Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

Holy Land

Ray Drainville

Culled from my Facebook posts:

I was born in the depressed industrial town of Waterbury, Connecticut. For about the first half of my life, I lived within 30 miles of it & so knew the town pretty well. As a child, it seemed like a big city to me. It’s not.

In any event, looming over Waterbury, on a hill, was a huge, glowing cross. This was the site for a kitschy Catholic attraction called the “Holy Land”, a 1/4 scale representation of Christ’s life. My understanding is that the cross has been replaced, but I vividly remember flying back to the UK from Newark & passing over Waterbury: you always knew you were there because of the huge looming cross. The attraction is not maintained: there are some wonderful pictures of this decaying place.

My mother brought me there as a small child & inadvertently added to my confusion about religion. My father always brought me to a tiny church in a village called Bethlehem: I clearly remember thinking, “If this stuff is so important, wouldn’t it be a bigger deal?”. Now, however, as we walked through a depressing plywood Jerusalem, with statuary about waist height, I thought “Well, people were supposed to be smaller then”.