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Chelsea Murray's wonderful new friend at the market in Ceret, France.
Story and Photographs by Chelsea Murray
(Editors note - For the next several months Chelsea Murray is working her way across Europe on a network of organic farms. Chelsea and her boyfriend Michael Kaneb spent two weeks harvesting potatoes in Bavaria, in southern Germany, and are now harvesting olives for a month on a farm in the south of France. They hope to continue on through Spain, Portugal, Italy, Albania and Greece. Chelsea has been writing columns for the Observer (which is owned by her father) since she was 11 years old. She will continue to report her adventures as time and internet access allows.)
After helping my farm host set up her stand at the market in Ceret, France (the city where Picasso, Dali and other artists had flocked to for inspiration), she informed me that I was a free woman and could wander around for a few hours to take in the sights, smells, and culture of a French market. My first moments alone were spent breaking from my vegan diet again (it's the lifestyle at the farm I'm working at), and sampling hoards of cheeses, meats, delicious baguettes and perusing through people’s wares.
Celebrating 20 years of publishing The Waterbury Observer, John Murray decided to leap out of an airplane 10,500 feet above Connecticut. The plunge reminded Murray that launching a business with no money, or chasing dreams of world travel all have one thing in common, facing fear, and letting go.
Story By John Murray
Photographs By SkyDive Danielson
For most of the twenty-minute ascent I tapped into breathing exercises, and positive imagery, to try and keep myself calm.
“That’s the University of Connecticut,” said Norm Nault, my tandem skydiving instructor, “and if you look to the south you can see Long Island Sound.”
At 5000 feet my attempt to relax faltered, and the metallic taste of fear marched across my tongue. I looked around the plane - which was no bigger than a car - and checked on my daughter, Chelsea. If I was starting to lose it, I was sure Chelsea’s heart was clanging against her chest. Chelsea was tandem jumping with instructor Scott Barylski, a dead ringer for actor Ben Stiller. There was something comical, and terrifying, about hurling yourself out of a tiny airplane with Derek Zoolander strapped to your back.
Alfalfa Bill Murray wrote the constitution for the state of Oklahoma, was elected to Congress, was Governor of Oklahoma, and ran for President of the United States in 1932. He has been described as the most influential politician in Oklahoma history.
Story By John Murray
On a rolling hill of red dirt, burnt grass and bristles, we arrived at Alfalfa Bill Murray’s grave in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, with a bag of ice, a bottle of blended scotch whiskey, and a sweet potato pie. My daughter and I had sliced our way south from Connecticut through Washington D.C., the Blue Ridge Mountains, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, and into Oklahoma in two days. We set a blistering pace and stopped to eat, refuel, sleep, and occasionally pose for ridiculous photographs with a ten-inch chalk bust of our deceased ancestor that I had purchased on ebay.
By John Murray
Lugging a dream around in your head for 15 years is tiring. The only path to freedom is to hurl yourself towards the fire and either transform the dream into reality, or fail trying. A dream without effort will never materialize, so it was with a sense of relief that I unchained one of my dreams last Autumn, and set out to create a multi-cultural festival in Waterbury celebrating the extraordinary diversity of the people living and working in the city.
Spending a year in Greece was a dream realized. I had the extraordinary opportunity to explore Greek culture, tour the islands and the mountains, and discover buried secrets in my family's past.
Story By Chelsea Murray
That was the question people asked relentlessly, eyebrows raised, when I stuffed my possessions into a backpack and broken suitcase and jetted off to Greece for a year to study abroad. Greece is a foreign country, but my study abroad plan sounded especially foreign to my inquisitors. Why not London? Why not Spain?
My answer was simple, “I’m Greek.”
Story By Chelsea Murray
Catherine Rodgers of Naugatuck learns to evade a choke hold. Photos By John Murray
I was robbed my last night in Greece.
After watching the sunset from the Acropolis, myself and two friends took a short cut back to our apartment. On our way through the cobblestone streets we encountered a young Gypsy couple, who stepped out of the shadows looking for a smoke. My friend gave them a cigarette and loaned out his favorite lighter. After small talk about how quiet the streets were, the man pocketed the lighter. My friend calmly protested and asked for his lighter back. Instead of the lighter, the Gypsy pulled out a switchblade and thrust it against my friend’s throat.
Chelsea Murray literally grew up inside a newsroom. When she was five years old the Observer was launched in the dining room of her father's home. Eighteen months later the newsroom moved into her living room when the Observer expanded to five employees. During the past 18 years Chelsea has experienced every facet of the newspaper business - writing, photography, marketing, production and distribution. She began writing youth columns at the Observer when she was 11 years old. Chelsea won first place in the 2002 Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists annual competition for a column she wrote about a teenager dying of cancer. Her column was chosen over 35 entries submitted by seasoned, professional journalists. Chelsea was just starting her writing career - she was 14 years old.
The Smell Of Rebellion
By Chelsea Murray
A person’s sense of smell is an incredible thing. It can aid in recalling past memories, stir up hunger for certain foods, and make someone sick to their stomach. I have taken in many smells in my life, but I will never forget the smell of a Greek riot. The potent mixture of burnt rubber, tear gas, and sweat from protestors and police smacked me in the face as we stepped into the center of it all on the night of December 9th.
Column by Chelsea Murray
Elizabeth Gilbert was born in Waterbury and raised in Litchfield.
My Dog Brother
Column By Chelsea Murray
My house mate Christina and her family are putting their 13-year-old German Shepherd to sleep this weekend after a losing battle with cancer. Christina went home to visit Cheyenne for a final time and is struggling with the impending loss. I live with seven girls in a house at Marist College and we’ve all spent time consoling Christina, and talking to her about this difficult family decision. In the process we’ve all opened up about our own dogs and how they’ve impacted our lives. I’ve come to realize that everyone has a dog story.