In 1958, Bob Thompson and his wife moved to Westport.
Exploring the basement of their new Chapel Hill Road home, he found what he thought was an enormous cannonball. He hauled the 70-pound artifact up to his garage. It sat there for over 50 years, disturbed only when he cleaned up, or rearranged things.
Recently, an antique dealer friend spotted it. He told Bob it was too big to be a cannonball. It looked like a mortar shell, the friend said — maybe it still had explosives in it.
Bob called the Westport Police Department. Within moments 2 squad cars, a fire truck and an emergency vehicle roared up to his home.
The public safety officials told Bob to roll — not drive — his car out of the garage. The mortar shell hasn’t blown up in 50 years, Bob said; I don’t think anything will happen now.
Just do as we say, they said. He did.
Westport’s finest called the State Police bomb unit. When they arrived, they asked — well, told — Bob and his wife to leave the area. The Thompsons headed out for coffee.
When they returned, the explosive was gone. Yellow warning tape still remained, strung around the area.
The police told Bob the bomb had been taken to Sherwood Island. There, the authorities blew it up.
That sound you hear right now is hundreds of Westporters calling authorities to check out all the stuff they’ve had in their garages for years, and never thought twice about.