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King of Cornwall



›James Thurber may forever be associated with two places: the Columbus, Ohio, of his youth, which provided the setting for some of his most famous tales; and the Manhattan of the 1920s and ’30s, where he made his name as a writer and cartoonist with The New Yorker. What’s less well known is that Thurber actually spent a good half of his life in Connecticut, renting or owning a series of homes in Fairfield and Litchfield counties and doing much of his most memorable work here.

Thurber’s name is back on movie screens this December, with the release of a new version of his famous short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” This time Ben Stiller stars as Mitty, a mild-mannered everyman who fantasizes about a life of derring-do.

While the latest movie Mitty may take geographical liberties with Thurber’s original, much like its 1947 predecessor with Danny Kaye in the role, the writer himself set his story in Connecticut. In it, Mitty is accompanying his wife on a shopping trip to Waterbury, the mundane details of which are repeatedly interrupted by his imaginary adventures. He is, in rapid succession, a fearless pilot, a peerless surgeon, an expert marksman, and a fearless pilot again. That last fantasy ends when Captain Mitty, about to embark on a perilous bombing run, feels something strike his shoulder. It is his wife, demanding to know whether he remembered to buy dog biscuits.
“Connecticut was always one of his favorite places,” Charles S. Holmes wrote in his 1972 biography, The Clocks of Columbus. “He loved the physical beauty of the land and the picturesque charm of the villages, but most of all he loved the sense of being surrounded by history.”

Thurber arrived in the state in 1929, renting a home in Silvermine. Later moves would take him to Greens Farms, Sandy Hook, Colebrook, Litchfield, Woodbury, Sharon, and Cornwall.
In the preface to his 1944 collection, The Thurber Carnival, Thurber noted, “In the past ten years he has moved restlessly from one Connecticut town to another, hunting for the Great Good Place, which he conceives to be an old Colonial house, surrounded by elms and maples, equipped with all modern conveniences, and overlooking a valley.” The success of that book apparently allowed him and his wife to buy just such a place, in West Cornwall, which became their home until his death in 1961.

Biographer Burton Bernstein refers to the Thurber of those years as the “King of Cornwall,” and like a king, he could sometimes be a royal pain. Tim Prentice, a sculptor who grew up and still lives in West Cornwall, recalls that Thurber often came to dinner at his parents’ house. As a boy, he says, he would remove the heating grate from his bedroom floor and watch Thurber holding court in the family’s living room below. “He could be very entertaining or become sullen and mean-spirited,” Prentice recalls. “And he would never go home until four in the morning.”

Pilar Sureda, whose mother was also a Thurber friend, has a similar memory. “Thurber was a monologist,” she says. “He wasn’t really interested in a give-and-take conversation. He needed to have a listener next to him, someone who would fuel his ideas and keep their own under wraps.”

Aside from entertaining the neighbors, Thurber seems not to have been overly involved in civic life in Connecticut, perhaps because of his work or his failing eyesight, the result of a childhood accident. He did, however, strike up a correspondence with the popular Connecticut radio host Bob Steele. By then nearly blind, Thurber wrote in a huge, childlike scrawl, with only a handful of words to each page. Steele responded in large block letters, designed to make it easier for Thurber to read, according to Phil Steele, the radio host’s son and now an attorney in Hartford. The younger Steele included an example of the latter in Bob Steele’s Century a recently published multivolume collection of his father’s papers.

But difficult or dispirited as Thurber may have been at the time, the topic of their correspondence was classic Thurber, their mutual love of puns.

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December 2017

SHEPAUG TO STAGE THE 1940s RADIO HOUR OPENING NIGHT – FRIDAY DECEMBER 8 WASHINGTON, CT,  November 5, 2017 – Shepaug Dramatics is proud to bring The 1940s Radio Hour to the stage...

