Interview with the Authors

This interview was conducted  with authors Ceil Donahue and Jessica Bottomley in July of 2017.

What was your inspiration/motivation behind writing this book?
(Ceil): I was motivated to write this “Image of America” book because it is important for East Windsor to share its heritage and to preserve the past for this and future generations.  Having photographs, postcards and maps as visuals makes the history come alive.  I was inspired by my husband’s uncle, Joseph Vozek.  I aided Uncle Joe in bringing to fruition his 1993 2-volume work “The Village of Broad Brook” now in the town libraries’ reference section.  I approached the historical society and that is where I met Jessica Bottomley, the society’s archivist.  She is amazing to work with and contributed her vast knowledge and computer experience to the project.

(Jessica): I completely agree that the primary motivation for the book is to share East Windsor’s heritage and to preserve the past for future generations. Having this book can really connect the present to the past. I have a real love of East Windsor’s history and of the people who have lived here and called it home and I think it’s important that we honor our past. When Ceil approached the historical society with the idea, it was very exciting ! Ceil did a vast amount of research and really spearheaded the making of this book.

What did you find most interesting/enjoyable about writing the book?
(Ceil): Meeting with people.  I am grateful for their generosity in sharing their photographs and family history in regards to the town.  The book is dedicated to “all amateur historians of East Windsor who kept a photograph or wrote a paragraph to keep the town history alive.”  Everyone knew a different part of town history.  I also enjoyed the research aspect and checking to make sure all the facts are correct.

(Jessica): I completely agree!  I also really enjoyed finding ways to tell the story of the town. Each picture and each bit of information work together to tell the story of how East Windsor started and what has shaped the town and it’s people to what it has become today.

Any challenges or unexpected hurdles to writing the book?
(Ceil):  Although the historical society and Joseph Vozek’s research material is plentiful, it was difficult to find early, original photographs and information on certain sections of town.  This is where we relied on town’s people and a lot of research.  There are 192 pictures in the book and each one has it’s own story.  It was very difficult to cull the information down to approximately 70 words per photo.  So much more could have been written on each one.

(Jessica):  Completely agree!

Do you have a favorite story/chapter/part of the book?
(Ceil): The chapter introductions are my favorite part of the book.  East Windsor is made up of five distinct villages, Warehouse Point, Scantic, Broad Brook, Melrose and Windsorville, each historically different.  Each village highlights the rich and diverse heritage of the town.  It is very interesting to see how each village was established and how they melded into one town.

(Jessica): My favorite parts are the unexpected tidbits of information that you’ll find throughout the book. Just tiny fragments that surprise you and make your proud to be from East Windsor.

Do you have any ideas/plans for another writing project?
(Ceil):  Not at this time, but I thought after helping Uncle Joe with his book, I was finished writing.  One never knows.

(Jessica): No current plans for a writing project but you never know when someone might walk in the door with an idea!

Anything you would like to mention or draw attention to the book or writing process?
(Ceil):  Since 1680, when Simon Wolcott crossed the Connecticut River from Windsor to maintain the first farm in the soon-to-be town, a lot of time has past and history gets lost and forgotten along the way.  I believe that life-long residents, as well as new residents, will appreciate this book’s format and people will be very surprised about how East Windsor was formed.  We can be very proud of our town’s heritage and the people who helped form it.  History is not made by just big events alone, but by ordinary people living their everyday lives.  History is formed minute by minute just as it is today.

(Jessica):  I think it’s important to know that creating this book didn’t happen overnight. It was a process and it required the effort of many people, most notably Ceil. She spent countless hours doing research, contacting folks, and writing and organizing. Without her, this book never would have been completed. And it’s also important to note that there were many helpers along the way. Family members and others gave their time to proofread, share ideas,  pictures and history, and contributed in many other ways.

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