Winners announced in Windsor Historical Society writing contest

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Wed., Dec. 4, 2013
The winner of this year’s ‘Significant Objects Writing Contest’ chose this nutmeg grater as a centerpiece in her story. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

The winners have been announced in what is quickly becoming a standard yearly event for the Windsor Historical Society. The “Significant Objects Writing Contest” is an opportunity for local writers to cast their eye on one of three objects offered by the society and use their creative communication skills to tell the imaginary story behind the item. The prizes awarded were $100 for first place, $75 for second, and $50 for third.

This year’s three objects were: a Windsor map circa 1798; an 18th-century-style red cloak; and an 18th-century-style nutmeg grater.

Perhaps someone famous wore the cloak. Perhaps the mapmaker lived here in Windsor.  Perhaps the nutmeg grater belonged to someone who founded the town. All of these details were completely up to the writer alone.

The author who garnered the most “likes” (62 votes) on the Society’s Facebook page was Cree Jenkins. This 13-year-old writer created a story about a young girl who is quite dissatisfied with her life as a female in the 18th century. In a few brief paragraphs, she paints a picture of an unhappy adolescent who feels she is stuck at home… until she smells the nutmeg being freshly grated in her kitchen.

“All of a sudden the smell of nutmeg hit my nose and it snapped me out of my self-pity daydream. I watched as my mother took out the grater and started to scrape nutmeg against its rough surface to create seasoning.  I watched her effortless motion. She probably did this everyday and never complained.  I was being envious and I should be lucky that in only a few years I would be out of the house and not in a forced into marriage like my parents were.”

“I love to write,” said Jenkins. “I write a lot of short stories and poetry.” She said she chose the nutmeg grater because it was the “best for the piece.”  She also employed her social studies teacher to help her edit the piece to fit within the word limit for the contest. As to what she will do with her winnings, Jenkins says she will probably use it to buy Christmas presents for her family.

Coming in second place, with 49 votes, was Hartford resident Leigh-Ann Hammond. Hammond took a different approach by recalling a piece of family lore.

“In 1798 my ancestor Charlotte, was a literate thirty-two year old mother of three and widowed.  She was hired by a local man to help create maps of the growing town of Windsor Connecticut. A widespread area much larger than it is now, an important stop on the river filled with farms, business and families.  The map maker was an elderly man, childless and also widowed.  He had a fondness for Charlotte and her eldest boy Harold and from what I am told, he provided her not only income to sustain her family, but also a treasure map.  That’s right, it is believed that he knew the location of a treasure that had been brought by ship up the Connecticut River under the cover of night, hidden within the town of Windsor and was to be later reclaimed.  But that same ship met an ill fate and never returned.  This cartographer, a man my family simply referred to as “The Benefactor”, is said to have created a treasure map disguised as an unassuming town map where he left a trail of bread crumbs to riches untold.”

Third-place honors were given to another local 13-year-old girl, Grace Birch, who received 47 votes. Birch used the red cloak as her centerpiece.

To read each essay in its entirety, visit the Historical Society website,

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