On the way home for Christmas (in New Hampshire), my long drive took me past Newtown, Connecticut, site of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre. I didn't attempt to go to the school, knowing that it would still be roped off as a crime scene. It was Friday, exactly one week from the shootings. But I stopped on Main Street, a humble road about a mile or so, dotted with the town hall, a general store, and a busy funeral home. Yes, there was a service going on.
There were makeshift memorials everywhere. Flowers, teddy bears, you name it. A woman stopped me, thinking I was a "local", and asked where she could find someone associated with the school system (she had brought artwork from her students). I told her I didn't know, and before I could say I wasn't a local townsperson, she gave me a hug. There were a lot of hugs that day. Also a lot of cameras, although most of the network news vans had all left — just local news vans from Boston to NYC.
I parked behind the town hall (pictured above). In the parking lot, there were several portable storage containers, containing toys sent from other towns around the country.
Below, you cam see policemen and firemen forming a line, as they pass the toys into the sub-basement of town hall.
On the doors to the town hall, there was a sign indicating that a counselling session was in progress.
I stayed for about an hour. As I left, I passed the St. Rose of Lima Church, where a service was taking place (Obama had spoken there only days before). Across the street, about 60 television cameras were lined up to film the proceedings (which were happening inside at that moment), with cameramen and newspersons quietly talking and smoking cigarettes.
I took a wrong turn and passed by the theater for the Town Player of Newtown, a small black box theater where The Underpants had been playing earlier this month.
I then stopped for gas and a bite at La Paneta on the outskirts of town. La Paneta was apparently a popular spot with the teens, who were getting out of school that day, and were all wearing the same T-shirt — something about "peace" and "We Are Newtown". And they were smiling and laughing as teenagers do, and thinking about the upcoming holidays. And all around in that strip mall, there were Christmas shoppers. It could have been anywhere, USA. Guess life does go on.