On December 6, 2014 the Welsh Society of Western New England had a special guest attend the annual Christmas Luncheon. Dylan Thomas arrived, in the person of Glyn Dowden, a Society member known for the ability to impersonate the famous writer. He told the story of Thomas’s life, accompanied by a slide show of photos of Thomas, his family, the house in Laugharne, and of Swansea where he was born Thomas, alias Glyn Dowden, was a welcome guest at the event, which took place at the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Holyoke MA. The Inn is a Victorian-style building, with lots of dark wood, but the Garden Room has a wall of windows, so it was flooded with natural light, even on a rainy day.
At noon there was a brief cocktail hour, during which Beth Roberts Brown served as hostess of a very successful Teacup Auction of Welsh products and memorabilia. Christmas crackers were pulled with gusto and heads adorned with multi-colored crowns. Jokes were heard across tables, inciting both laughter and groans. The atmosphere was festive, filled with the warmth of camaraderie and affection.
Announcements were made by the President, Susan Davies Sit, followed by the fascinating history of one of Wales’ most influential authors. Many of us were familiar with Thomas’ writing, but Glyn chronicled the story of a life cut short at the age of 39, adding the details that gave the background of his life and how that affected his writing and early death. The singing of Welsh Christmas carols, led by Leslie Spencer and the Welsh national anthem, followed Glyn’s performance.
Gifts were exchanged in the form of smiles, hugs and the greetings of friends who are connected by love of Wales, the Welsh people, language, and history, but also by the community we have created together.