Newtown, Connecticut not far from minds in Berkshires

Sunday December 16, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Bubbled away from the rest of the nation, 9-year-old Christopher Nadeau was one of the few clueless to the Friday shooting of young children at an elementary school in Connecticut.

He does now.

Christopher didn’t even need to ask before his mother told him on Friday about the children at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"She told me a 20-year-old guy went to an elementary school and he killed 20 kids and eight adults," said Christopher, who was promptly corrected by his father Chris who had completed some shopping at Walmart.

"Seven," Nadeau responded.

Throughout communities across Berkshire County, even if it was for a brief moment, there was a pause of acknowledgment during local events and homes to recognize the loss experienced by those in Connecticut.

The shooting took place across the state line nearly 100 miles away.

Nonetheless, the developments in Connecticut were addressed in Pittsfield.

Nadeau said it was important to tell his son so he wouldn’t go to school scared.

"If he has any questions I am happy to answer them," said Nadeau, who said he makes a point to keep an open line of communication between him and his children.

He has three children, but Christopher -- who listened then moved on with his day -- was the only one older than 2.

On Saturday, local institutions also took a moment out of the day to acknowledge those who died. The Berkshire Dream Center would include a prayer and moment of silence before a tree-lighting ceremony.

Social media, Berkshire Community College and statewide orgainzations, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General, posted sympathies and a notice.

The First United Methodist Church on Fenn Street hosted a candlelight vigil.

Stephanie Filiault, minister of Christian education and outreach, said it was done to show the people of Newtown that they had their support and their prayers.

Filiault also said that she made a point to hug and kiss her 8-year-old daughter Piper on Friday after she picked her up from school. She told her daughter -- who asked her not to say anymore -- because there was no way to shield her daughter from what was happening.

Other churches in Pittsfield, North Adams and Chicopee have also held services.

Before a holiday party and potluck at South Congregational Church, the Pittsfield Squares said a prayer and lit a candle.

Dee Gardiner, president of the square dance group, said that there would also be a moment of silence during intermission. Newtown is home to the square dance group the Rockin Roosters.

"If they need anything, we are there," said Gardiner, who attended a service yesterday.

For Nadeau, Christopher’s father, he said a line communication was open for as long as needed.

"I let them know they can talk to me about anything."


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