story.“

Now, I have started my story, writing what I was meant to write. It has taken me years, decades. All this time, I walk by the Dancing Girl and pay tribute, thanking her, my muse, for this story. Giving the Dancing Girl updates on my minuscule progress, I watch her succumb to hemlock wooly adelgid and become a bare skeleton, as her tops break off and her bark chips settle on the ground. Yet, she still clings to the rocky roadside.

I have begun, the story is being told, and as I write, I discover it’s not just the Dancing Girl who has changed over these years, but both of us. I have moved from one who identified the species of trees and gave all things names to someone who experiences those things’ presence. I have changed from one who experienced those things’ presence to someone who realizes I am actually those things, just as they are me. We are all interconnected, and all filled with the same grace that permeates our world, if we are open to it.

I pass through the tree archway, no longer evergreen hemlocks but tall swaying oaks and maples and ash. But there I am, naming again. I open my heart to these sheltering trees and I hear them whisper, “We will protect you.” I sense it so strongly; I feel tears of relief. I belong, I am them, they are me, we are part of this living organism, this earth. My role is clear: to live as present and harmoniously with life as is possible. And to tell others about it.

“We have begun, the story is being told.” I tell the Dancing Girl, even though she is dead, that her tale will now live on past her decaying trunk. I encourage her to let go and crash to the ground and finally come to rest. Yet, she stubbornly stays.

And now, today, I am startled by the splash of yellow. A small sunflower has pushed up through this hostile, shady, nutrient poor, salt-filled substrate and is smiling at us. He humbles me in his simplicity and beauty, optimism, and sense of continuity. “Dancing Girl,” I say, “you are still here.”





Gypsies in Connecticut

27 02 2015

BookCoverImage 01.07.15On Saturday, February 28, I am doing a presentation on gypsies in Connecticut at the Russell Library at 2pm in Middletown, CT. I’ll be providing the background and historical records that I used to develop my historical novel, CARAVAN OF DREAMS.

Thanks to Stephan Allison, WESU, for a great interview on this event and the new publication. Please take a listen!





The Light Gets In

24 11 2014

My latest novel is now in print! Ebook or paperpack. Check out: The Light Gets In.





Middletown author releases second novel

8 11 2014

Hey, take a look at what else Beth Lapin is doing! BethLapin.com

Middletown author releases second novel.





Middletown author releases second novel

8 11 2014

Thanks to Kathleen Schassler for the great article in the Middletown Press

 

 





Middletown CT Celebration November 9

7 11 2014

BookCoverImage Final 09.23.14I’m pleased to announce a celebration of my second novel, The Light Gets In, with a book signing event on Sunday, November 9 at 1:30pm at the Cypress Restaurant.

In this sequel, Ben, Maia, and Tina, accompanied by their faithful canine friends Orion and Stella, continue their adventures from TO SAY GOODBYE. Ben, loyal to his father, obsesses about his widowed mother’s potential relationship with a family friend. Maia is bored with her job until she learns she might lose it. Tina, Ben’s daughter, is determined to keep things status quo and her career on track despite a second pregnancy.

Contrary to everyone’s expectations, life’s events send them all into uncharted territory. British secrets, an abandoned mansion, and Mother Nature challenge Ben, Maia, and Tina to let go of their search for perfection and recognize the value of their flaws. For it’s through the cracks that the light gets in.

Autographed books will be available for $10