“06880”‘s recent notice of J.D. Salinger’s long-ago past in Westport brought this recollection from long-time instructor Garry Meyers:
When Gladys Mansir was head of the English department, I as a 2nd-year teacher — without tenure — attempted to introduce Catcher in the Rye into the curriculum.
I was chastised by principal Stan Lorenzen, and ordered to stop. He said, “It’s not as if the book is literature.”
My colleague and good friend Wyatt Teubert Jr. — at the time of favorite of Stan’s (and Stan’s son, then a senior) — interceded and saved my job.
Although I immediately stopped teaching the book, Stan’s daughter — in my class — defiantly and bravely gave the then-required monthly oral book report on Catcher.
One more related story from Garry Meyers:
Salinger was once a guest of author Peter De Vries, who lived in Westport. Jan, Peter’s daughter, offered to write an account of the visit for the class. Feeling that was an invasion of privacy, I discouraged her.
This was before Salinger was noted for his reclusiveness. I must admit, I sometimes review that decision.
(Got a J.D. Salinger-in-Westport story? Send it along to “06880.” Now it can be told.)