KIDS: Representative Christel Truglia

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Know Your Legislator:
Representative Christel Truglia

Do you know who represents you and your family in the Connecticut legislature? If you live in the southwest corner of Stamford, you are represented by Christel Truglia. ConneCT Kids wanted to learn what Representative Truglia was like when she was your age.

  {Photo of Rep. Truglia}
Rep. Truglia taking the oath of office at the start of the 2007-2008 General Assembly  session.
{Photo of Rep. Truglia}

Rep. Truglia's family in Germany. Front row, left to right: Hilde, Christel, Marlies, and a friend named Lutzie. Back row: an aunt, Christelís father, Christelís mother, an aunt, and the parents of her friend Lutzie.

{Map showing German town where Rep. Truglia grew up.}
The red star on this map shows the location of Schotmar, the German town where Rep. Truglia lived.
{High school photo of Rep. Truglia}
Rep. Truglia's high school yearbook photo.
Imagine growing up with air raid sirens going off and bombs dropping near you. Thatís how Christel Truglia grew up. Christel now represents Stamford at the state Capitol in Hartford. But she grew up in Germany, during World War II. 
Christelís mother was an American from Stamford. Before the war, she traveled to Germany and fell in love with a German headwaiter at a resort hotel. They married, settled down in Germany, and had five children Ė including a bouncing baby girl named Christel. Christel lived happily with her parents, her three sisters, and her brother. But their lives changed forever in 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. That started World War II in Europe.
As the war went on, life became very difficult in Germany. Food, clothing, and other things that people could buy before the war became very hard to find. Everything was needed to help soldiers fighting at the front.
Also, American, British, and Russian airplanes began dropping bombs on Germany. Christel barely lived through these air raids. One night, a bomb fell on the house next to hers. Miraculously, the bomb never exploded. While the bomb was being carried away from the neighborís house, Christelís family moved into a very small home where all five children had to sleep in one bed.
In 1944, when Christel was eight years old, her father died from a heart condition. The next year, Germany surrendered. American soldiers marched into the town where Christelís family lived and occupied it. Their job was to make sure all the German soldiers had surrendered and to help the German civilians recover from the war. Because Christelís mother was American, she translated for the soldiers when they needed to talk to the Germans. In return for her help, the soldiers brought food and American coffee to Christelís mother. Christel would often take the leftover food and coffee to the elderly people living nearby.
In 1947, Christel's family left Germany and moved to Darien, Connecticut, where they lived with relatives. Christel soon began attending the Royle School in Darien. She spoke very little English at first, and she failed her first spelling test.
Because of the war with Germany, some of her schoolmates were not very friendly to Christel. But other people were kind to her. One of them was her fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Barnes, who bought Christel a pair of jeans so that the young girl could fit in better with the other kids and play soccer. Mrs. Barnes also bought Christel a Girl Scout uniform so that she could join a Girl Scout troop.
Once, Christelís fifth-grade class traveled to Hartford to visit the state Capitol, and the class even visited the governor in his office. The governor was very nice to them, and Christel still remembers the teacher buying her green ice cream (which she later learned was pistachio) and riding back to school on a rickety old bus that seemed as though it wouldnít survive the trip.
Christel loved junior high school, and she played every sport she could. She especially liked ping-pong, which she learned on the ship coming from Germany to America. Christel studied hard and eventually became a member of the National Honor Society. She also began to make many friends.
After high school, Christel worked for an insurance company in Darien. She also sang in the choir at her church and got to know the organist there, a man named Tony Truglia. They fell in love and got married. Tony and Christel had three children and, later, seven grandchildren.
When Tony was elected to the state Senate, Christel went to the Capitol with him so often that she had her own desk and chair there. Tony died after an automobile accident in 1987, and with lots of encouragement from family and friends, Christel decided to run for the legislature on her own. She won election in 1988, and has since won eight more two-year terms.
Christel, now Representative Truglia, never forgot the kindness of her teacher, Mrs. Barnes, who helped her when she needed it most. Christel started the  ďThumbelina FundĒ because she believes doing small things for people means a lot. The little things are so special because they show how much someone cares. The Thumbelina Fund has granted numerous requests over the years, including money for a prom dress for a girl without parents who could afford the prom dress, and for a headstone for a teenage boy whose father died and who could not afford the cost, as well as money for trips to summer camps for kids who could not afford to go.
Representative Truglia would enjoy hearing from you, and she would be happy to answer any questions you have. There are several ways to contact her.
Send a letter to her home, at this address:
Representative Christel Truglia
7 Gypsy Moth Landing
Stamford, CT  06902
Send a letter to her office, at this address:
Representative Christel Truglia
Legislative Office Building, Room 4030
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
Call her at home, at (203) 357-7786
Call her at the Capitol, at (860) 240-8585 or 1-800-842-8267

Content Last Modified on 6/23/2009 11:11:20 AM