Saturday, November 05, 2011

Fox Road and Kimberly Lane, Woodbury CT

The early Nor’easter, snow storm Alfred, came up the east coast at the end of October and knocked out the power everywhere in Woodbury, except for my house. Well, in eighty per cent of the town. So my Uncle Bob flew up from Florida to check for damage at his house on the last parcel of land still in the family, what’s left of the old Rinaldi Homestead at the end of Fox Road. My Great Grandfather Giovanni left Italy, worked himself out of debt in Brazil and then bought the property here over 100 years ago, at one time owning acres and acres.

(I wrote a little about this before and I just can't seem to find them and link you to them, but I will. For now I'll stick in this photo from 1934 with the house Giovanni built in the upper left hand corner, interrupting all the zigzag stone rows, the double ones Indian paths...)

There are ragged little bits of zigzag stone row along the road and I parked by a big mess of hanging maple branches where the row was breached for his driveway about 40 years ago. I helped build the house, just a teen age kid still in high school. I was even the night watchman at the construction site, sleeping under the stars when Uncle Bob went on vacation to Cape Cod – and building a clear plastic tee pee when the rain moved in. It was still raining the night Uncle Bob drove back home and he stared in disbelief at me and my brother out in that field that was to become his yard. He couldn’t see the plastic or the poles in the dark, just me and my brother sitting around a little campfire in the pouring rain.

My Great Grandfather's Stonework

Around the back of the house, a huge oak had fallen, missing the house by about 18 inches. I vaguely remember a sort of “stone wall” being there 40 years ago, that Uncle Bob had gradually taken apart (which he said he regrets now) to build his foundation and some retaining walls, and looking east I could see what was left of it. It wasn’t your typical “stone fence.” It was more like the remains of a couple stone mounds. The one closest to the house was longer than it was wide, in some places the stones were almost eye level and definitely not the work of my well-known stone mason great grandfather. It’s got that “Indian Look” to it, the artist component, the inclusion of cultural motifs, the effigies I associate with a Native American stone structure.

And I’ll stick my neck out to guess a date for this one. There’s a large boulder that definitely looks worked to resemble the shape of some sort of animal – with a couple of inches of the mark I associate with a metal drill by what would be the left eye of the effigy, the petroform. There are other effigies in the chunk of stone row, these segments of stone structure, and there’s a higher than usual degree of artistic talent in the sculpting of the stones incorporated into it. Of course I had no camera with me, but I’ll be checking in on Uncle Bob in the next few days, and I will bring the camera…

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