Just When You Think You’ve Seen Everything…

On Tuesday, alert “06880” reader Linda and her husband were enjoying another spectacular Compo evening.

They were at the west (far) end of South Beach, just to the right of the jetty with 2 trees, having drinks and gazing out at Cockenoe Island.

Suddenly, a 20-something woman drove her Jeep onto the beach to the left of the trees — and parked almost on the jetty.  Linda, her husband and other beach-goers stared in amazement as the woman sat in her car, enjoying the view.

The wide-frame view.

Several minutes later, 2 female Parks and Rec employees arrived.  They told her she couldn’t be there.

No problem!

She backed up, turned around — and immediately turned left onto the one-way road, racing around to enjoy the harbor view across from Owenoke.

Parks and Rec were still on the case.  They told Very Important Jeep Woman that she could have hurt a driver, jogger, walker or biker on her wrong-way jaunt.

As if on cue, moments later 2 grandparents and their young granddaughter — in a stroller — strolled around the corner.

The driver reacted as only she could.  She screamed at the Parks and Rec employees.

Her argument?  She hadn’t done anything wrong.

Linda — and everyone else on the beach, except Herself — watched, flabbergasted.

But, Linda says, “I was delighted at how well the 2 Parks and Rec girls were on the job.”

If the first jetty doesn't work, drive the wrong way to another nice spot.

41 responses to “Just When You Think You’ve Seen Everything…

  1. Maybe she is new to Westport. It takes a while to accustom one’s self to this beach community’s conventions. Within So many other beach towns outside of Fairfield county you do regularly drive your SUVs onto the sand. (although yelling at Parks & Rec doesn’t go over well anywhere).

  2. Yelling at the beach guards isn’t all that new – when I did the job 20-25 years ago, we got plenty of “Do you know who I am?” and “I didn’t know that meant *me*!” followed by much vitriol. Using cars as weapons and/or tanks — that might be a more recent development.

    • You’re right anon. I was head patrolman at Sherwood Island for a couple of summers more than 40 years ago and was screamed at multiple times daily as well as threatened. Very few Westporters went to Sherwood, however. Mainly folks from inland CT towns like New Canaan, some of whom were every bit as entitled and nasty as a few contemporary Westporters. When we had to clear the park at sunset I was accompanied by two of my former Wrecker football teammates who were playing Div I in college. Large, menacing dudes, both armed with a blackjack in their back pockets. Blackjacks were never used, thankfully, but there were dozens of individuals who would have benefited from being on the receiving end. recipients.

  3. The Dude Abides

    Much like downtown, they should restrict parking/driving at the beach. Let people park in the middle area and walk to the water. Gad, you would think people could walk 200 yards or so?? Glad to hear the Westport Recreation was on top of it. I love those guys. 90% asshole rule still applies here. Nice Jeep though. Should have made into a commercial. Where is David Pogue when you need him?

  4. Did anybody ever think of calling the police??

  5. Young Westporter

    I wonder if this is the same person that decided to park a rental Wrangler too far down near the waterline, that returned to find a submerged Jeep. Enterprise I am sure wasn’t too happy about that.
    I’d be surprised if they gave her another after she already totalled one.

  6. Well at least no one has yet posted saying this never would have happened 20 or 30 or 40 years ago “back in the good old days.” Rudeness, obnoxiousness, and arrogance have been around in Westport for a long time

  7. The Dude Abides

    Matter of fact, David, in the “good ole days” the beach was much more receptive to such happenings as it was the “make out” spot of Westport at night. Cars lined the far beach to watch the “submarine races.” And many times, after a few too many at the Port Chester local pub, cars would find themselves stuck in the sand. Occupants totally oblivious to their dilemna but having fun regardless. I won’t say rude was common (see my bud Tommy Allen’s comment above) but we kids were far more respectful to our elders than today and seriously concerned with our plight if our parents got wind of our shennigans (which also included the painting of the Minuteman).

    • Rudeness was certainly apparent back then in Westport but transgressions and transgressors in those webless days before every wayward blurp and bleep was immediately magnified electronically usualy retained their anonymity. Different society back then, for better or worse, as David has earlier noted. A major difference between now and then, one that transcended race and class, was that grown-ups had emerged from the ravages and uncertainty of the Great Depression, WWII and Korea to find themselves in the Promised Land of Westport, CT, a place and way of life few even imagined existed just a few years earlier. Nevertheless, most, but not all, were adults in every sense of the term and not overgrown children in adult skins. But this is a national issue, not just a Westport concern.

