2018-08-30 / Opinion

Guest Editorial

Rest in Peace, Newport Grand

Newport Grand’s closing this week has triggered many conflicting reactions by the population of Aquidneck Island. There are those who bemoan the disappearance of the monies that have been channeled into Newport‘s coffers since the Casino opened, countered by the elation of those who opposed the facility in the very beginning.

One dedicated group is wondering what they are going to do with the free time that will be theirs after the closing: a sizeable collection of senior citizens who had been spending a good deal of it at the casino.

I began going to Newport Grand 13 years ago when my husband died. It actually was one of my daughters who suggested I go there since it was summer and it was air conditioned. I was lonesome and unhappy about spending evenings alone… never was one for watching much TV except for ball games (guess which teams!) and had difficulty hearing at the movies.

Once I started going, I discovered the Grand Grille and the wonderful food they provided. Since I hadn’t yet adjusted to cooking for one, I had been sunk until I found my new “joint.” Besides, it was noisy, bright, exciting when you hit a big payout, and safe.

I saw many people I hadn’t seen for years. Who would have thought? I reunited with three widows my husband and I used to take dance classes with at the Knights of Columbus almost 50 years ago. We couples had drifted apart over the years when we stopped going to dances and functions. No more late nights for us and here I was back to late nights!

We started having dinner on Friday nights and rebonded. The camaraderie between this group and the waitresses who never changed in 13 years was wonderful. How nice to enter a dining room and have your coffee cup on the table before you were seated!

In addition to making new friends out of old, I will also miss the actual new friendships I made at the machines, where many players who often sat next to each other had bonded, even though we never saw each other outside of those walls. Being with friends both new and old helped a great deal as I learned to cope with the loneliness I was experiencing.

After participating in the gambling aspect of the casino for a few years, I began to receive great promotions in their mailings. They included coupons for discounts on meals, many gifts, including Vera Bradley purses and Sharper Edge items, and entries in many, many drawings.

I know there are many in my Newport Grand Senior Circle who will not have transportation to Tiverton.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for an entrepreneur to step up to the plate and initiate a shuttle between Newport and Tiverton?

Maybe Twin Rivers or RIPTA could toss their hats in the ring?

If you are going and have room in your car, give me a call.

RIP Newport Grand.

Florence Archambault

Return to top