The rusting shell of Ronald Allens blue Chevy Caprice Classic sits behind a shed in his mothers yard off River Road in Preston.
Edith Bolles has all sorts of keepsakes of her seven children from her two marriages. She cherishes the baby shoes, the kerchiefs from Cub Scout uniforms, the Barbie Dolls. She admits to silly sentimentality, but she wont get rid of the mementos.
And she has the Caprice with no engine.
She keeps it because thats where one of her sons died when he was 29. Ron Allen was found inside the car, where hed parked in the opening of a small woods off Krug Road in Preston. He killed himself with carbon monoxide fumes on Dec. 19, 1987, according to police and autopsy reports.
That night, Karen, Rons wife, had called Bolles, worried about his whereabouts. Ron had told her he was going to his mothers in Preston to get a Philips-head screwdriver for assembling a miniature table-and-chairs set that was to be a Christmas gift for their two young children. It was about 11 p.m. and he hadnt returned to the couples apartment in Jewett City, which they rented from Kings Chapel member Mary Bowles.
Karens concern was compounded by the fact that Ron was depressed. He had seen a therapist in Massachusetts that day. Also, he recently had gotten some counseling at United Nuclear, where he worked, and at The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, according to his mother.
About two weeks before his suicide, Bolles and one of her daughters went over to the Allens apartment to talk with Ron. Her son, she says, was very upset about just signing the papers to sell the house he had almost finished building not far from his mothers, off Amos Lake.
We knew he was irate about the sale of his property, Bolles said.
Along with other church members, she says, Karen endorsed the plan to sell the house. Bolles claims that her sons psychological troubles started when the plan was first hatched. Shes adamant that money was not the real reason he finally agreed to the sale. Hed held a good job for about 10 years, ever since he graduated from Norwich Free Academy.
Selling that house was not what Ronald wanted, said his mother. He said he was brainwashed.
One of Rons sisters, Caron Wunderlich, said, They told him his house was evil because it was materialism. He was submitting himself to materialism, and he needed to get rid of that materialism. And by the same token, they wanted the money.
Bolles says that her son, Karen and their young children had lived with her until about a year before they moved into the Jewett City apartment. She could never understand why they suddenly went there.
After Rons body was found on Dec. 22, his Caprice was taken to an auto business in Jewett City and then to a farm in Preston, where the engine was removed. When Bolles found out that it was nearby, she gave the farmer $200 for the frame, and he towed it with his tractor to her home. Ron had built the engine in her garage, about three years before he died.
Karen, Bolles thinks, is still in Florida, where she moved shortly after the suicide. She thinks Karen is remarried and figures the children are now in their early teens.
She used to call me on Halloween evening, Bolles said of a short-lived connection to her former daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. I havent heard from her in about nine years.
I wish I knew my grandchildren.