The Lantern Café had somehow managed to withstand Andover's increasing preciousness. Unfortunately, when I walked into the matchbox-sized place, all of the seats were filled, and the people in them glared at me as if to leave no doubt that they wouldn't be giving them up to me any time soon. I backed out.
I had a tight schedule to keep, and Andover's residents were being standoffish. At the academy's 190-year-old bookstore, the store's assistant manager had beamed, "Our store is a community meeting place," and in 1996, local son Jay Leno drew 1,500 people when he signed books there. But she and the rest of the staff begged off saying anything about Hopper, and the place was deserted besides them. Andover felt like a town that combined staid settlers' descendants with newer suburbanites who didn't want to be bothered. The locals had one foot fiercely set in tradition, and another grubbing to make a better future. In that, they mirrored Hopper's characters: in a nostalgic setting but victims of modern life's isolating effects.