Bodenwein would have been proud

I'm writing to thank The Day for again being there when I needed you.

The night Storm Sandy hit, at the climactic moment when it was making landfall in New Jersey, a violent squall showed up in the upper right-hand corner of a radar display on the Weather Channel. It appeared it was heading right for our house. Within minutes, the house shuddered under the force of an 80 mile-per-hour gust of wind. This, Sandy's last punch before the winds began to subside, knocked out the power in our neighborhood, leaving us literally and figuratively in the dark.

What happened to New Jersey? New York? Stonington Borough? Did the tidal surge flood the New York subways? One minute we were wallowing in news, the next we were plunged into a primitive darkness.

That is until the next morning, when I made my ritual trek down the driveway to pick up The Day. I half expected not to find it, especially after I noticed a large tree had fallen across the road. But there it was, my old reliable friend, wrapped in plastic, full of professional reporting about what happened after the lights went out. And it was there the next day and the next, my only window to the outside world until the power returned.

It's worth mentioning that The Day brought the public the news it desperately needed after another disastrous storm in 1938. Day printers had to drive to Bridgeport to publish the newspaper because there was no electricity to power the press in New London. Shortly after that, just before his death in 1939, Day publisher Theodore Bodenwein composed a will that placed his newspaper under the protection of a trust to make sure it would continue to inform the region after he died.

Sandy reminded me that we are blessed that he did so.

The writer is retired deputy editorial page editor of The Day and teaches journalism at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point. He lives in Old Mystic.


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