Sunday, September 23, 2007

willie, nancy and the river

an amazingly detailed story about two people who ended up in hartford, living by the connecticut river. two people with hard lives but two people who made a way for themselves. two people who have each other and the river

a shout out to christine dempsey for reporting on this tale
River Life: Peace, Pain

By CHRISTINE DEMPSEY The Hartford Courant
EAST HARTFORD - Nancy watches as her home goes up in flames.She wants to rescue her cat, but two cops at the scene tell her it's too dangerous.It's just a shack. But Nancy has lived there for more than a decade.
Some 75 yards from the Connecticut River, the 10-by-18, carpeted structure had everything she and a longtime friend, Willie, needed: kerosene heaters, food, books, even photographs. Willie built it in the early '80s with wood he collected.Now, the heaters have exploded. Firefighters are hampered by the remote location. There are no roads, so a custom-made, four-wheel-drive truck with a tank supplies the water.Thick, black smoke is visible to Hartford-area commuters. Willie, too, sees it from downtown."I was on Main Street, picking up some things," he says later. "I saw the smoke, and I had an uneasy feeling."By the time he gets back to the river, his home is gone. His first concern is Nancy, but she's safe at town hall.Only possessions far enough from the heat and flames survive - a 30-foot-long wood pile, birdhouses and windsocks Willie had hung from branches, and more than a dozen chimes attached to a beam he'd tied up between trees. A memorial to a pet is intact, protected by a crude wire fence. A small, tattered American flag is affixed to it.Firefighters suspect a candle started the fire. Nancy has her own theory: "Arson.".........

No comments: