As Published in the Record Journal Sunday July 17, 2011
Editor’s note: Below is Jason Zandri’s final “From Wallingford” column. We thank him for his contributions to our readers and community, wishing him well in future endeavors.
When I got my first paper route in 1979, I didn’t know that I would have so many ways to contribute to the local news other than delivering it. I had my Outerwear Adventures in high school, my exploits with moving violations in the police blotter, and writing letters to the editor (to name a few), but I never thought I’d get the opportunity to write regularly for the paper.
Ted Moynihan’s “The Townline” ended and Editorial Page Editor David Andrews approached me with an opportunity to write regularly for the paper as part of a new column to be titled “From Wallingford” every third week opposite town “veterans” Stephen Knight and John Sullivan. As time would pass, John would leave to run for Town Council and the column alternated between Steve and me.
I enjoyed the synergies that came from writing directly opposite of Steve. There were times we were apart on issues and it was nice for Record-Journal readers to get both perspectives. There were also times when we would be (gasp!) in complete agreement on things — and I am sure that left people on the extreme left and the extreme right wondering what unbalanced the entire universe.
When the cycle comes around again, another town “veteran,” Mike Brodinsky, will be taking my place.
I wish I could continue to write for the column, but the one constant in the universe is change — and change is coming. I have a saying that I am fond of: “move along, or move on.”
I could continue “doing my thing” as it has been (“moving along” here in this column and out-and-about in town) — trying to do my best to be a better grown-up, good citizen and fair example to my kids of how one should be part of a community. I would be good with this, but I feel like I have more to offer and I cannot achieve it all from the outside.
I wouldn’t so much call what I am doing “moving on,” as that almost sounds as if it should be tied to getting out and doing something different. I would rather liken it to “stepping up.”
It’s easy to say “someone should take care of this,” yet way more difficult to be the “someone.”
If there is more to be done and someone needs to do it (and you find that no one is), then perhaps you should step up and be “someone.”
My passion for this comes from that infamous statement that was delivered by JFK from before I was born: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
What better place to try to do that than home? Wallingford has so much more potential, but we need everyone involved and in the game — residents, businesses and the administration. All three, separately, are parts of the whole and they cannot achieve well without the others. Only together can they reach greatest success.
I don’t believe, even in this economy and in the dismal mindset, that Wallingford cannot achieve greater things. It’s all up to the people. If they want to buy into all the gloom and doom and “it can’t be done,” then it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I’ve personally proven “it can’t be done” wrong quite a few times, and I will continue to try to raise that number. “No” is a great motivator for me (just ask my parents or high school teachers). It takes a lot of “at bats” and strike-outs to hit home runs. The thing to remember is to keep your eye on the ball and never give up swinging for the fences.
So, dear readers, thank you for indulging me for the past two years, and always remember — “it’s your town; get informed and get involved.”