I think we could all use a feel good story.
It starts with a little bit of history.
Georgetown, Connecticut is a village located where the corners of four towns — Ridgefield, Wilton, Redding, and Weston — meet.
My great grandparents lived in the section of Georgetown that’s in Weston.
They had a small farm with a bunch of animals and a small apple orchard.
One of their daughters, my grandma, got married and she and my grandfather bought a house in the Redding section of Georgetown.
A couple years later my dad was born.
That’s baby Papa.
How great is that picture?
So my great grandparents lived in Georgetown, my grandparents lived in Georgetown, and my dad grew up in Georgetown.
And my mom grew up in the Ridgefield section of Georgetown.
Back then the Gilbert and Bennett Wire Mill was a booming industry in Georgetown, and it employed a lot of people from different countries, but especially Sweden. There was a large Swedish population in town.
(Gilbert and Bennett wire mill photo credit www.historyofredding.net)
My dad’s dad was born in Sweden and my mom’s mom was born in Sweden, and both families ended up in Georgetown.
A large part of town was comprised of the buildings that belonged to the wire mill as well as housing for the employees.
With the growing population of town, a school was built.
It was named the Gilbert and Bennett School.
Both of my parents went to school there, and they were in the same kindergarten class.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT???
(About 30 years later my brother and I would go to vacation bible school there in the summers, and about 12 years after that I’d have my first job there as a camp counselor.)
Several churches were constructed in town as well.
In this tiny area of less than three square miles, there were six churches!
My parents started dating when they were 13 or 14 years old, and a couple years after they finished high school, they got married in one of those six churches — the Methodist church.
My mom was 19 and my dad was 20.
I was born about five years after they got married, and then my younger brother was born, and we lived in a little house right next to the Gilbert and Bennett School.
The year I started kindergarten, we moved to the Georgetown section of Weston, and my parents built a house on what used to be part of my great grandparents’ apple orchard.
So the point of that little history lesson is that my family is a four-generation Georgetown family.
My parents still live in the same house they built almost fifty years ago.
That’s why I’ll always be a small town (and Georgetown) girl at heart.
It’s in my DNA.
This isn’t just my story.
It’s a common story for many current residents of Georgetown. They trace their roots back to the wire mill days (and before).
Every summer Georgetown celebrates its history and businesses and residents with a celebration called…
My dad LOVES Georgetown Day.
This will become relevant in a minute.
One of those six churches I mentioned before is the Georgetown Bible Church.
It hasn’t been used for services in a long time, but my great grandparents (the ones whose farm my parents built their house on) used to go to church there.
Here’s what it looked like back in the day:
My dad cuts the grass there and maintains the grounds.
I never really knew how this came to be.
I assumed the church hired him since he also cuts the grass at the Methodist Church where he and my mom got married.
And then, last week, I randomly got a message from an old friend of mine.
We went to nursery school together in Georgetown. My grandmother was our teacher.
My friend is from one of those families whose parents and grandparents also lived in town and she still lives there.
Her message said, “Your dad got a really nice shout out today.”
It was from a local Facebook group. She sent me a screen shot.
(I contacted the author and am sharing it with her permission)
For sometime now, someone has been cutting the Georgetown Bible Church lawn. It has been a mystery. We had thought that the town was cutting it for the longest time since the parking lot is used for public parking during the week. They haven’t. Today I drove by and saw a man with a truck in the parking lot. He had a mower and weed wacker so I stopped.
I said “Hi, have you been cutting the lawn?” with a big smile on my face. “My parents have been wondering who was cutting it.”
He said “Yes, for some time now. Who are your parents?”
I told him. He said “Oh your mother went to school with my sister.” We chatted for a while. He knew my grandfather “Dink” who worked for Connery Bros, who used to deliver coal to his house as a kid.
I said “why did you start cutting the lawn?”
He said “well, we were down here for Georgetown Day a few years ago and the lawn was overgrown and my wife said Hey, why don’t you go down there and cut the lawn and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
I said “Well, we really, really appreciate and what a kind thing to do.”
He said “Well, I’m a Georgetown guy and I want to keep Georgetown looking nice.”
I said “I understand since my roots are in Georgetown too.”
My point here is amidst all the chaos, the virus, all the hate, all the disagreements, there are genuinely good-hearted caring people who are your neighbors. He wasn’t asking to get paid, he wasn’t asking for recognition, he just did it because he loves Georgetown.
God Bless you Mr. Lee Johnson and thank you for your kindness and your love of Georgetown!
I’ve always thought my dad was the GOAT.
But I’m a little biased.
To have other people recognize it brought me to tears.
Amidst all the bullshit going on in the world right now, there are still lots of really good people out there and some really awesome small-town communities and families who look out for and appreciate each other.
And every day, but especially right now, I’m really proud to be a part of one of them.