A Cruise Night to Remember

Herb Caso’s black 1930 Model A Coupe looks just like the car my mother owned during college. 

Caso’s car has a rumble seat, as did my mother’s. (Ford offered rumble seats as options on some Model A’s from 1928 through 1936.)

The original roof on Caso’s car was wood, as it was on my mother’s car, although in the process of restoring his own car, Caso replaced the wood roof with a metal one.

“I modernized everything,” he said.

Herb Caso showed his 1930 Ford Model A Coupe, with a rumble seat, at Cruise Night.

Caso’s automotive treasure was one of hundreds of cars and trucks and some oddities driven and trailered to Main Street in Middletown, CT, for Wednesday evening’s 25th Cruise Night, an annual event sponsored by the city and the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. (Like many recent gatherings, the event was held virtually in 2020 and 2021.)

The cars on display ranged from badly in need of restoration to lovingly restored, although some were new enough to not yet need restoration – like a late-model Maserati that turned heads near Court Street.

And there were vintage emergency vehicles: a 1939 Cadillac LaSalle ambulance (body by Meteor Coachworks), a 1962 Seagrave firetruck with an open cab. 

Michelle and Shawn Small admire a 1926 Ford Roadster pickup. Shawn is 5.

There was also an assortment of pickup trucks, ranging from a blue 1926 Ford Roadster to two modern trucks that towered over everyone, on very large tires (taller than my nearly 4-year-old grandson) and enormous lifts.

Also on view was a 1967 Ford Cobra 427.

I would guess there were more Corvettes of various vintages on view than any other single model, including a 1963 Corvette that has clearly been treated well, and another in an early stage of restoration.

A 1956 2-door Chevrolet Belair being examined.
A 1962 Fiat 500D. The car has a 0.5-liter engine, which can propel the car from 0 to 60 in about 27 seconds.
Joe Sandella drove his 1956 Ford Sunliner convertible from home, and plans an upcoming trip with it.
Another 1956 Chevrolet Belair – this one in “Crocus Yellow.”
The speedometer on Cathey Fox-VanBlancom’s green 1955 Ford Thunderbird.
This hood ornament advertises Motometer Manufacturing, of Long Island City, N.Y.
This 1962 Seagrave firetruck with an open cab was a popular backdrop for family photos.

Rediscovering The Connecticut

Yes, the days are growing shorter, but there is still plenty of light each day to take advantage of one of the most pleasant sailing outings on the lower Connecticut River. Whether it’s a daytime trip or the popular Sunset Cruise, the Onrust is likely to please anyone with a desire to be on the water.

The ship – a replica of an early 1600s Dutch coastal exploration ship – is based for the season at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex. Because of the simplicity and traditional design of the ship, the modern sailing trips harken a bit back to the 1600s.

The Onrust carries a large gaff-rigged (and loose-footed) mainsail. By design, it should also carry a long spit – a spar that reached from the tack (the lowest spot where the main attaches to the mast) up to near the end of the gaff, but it broke before the ship arrived in Connecticut.

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“Portraying Independence” – Then and Now

Connecticut’s John Trumbull may be best known for his painting The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. Despite its precise title, what Trumbull created by 1819 (and repeated twice again by 1832) was a carefully crafted record of an event that did not take place exactly as or when he portrayed it. In this painting there are meticulous portraits of 42 of the 56 delegates who would eventually sign a revised version of the declaration, but the initial presentation to Congress of a draft of the Declaration of Independence took place on June 28 (not July 4) and was far more sparsely attended. Trumbull worked hard to represent the spirit and personnel of the event, if not all the other specifics.

John Trumbull, The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, 1832. Oil on canvas. Purchased by Daniel Wadsworth and members of the Atheneum Committee, 1844.3. Reprinted with the generous permission of The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Even forgiving Trumbull’s casual regard for some of the details of the event, there was more amiss than just that. 

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Fighting Cabin Fever

(This post was published previously, on another blog I maintain. I imported it from that blog this July, which explains why it’s posted in the summer, but concerns wintertime activities.)

It’s winter 2018 — or the roller coaster that may pass this year for winter in Central Connecticut — with fits of warm weather, occasional low teens, minor snow or ice … but still a simmering risk of cabin fever. (Sometimes just knowing it’s winter is enough to keep a person bundled up indoors, busy on some type of puzzle or book or computer.)

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The 200-Million-Year-Old Footprints Down the Road from my Home

I read recently that Rocky Hill, my new hometown, is “a typical bedroom community.” Nonsense. How many “typical bedroom communit[ies]” boast thousands of authentic dinosaur tracks from the Jurassic era, hundreds of which can be visited inside a whimsical building for nominal fee?

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Power concedes nothing without a demand


The tagline of this occasional blog – “The battles we fight, the wars we wage” — closely describes the life of Frederick Douglass, a Black man born in February 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland, a long-established Colonial community where, up until the Civil War, some one-quarter of all residents were of African or Caribbean descent, and were enslaved.

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Saving Bits of Our History


My nearly 88-year-old mother was awake until midnight recently, reading letters that took her back 50 years or more, to when her family was very different and included both her parents, and her father was ill with cancer that, in the martial vernacular of terminal illness, he fought valiantly. (If that means he maintained his love and compassion for others, despite his own painful illness, then yes, he fought valiantly.)

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Happy Birthday, Lauren Rousseau

I never met Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau, who was murdered in December 2012 by a disturbed young man who had likewise never met her, but whose doting mother had provided him with access to high-powered firearms and who had made sure he was well trained in how to use them. Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Lauren Rousseau”

Memorial Day


(Above photo by Todd Heisler / Rocky Mountain News)

Monday, May 30, 2016, is this year’s Memorial Day – a federal holiday set aside to honor Americans who died while serving in our nation’s military.

Officially, the day has been noted in some manner since 1868, when it was called Decoration Day. It is not to be confused with Veterans Day – Nov. 11 – which honors all of our nation’s veterans.

Monday – Memorial Day – is a time to honor the more than 1.3 million Americans who have perished during their service over the 241 years of our wars and conflicts and operations, from the beginning of the Revolution that brought us our independence, through Operation Inherent Resolve.

Lily Burana’s extraordinary post from the May 2012 New York Times, along with Todd Heisler’s image of love, heartbreak, dedication, tell a story that echoes across all those years.


In my own family, we will be honoring my Great-Great-Great-Uncle August Heller …

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