Cost: $10 Per Ticket, $5 for Seniors and Veterans

Where:
Shepaug Valley School
159 South Street
Washington, CT  06793
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Sponsor: Shepaug Valley School
Telephone: 203-770-1891
Contact Name: Julie King
Website »

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The Smithy Store will host a complimentary coffee and chocolate pairing event on Sunday, December 10 from 2:30 to 4:30 featuring Zero Prophet Coffee and Plum Brook Chocolate. ...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
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Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Carol
Website »

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The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
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Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

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St. Michael’s Parish will present Candlelight Advent Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 10, beginning at 4pm.   St. Michael's Parish, illuminated by candles, provides a...

Cost: Freewill Offering

Where:
St. Michael's Parish
25 South Street
Just off the Litchfield Green
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: St. Michael's-Litchfield
Telephone: 860-567-4456
Contact Name: Jo Ann Jaacks
Website »

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In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

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The Department of Theatre Arts will present "Happy Holiday from Irving Berlin: A Musical Revue" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside...

Cost: $7-15

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
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The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

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The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

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Sodexo will host a Hot Chocolate Bar with Toppings from 1 to 4 p.m. in the WCSU Student Center Restaurant on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Students can use a meal...

Cost: $9.75

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White St.
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies at WCSU invites the campus community to join them at a screening of the documentary, "Jane," based on the life of Dr. Jane...

Cost: $5

Where:
Bank Street Theatre
46 Bank St.
New Milford, CT
View map »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

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Sodexo will host a Hot Chocolate Bar with Toppings at The Daily Grind in the WCSU Campus Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The cost is charged a la carte. For...

Cost: A la carte

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave. Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The OWL Cookbook Club wants to simplify your holiday baking! Join Audra MacLaren and Patricia Moore as they host the Cookbook Club’s Holiday Cookie Swap Party. Be inspired by one of our...

Cost: FREE and open to the public.

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

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Unplug and spend the afternoon crafting and creating! The Litchfield Historical Society’s Crafternoons will explore a new theme in history with hands-on crafts and games that encourage...

Cost: $7 members; $10 non-members

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06032
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
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Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

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Join us the 3rd Friday of each month for a light lunch, music and dancing. Music this month: “Michael Ciulla Music made possible by the NW CT Community Foundation Litchfield Community...

Cost: $7.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Want to see the tallest Christmas tree in Connecticut?  Then taking a visit to Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce featuring a 100 foot tall Christmas tree is a must! Join in the fun with a...

Cost: Adult $15.99, Children (4-10) & Seniors $11.99, Children 3 & under – FREE

Where:
Lake Compounce Theme Park
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

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Paul Winter's Winter Solstice celebrates the spirit of the holidays with the extraordinary acoustic of NY's greatest Cathedral, St. John the Divine. This multi media event features...

Cost: $90.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Rd.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

WCSU will host a 5 p.m. planetarium show Saturday, Dec. 16, followed by telescope viewing of the sky from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Westside Observatory and Planetarium on the university's...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

As part of the Newtown Savings Bank Fine Arts & Family Series, Ives Concert Park will present the world-famous Harlem Gospel Choir at 7 p.m. in the Veronica Hagman Concert Hall in the Visual...

Cost: Advance tickets $25, at the door $30

Where:
Veronica Hagman Concert Hall
WCSU Visual & Performing Arts Center
43 Lake Avenue Ext., Danbury, CT 06811
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Telephone: 203-837-8732
Website »

More information

As part of the Newtown Savings Bank Fine Arts & Family Series, Ives Concert Park will present the world-famous Harlem Gospel Choir at 7 p.m. in the Veronica Hagman Concert Hall in the...

Cost: $25-30

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Want to see the tallest Christmas tree in Connecticut?  Then taking a visit to Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce featuring a 100 foot tall Christmas tree is a must! Join in the fun with a...

Cost: Adult $15.99, Children (4-10) & Seniors $11.99, Children 3 & under – FREE

Where:
Lake Compounce Theme Park
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

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