And the Award Goes To . . .
Most of us in Heritage Village know Ed Edelson. If you play tennis, you know Ed. He has a mighty swing, good form, and when his game is ‘on’, watch out! If you play volleyball, you’ve seen Ed serve with vigor, accuracy and he can still jump, a little! If you lived in Southbury in 2011, you know Ed served Southbury as a fine First Selectman. Ed, and his wife Christine, also owned and operated a B & B, Cornucopia at Oldfield in Southbury. Perhaps you stayed there.
But, did you know that Ed has written a children’s book that has been nominated as a finalist for the 2021 Connecticut Book Awards in the category of Spirit of Connecticut? Connecticut Book Awards recognizes and honors those authors who have created the best books in or about the State of CT.
When Ed first learned of the nomination, he was quite surprised. When he realized he was a finalist in the Spirit of Connecticut competition, he was further amazed and felt very honored. Ed will be competing against other books in the following categories: Adult Fiction, Adult Non-Fiction, Poetry and Young Readers, which is Ed’s category.
The name of Ed’s book is Lois’s Story: A Young Girl’s Inspiration Helps to Stop Hate and Fear. It’s based on real events that actually happened in Southbury, in 1937, when a neo-Nazi group calling itself the German American Bund, tried to build the largest training camp in the US right here in Southbury!
Ed became aware of the story when former Town Clerk Joyce Hornbecker stopped at the B & B. Next, Ed, Rabbi Eric Polokoff and Reverend Shannon Wall committed to making a documentary about the events that occurred in 1937 to show how the citizens of Southbury worked together to keep the German American Bund from creating the training camp. Under the skillful hand of filmmaker Scott Sniffen, the documentary premiered in 2012 in time for the seventy-fifth anniversary of that event.
Through Ed’s persistence, the documentary, ‘Home of the Brave, When Southbury Said NO to the Nazis’ made its way to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. As a result, the Southbury story is now a permanent and important part of that exhibit, which is called ‘America and The Holocaust’.
And this is the place where the idea for Ed’s book first materialized. While Ed was browsing in the children’s section of the Holocaust Museum Bookstore during the exhibit opening, he decided a children’s book about what could have happened in Southbury needed to be remembered. He decided to tell the story through the eyes of the ten year old daughter of Reverend Lindsay, the Minister of the South Britain Congregational Church at the time and a leader in the Southbury effort to stop the Nazis. His oldest daughter’s name was Lois, hence the title of the book, ‘Lois’s Story’.
Ed’s book has become part of the fourth grade curriculum in Region 15 schools. He is optimistic that other school districts in this state and others will adopt the book, which he feels is worthwhile and important reading for children ages 9 through 11.
I asked Ed if he thought the reaction of the people of Southbury to the American Bund would be the same today as compared with the attitude in 1937. He recognizes thought leaders today have a myriad of diverse feelings, and it’s harder to be optimistic today of a unified response. Preaching hate and creating fear makes one group oppose another and divides us. ‘Lois’s Story’ is important because she and her father and the rest of Southbury were united and stood up against bullying and mistreatment of others, and for American values.
Here at Heritage Village, we send our hearty congratulations to Ed! As did Senator Richard Blumenthal and Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, who have called him and sent personal congratulatory letters.
Locally, Ed’s book, which is beautifully illustrated by Betty Ann Medeiros, can be purchased at Newbury Place in Southbury and at Hickory Stick in Washington Depot. It can also be purchased on online at www.Amazon.com.
Written by Doris Sommers, October 2021