Saturday, May 28, 2011

My First Christmas Letter from Mystic (Dec '10)

Dear Family and Friends,

Last Christmas I never thought I’d be writing to you from New England! I used to love that old movie, “Christmas in Connecticut,” starring Barbara Stanwyck, and now I’m living that movie—minus the cow. Instead, life here revolves around sailboats and the restaurant, Mystic Pizza, which served as the inspiration for the movie, “Mystic Pizza,” starring Julia Roberts and debuting Matt Damon (his only line,"Mom, do you want my green stuff?" was said while eating lobster). Jim and I live two blocks from the restaurant and the Mystic River drawbridge that was featured in the movie.

In case you don’t know why we moved here, it wasn’t to eat pizza. When Pfizer bought Wyeth last year, they laid off Jim’s entire department. Right before it was time for Jim’s last day, Pfizer asked him if he would work in their Groton, CT, facility. With no other job in sight (unless he was willing to work in China), and our beagle/basset hound willing for a new adventure, Jim said yes. So, we sold our house within the month (April) and bought a house in Mystic—a seacoast village north of the Long Island Sound, located halfway between New York City and Boston.

We had visited Mystic more than four years ago—to get away after Elizabeth died. Although we loved its maritime charm, we vowed we would never go there again because the traffic along I-95 was horrible! Knowing we wouldn’t return, we bought souvenirs from the Mystic Seaport museum’s gift shop (mugs and glasses decorated with sailboats) and took lots of photos of the tall sailboats lining the Mystic River. Returning to Suffern, we hung those photos in our bedroom as a reminder of that lovely weekend—one that would never be repeated.

And now, here we are in Mystic. I don’t know why I never learn that God loves to have fun with me whenever I say “never again.” However, I really love living here. Our house is smaller (no basement), so we don’t have the room to hang those Mystic River photos. But it doesn’t matter because I look at that scenery every day when I walk Bailey into the village. Bailey loves it here too. He meets tourists from all over—many who don’t know what a smelly hound he really is. Several have kissed him on the face and let him lick them on their mouths! I think the travelers must miss their own dogs so they give him all kinds of liberties. Sailing families who stop in Mystic on their route around the world aren’t as enamored with him because they bring along their own canines. Sailing dogs are fun to watch as they proudly stand on the bow while their masters steer the boat under the raised drawbridge.

Needing to quit my job as a publicist for Rockland Community College in Suffern, I am now trying to make it as a freelance publicist, writer, and workshop presenter. I joined the Mystic Chamber of Commerce and am getting to know the businesses here, especially those in the tourist industry. I have just finished an article, “The 7 Wonders of Mystic,” for the Chamber of Commerce. If you want to read why you should come to visit us, just e-mail me at and I will send you the article or click on this:

P.S. Santa comes to Mystic by tugboat every year. After he listens to requests from children in Mystic River Park, the village lights the Christmas tree and continues the celebrations with a lighted boat parade. The following week there is a lighted car parade. I’m considering entering my convertible and driving with the top down with Bailey in the backseat wearing his reindeer antlers.

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