JD Salinger and Westport — The Sequel

“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.)

3 responses to “JD Salinger and Westport — The Sequel

  1. This is a true story about JD Salinger. It will have no names mentioned not even mine because I don’t want to open my shades in the morning and find a lot of people looking in my windows. When I was about 17 and going to Staples I dated, for awhile, a beautiful girl who had long blond hair, lively blue eyes and big red lips. She was kind and sweet and honest. On a date one night, for a reason I can’t remember she told me the following; When she was a little girl she used to play in her back yard. Next door was a man who sometimes sat at his picnic table and typed. They got to be friends and would talk together about whatever , sometimes she would sing for him. Later , when Catcher was published she somehow knew the character Phoebe was her. I don’t know how she knew. Did Salinger tell her? Did she just recognize herself? Is the story true? She had long blond hair, lively blue eyes and big red lips. She was kind and sweet and honest and I believe her. I also have an interest in this because off and on for years I have been telling people I dated Holden Caulfield’s little sister in high school.

  2. Tyler Rackliffe

    Read this in the NYT on the train tonight…thought you’d find it interesting if you didn’t already hear about it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/books/12salinger.html?scp=3&sq=j.d%20salinger&st=cse

  3. Curtis C. Smith

    This is to Garry Meyers. You mention Wyatt Teubert, Jr., as an instructor in Westport. I believe he later moved to New Canaan Schools, where I had him as an instructor in English. I remember him as very much the iconoclast. Does anyone else remember him?