Diarmuid Hanafin

Workin’ for a living, searching for the next job whatever it may be. We do wood floors: sand them down, replace boards, fix thresholds, make them look good again. Whatever it takes we can do it. Got a call from somebody from the Eugene O’Neill Theater regarding some floors on Pequot Ave. in New London. I’ll take a look. Could be a good job, ye never know.

Me and D2 roll up, nothing special about the place. We meet the manager or man in charge, and he shows us the floors. They were the typical floors of the time and style of house, Southern Yellow Pine or fir, either or. Very soft, nail heads showing, not much left to work with. I definitely wouldn’t sand them, they had been worked too many times, by hacks.

So yer man starts talking about Eugene O’Neill to me and D2. I’m interested, D2 is not. This was his father’s house—his father was the very famous actor playing "The Count of Monte Cristo." High ceilings downstairs, upstairs very low ceilings. Very interesting indeed. We had the house to ourselves to work on. Day and night, D1 and D2 worked to salvage the cottage floors; we never really worked that hard. In those days, you always had several jobs going on, and you went from one to the others. Better chance of getting money that way.

The cottage did have a feel to it, but nothing out of the ordinary. We abraded the lower level floors, and on the breaks I read about Eugene O’Neill on the walls and on the stuff in the basement that I probably wasn’t suppose to touch. But they didn’t specify so I explored.

Oh yes, Eugene O’Neill Irish American liked his beer. Was man about town, and New London was his territory. I was building Hanafin’s at the time and would retreat from the cottage at the end of the work day and go to State Street, and look at the space and imagine what could be while having a beer. Guessing what Eugene O’Neill would quote about New London now that I could write as a quote on the wall of the new pub. The job was done completely in about a week, and I went on to State Street downtown, where he went, past The Dutch Tavern where he drank, past Crocker House where his father drank, past City Hall where he pissed everyone off, and up to The Mohegan Hotel where his brother stayed. All New London landmarks still.

After nine months we finished the pub and opened the doors. I thought after I had finished the floors at Monte Cristo that I knew New London, only now do I realize that Eugene O’Neill read me only the introduction to New London the story. You see, then I knew very little of the people who inhabit this town, and still after six years I am still only on the first chapter of the town that inspired Eugene O’Neill.

P.S. Oh yes! What was the quote that went on the wall of the pub? "There is no present or future, only the past happening over and over again."