Local women aim to rock Trumbull on Memorial Day

TRUMBULL — A pair of childhood friends plan to rock Trumbull’s Memorial Day parade with a display of kindness all along Main Street.

The two women, Lori Fox and Ursula DeMartino, best friends since grade school, are the founders of the Facebook group Trumbull Rocks! The two, who are now mothers with grade school aged children of their own, have spent the last four years spreading smiles around town in the form of decorative, hand-painted rocks.

The two have been busily painting and stockpiling patriotic and Americana-themed stones, and plan to scatter more than 200 of them along Main Street in time for Monday’s parade. Those who find them are encouraged to visit the Facebook page and share a photo with their find.

“I was an art minor in college, and it’s really cathartic to create these positive messages and send them out,” DeMartino said. “Then, when people find them, knowing they brought a smile to someone’s face is the reward.”

The pair began their rock scattering about four years ago, when Fox returned from a trip to Georgia.

“It was right before Earth Day 2017, and my kids found this painted rock in a tree,” Fox said. “On the back it said ‘Georgia Rocks’ with a Facebook address. So I went on and posted that I found it.”

Fox brought the idea back to Trumbull and the idea took off. The Trumbull Rocks! Facebook page currently has more than 1,200 members. Some hide rocks around town, leaving clues where they can be located. Others then go on rock hunts, and share photos on the site when they find them.

“It’s just a fun thing to do, and I think it appeals to people in a few different ways,” Fox said. “If you like to be creative, you can paint. If you’re active you can go out and hide them. It really makes everybody happy, and it encourages people to get outside.”

DeMartino said it has become especially gratifying to see her painted rocks leaving Connecticut.

“People go on vacation, and they take rocks with them and leave them, and other people from Trumbull look for them when they’re on vacation,” she said. “And people from other states have found them and posted their photos.”

People have also made requests through the site that a loved one was feeling down or was otherwise in need of a pick-me-up, DeMartino said.

“We try to be accommodating, when someone said, ‘Hey, my kid would love to find one,’ I painted one that said, ‘You’ve been rocked’ and left it,” she said. “Another time my daughter had a Girl Scout event at Camp Teepee, and I spent the night before painting 60 ‘Camp Teepee Rocks!’ for people.”

The rules for participating are simple. Rocks should be painted with outdoor safe, acrylic paint and sealed with an eco-friendly spray so the paint doesn’t wash off. Then hide them, preferably some place where children at play will find them.

Some of the other guidelines Fox encourages are to avoid removing rocks from the natural environment like streambeds, and don’t take rocks from other people’s private property.

“We actually buy landscaping stones from Home Depot, so it’s almost like we’re adding to the environment,” Fox said.

Finally, rocks should be uplifting and family-friendly. Obscene or derogatory messages are against the spirit of Trumbull Rocks!, Fox said.

Those who find a rock can either keep it or take a photo noting the location, and then place it somewhere else for someone to find.

“I’m not looking for this to be a Flat Stanley thing, where it travels around the world, but it’s fun to see the photos of it moving from place to place,” DeMartino said.