Dec 2012 | Childhood Photography

Non-sensical is how a childhood friend of mine described Friday’s shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut which claimed the lives of 26 souls: 20 first-grade students and another six, educators who worked there.

Detail: 1913: C.M. Shipman: American: his son, Mulford Cressey Shipman, (1910-1921) who died suddenly according to his obituary, plays with his toy sailboat in a birdbath: vintage platinum print with hand-coloring from memorial album: image: 21.8 x 15.2 cm: album support: 26.3 x 30.5 cm: from: PhotoSeed Archive

He had come to know the school’s psychologist, a victim of the shooting who occasionally gave my friend rides to school because of proximity of residence. The news was equally devastating for me, because some of my happiest memories as a child and teen were spent in Newtown, a place very close to where I grew up. I often went to the Edmond Town Hall movie theater there with my dad and brother. It cost only $1.00 to get in back in the 70’s and 80’s and I’m sure it was front page news in the local newspaper–the wonderfully named Newtown Bee– when the price shot up to the current admission of $2.00.

The town landmark,  however,  is the large flagpole dating to America’s first centennial in 1876 just down the street from the theater. Along with picture-perfect 18th century colonial homes flanking main street leading up to it, this beacon with Old Glory now at half-mast is their version of Grand Central’s famous clock. With great restraint, foresight, and deliberate zoning keeping the fast-food joints far away, the town fathers and mothers have thankfully preserved their past and home, founded in 1705 and incorporated in 1711. Dating to before our Republic’s founding, it’s possible an American president has been through this neck of the woods before; perhaps just not in recent memory. Besides standing in solidarity with Newtown’s surviving families and helping to bring closure to our national collective grief from this most incomprehensible tragedy, let’s hope his visit there tonight spurs definite action and realistic solutions to our long-running conversation on gun regulation. We owe our children nothing less.

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