I'd like to talk about two people I've known. Not that I knew them better than anyone else did, for that is not true. But I knew them a little. They were both transplanted New Yorkers, both had second homes in Torrington, and both have passed on. Despite the reputation New Yorkers have, they were both nice people, at least to me, and I learned something from each of them.
One was William Shirer, my neighbor. He bought an old saltbox up the road that was in the Loomis family for generations, after his wife, Tess, picked it out. I've been told that I'd have to explain who William Shirer was. Shirer was a print journalist, a radio correspondent (one of Murrow's Boys at CBS), historian and author. He was present outside the rail-car when the French surrendered to Germany. Broadcasting from Berlin before American involvement in the war, he used biting sarcasm to get his message past the German censors, and it took them a while to catch on. In the early 1960's he came out with his seminal work, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, one of the most important histories of the war. It is over 1100 pages long. He told me one time, when I was young, that a good day writing was ten pages. And he was a good writer.
The other person was Rea King McCarty. She and her husband Clinton lived in the old Noah Drake home in Newfield. She later found out she was actually descended from Drake somehow. I didn't meet Rea until the last few years of her life. She had been active in the Audubon, had a radio show in New York and moved to Torrington and raised Morgans. She also had a radio show here and her own newsletter- Rea King's Courier. She proudly displayed a picture of herself and a young JFK, when he was running for Senate, at the top of her staircase next to her home office. She had a forceful personality that could sometimes work against her. But it could also work in her favor. She was a founder of the Heritage Land Preservation Trust and steadied its' rudder, one way or another, for many years.
I don't know if it was the only reason, but Tess Shirer and Rea knew each other, and Tess donated twenty acres to the Trust, one of the first such donations.
The point I'd like to make is not that they knew each other and it worked out for the Land Trust. My point is that two successful out-of-towners came to Torrington, liked what they saw, and invested in the community. We need more people like them . We need that viewpoint ourselves.