Snapshot: Kelly L. Goodridge
Occupation: I’m a writer and college professor. I’ve taught composition, fiction writing, and literature classes at Western Connecticut State University for 19 years and at Naugatuck Valley Community College for 15 years. Before that, I worked as a journalist. My husband and I also run Twin Terraces Press, a small publishing company we founded in 2018.
Family: I live in Newtown with my husband and best friend, Oscar De Los Santos, and son, Alexander L. Taylor. My sweet mom, Yvonne Kopins, also lives here and so does my brother Steve and his wife, Sue. My younger brother, Lance, and his wife, Carrie, live in Arizona.
Pets: I have a 12-year-old Jack Russell. His name is Beowulf, and he’s blind in one eye and going deaf. He’s a presence and I love the big dog personality in this little 22-pound being. He’s as epic as the Old English poem he’s named after.
How long have you lived in Newtown? I started kindergarten at Hawley School, went to the middle school, and graduated from Newtown High School. Other than living a short time in Arizona and New York, I’ve lived most of my life here. This Halloween marks 28 years in my current home.
What do you like to do in your free time? My husband is also a professor and we’re blessed to able to spend a lot of time together. During the quarantine, we created a website and co-wrote a children’s book. Besides spending time with family and friends, I enjoy reading and decorating.
What is your favorite book? I’m a lifelong reader and my taste in books is eclectic. One work that sparked a love of reading when I was young is E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. I also enjoy reading books on ufology [the study of UFOs] and conspiracy theory; fiction, especially short stories; and medieval literature.
What is your favorite travel destination? While I’ve visited gorgeous places overseas, I love the United States. We have a beautiful country with a lush and green east coast and stunning sunsets and canyons out west. I’ve visited every state but Alaska, so that’s on my bucket list.
What is the best part about Newtown? I love all the town landmarks, past and present. Besides my paper route and babysitting, my first job was at the Yankee Drover Inn. Our flagpole is iconic, as is The Newtown Bee building, the Liberty and Peace Monument, and our town parks. My husband and I got married at the Inn at Newtown. My son attended all the town schools I did. I also appreciate our local eateries and wonderful people like Eunice at Bagel Delight, Frank at Panificio Navona, and Angelo at Sal e Pepe. Most of all, I treasure the friends I’ve made here in Newtown. It’s not quite a Hallmark movie town, but it feels close.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? I lost my dad, Ron Goodridge, five years ago, and he influenced me greatly. He modeled discipline and hard work as a means of achievement. He was ambitious and as my Uncle Jim once said, “Ronnie was tough as a bag of hammers.” My dad was an airline pilot, business owner, avid reader, and conversationalist. As the years march on, I recognize how strongly his love and lifestyle have influenced my life.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? Besides a holiday meal with all my relatives living and passed, I’d like to spend time with the late Major Jesse Marcel, Sr, from the Roswell UFO crash. He broke his silence in 1978 and told the world that what he’d recovered at the 1947 crash site was “not of this Earth.” Really? I’d love to talk with him and maybe go back to the very day he showed his wife and son what he’d recovered from the New Mexico desert.
Who is your favorite musical artist? As with books, it’s hard to choose just one. I love the crooners like Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Ella Fitzgerald; storytellers like Harry Chapin and John Prine; and talents like the Rolling Stones, Sarah Brightman, and Sturgill Simpson. Rock music from the 1970s is also a guilty pleasure.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? My step-grandmother, Connie Kopins, was an antiques dealer. One day we were eating tuna sandwiches on 18th Century Limoges china. I told her I was nervous about using it. She told me, “Darlin’, if you don’t use the good stuff, it’s like telling yourself you’re not worth it.” I’ve come to realize that Connie was right: Every day is a special occasion.
What is something you cannot live without? My faith in God.
What is your proudest accomplishment? I love being a mother. My son is one of my favorite people on this planet. My greatest physical accomplishment is regaining mobility after a full knee replacement two years ago. It was the eighth surgery on my left knee. Since then, I’ve worked hard to live an active life. My recovery has affirmed my ability to set a goal, work hard, and achieve it. I now bike five days a week on a stationary cycle, and my husband and I walk six days a week.