While Colleen Kelly Mellor completes her new book, Patient Witness (about her lifelong interaction with the medical community,) she will post to her blog on Mondays, only.
Reason I ask is I hear all the time from others: “Oh, I LOVE Rhode Island!” Or “What a beautiful state.” It’s times like these that I have to pinch myself, for I suspect I’m in some kind of weird alternate universe, disbelieving my own ears.
Why? The noise on the homefront (in Rhode Island) is almost always The Opposite.
Folks in my native state never seem to appreciate the jewel they inhabit. They take for granted the coastline, parks, bike paths, little hamlets, beaches…the interesting topography of rolling fields, forests, lakes, rivers, and waterways.
Its sheer manageability (despite Rt. 2, and 95’s busy-ness, 5:00 PM on) is a serious perk since drivers CAN avoid bottlenecks by going peripheral routes.
Folks in other states in the Northeast have little choice but to use clogged interstates to get wherever.
Then, too, there’s our wildly-divergent ethnicity. Because we were a Land of Many Mills, streams of immigrants came to our shores, and when those mills shut down, folks translated their skills to another medium.
Many opened restaurants. So, we’re inundated with really good ethnic food.
My own little town, West Warwick, saw many divisions: the Portuguese in Phoenix, the Irish on Arctic Hill, the Italians in Natick, the Polish in Crompton. It was in that little village I grew up, on Pulaski St., named for the Polish Revolutionary here, Count Casimir Pulaski.
I, myself, was raised on Polish golumpki and pierogi (I love the cabbage-filled dough purses.)
We were one of the few Irish families in that neighborhood, tho’ there were some French, too. And we were a working-class town. Some few merchants rose above that station, but they stood out, as exceptions.
Our town wasn’t a wealthy one…
But today, when I tell people who ask that I live in Rhode Island, almost all associate our state with that enclave of the super-rich–Newport.
In the 20’s, the wealthy obviously saw a good thing in Rhode Island when they came and built their mansions along Cliff Walk and the ocean. Here, the Vanderbilt’s… the Rockefellers… sojourned by the sea.
They piped in sea water for their baths (the rest of us washed off the salt) and regaled their walls with fine art of the Masters.
Today, folks come from all over to see these giant “Summer Cottages,” in the same way people come to America’s Most Visited Home, Biltmore House, in Asheville, NC.
Stands to reason: Biltmore and RI mansions had the same designer, Richard Morris Hunt.
In recent years, we Rhode Islanders knew that Anthony Quinn bought a home in RI and lived there, ’til his death. There’s the Betty Hutton story that saw that famous actress of the 40’s and 50’s come to Rhode Island and fall in love with our little state so much that she determined she’d stay, taking on a job as cook and housekeeper in a rectory for a Roman Catholic parish, in Portsmouth.
Yes, she was troubled; a priest helped rehabilitate her (she’d fallen victim to alcohol and drug abuse); but I guess Rhode Island blinded her, too, in a manner of speaking.
More good news for Rhode Island, since this ‘foreigner’ came in, fell in love, and plopped a huge amount down to live among us….if only rarely.
I don’t know if Swift knows this, but Watch Hill isn’t really a Rhode Island community. Oh, it is territorially, but it shares way more of a mindset with nearby Connecticut (who don’t really have their own good beaches—That’s why they come across our state border, in droves, to access ours.)
So, an interesting conundrum: “Who values our little state more? People who come and stay for a while…. or people who were born here?”
I’d opt for the former—especially since I travel and hear the good news about little Rhody all the time—
Oddly enough, that good news always comes from people who don’t live here.
Now my question: “Have you been to Rhode Island?” “Do you value it…and why?” Then again, “Are you a native?”
Now, here’s a pic of Taylor Swift’s “Cottage” by the Rhode Island sea….and here’s a peak at her in her striped bikini, as she paddles in RI’s coastal waters. She’s a really cute girl… but she’s never ever gonna be as cute as Rhode Island…