It's hard to find in a bleak, zig-zag city like Woonsocket, but there's a sand-colored church on a hill on a one-way street that has an unrealistic view of everything. You can see Providence and the bay and the slow, white sailboats like the ones on the quarter.
You have to be careful where you park because the priest keeps close watch. Next to the church is an old building with a bad steel bridge behind it. I would not recommend driving over it.
Nearby the mill houses are empty and blackened. The factory is no longer in use, but the bitter smell is still there. Like welded metal. It was a toxic avenue that they really would like everyone to stay away from. I did not think people died in those houses, but in the 60's there was some kind of chemical incident in the big brick factory, one of those old employers that kept families fed.
On sunny days on the weekend, families come over from Massachusetts (Blackstone, Millville, Uxbridge, Bellingham) to see the view, which dazzles, and the modern ruins. It hurts and it draws you in. You can't conceive of it. You can't even photograph the story. Well, I can't. Maybe you can.
In the days of ironworking and textile weaving and lunchpails and overalls, the men played 19th century baseball. Mill versus mill in Woonsocket, giving birth to people like Nap Lajoie. The Comets played at Island Park. It's the projects now, where telephone poles break and wires dangle by metal siding and the repairs are not a priority, because it's the projects.
Sleek, smart people don't like going to Woonsocket, a perfect example of entropy. I can see it fraying and fading and one day it will break apart from everyone, an ice floe, and drift north until it melts away entirely. Do you know who will be carried away?
No, you don't, because you've forgotten them already.