      • In reply to the Dude: As you know I was close to the guys who painted the minuteman in summer ’64. All were skewered by their angry parents. One guy, who’d been a very good 10th grade Staples athlete the year before — mainly football — not only had to pay his fine out of his employment earnings but was also banned by his dad from ever again participating in sports at Staples. Instead of practicing with us he spent the next two years manning the grill year around at the Big Top. The ban was never lifted. Would that, or the equivalent, happen in today’s Westport? I have no clue because I don’t live there, but I suspect it might.

        • More likely, what would happen is that the parents would scream at the police for mistreating their son, yell at the coach if he tried to impose any punishment, and threaten a lawsuit if the newspaper printed anything in the Police Reports.

          • Jeez, Dan, why does your scenario have to have the ring of truth? Sigh.

          • The Dude Abides

            For a point in fact, the Minuteman was painted (again) pink in the summer of ’67. This time the police were definitely involved. Please don’t ask me why I know this.

            • They were certainly involved in ’64. I remember when Det. Marks showed up in the Staples weight room one summer evening looking for leads. The names of those who were caught appeared in the Town Crier police report of which Jeff Mullin still has a copy.unt. Tell me in an email, Dude, who the ’67 perps were. The first bunch were all CSC. I’ll bet the ’67 painters were as well. My guys. Pink, huh? Very artistic. The ’64 paint job was blue with yellow polka dots.

    • TDA, I did many clandestine activities at the beach in those “days” myself. I am not unfamiliar (although I don’t think we ever talked about “the submarine races”). I don’t share your assumptions about the youth of today though, that is the same type of thing our parents said about us. And what the ancient Greeks said about their kids!

  8. This never would have happened 20 0r 30 or 40 years ago back in the good old days. Rudeness, obnoxiousness and arrogance have been around in Westport for a short time.

  9. Ex-Westporter

    The people over at the Farmer’s Market have a solution:

    • westportnow.com sucks

      • Longtime Westporter

        What a nutty comment. We are grateful for both Dan’s blog AND WestportNow to learn about goings-on in town.

        • The Dude Abides

          Sometimes you feel like a nut . . . sometimes you don’t. Reading Westportnow.com is all fluff. 06880 is the real stuff.

      • Westport Now is when Gordon wears his journalist hat. I prefer the fireman hat, but they’re both better than the mayor hat.

    • NY Plates.

  10. I think I agree, Buck. As I read the reply to David’s condemnation, I realized that the beach used to be a fun place. Now it seems it is all about reserving your table or fights following the fireworks. People were far more tolerant back when then they are now as well. Maybe all that sugar in our processed foods???

  11. Fred Cantor

    I worked for Parks and Rec 40 years ago. I can still vividly remember the opening weekend of the summer season at the Staples tennis courts when handpasses or tennis permits were required. (And there was plenty of advance notice that tennis players would need to obtain a handpass or permit by that date, or they would have to pay a guest fee.)

    I encountered incredible verbal abuse, not to mention that a number of players simply refused to leave the courts. Not a single person was willing to simply abide by the rules and pay a guest fee.

    This was the end of my senior year of high school (or it might have been the end of freshman year of college) and I somehow managed to stay calm and not be intimidated. I finally said to the mob–and I do feel that is an accurate characterization–that if they did not get off the courts right away, I was going to walk over to the nearest pay phone at Staples and call the police. (I think I also said I was going to start writing down the license plates of the cars that were still there in five minutes)

    That finally got their attention. People finally got off the courts, but still were loud and abusive on the way out of there.

    Admittedly this was one extreme example, but it definitely happened.

  12. The Dude Abides

    I worked for Westport Recreation in the summer of ’67 grooming the beach in the early morning and the golf course the rest of the day. I had nothing but good interaction with the public and my employers. I do see some employees now abused by drivers at Longshore who are always in a hurry and seem to think the first tee is a good place to have a rather lengthly and loud discussion on where to park. Much like Mr. Cantor (above), they are smart kids with some street savy. They seem to deal very well with the imbeciles that invade our town each summer.

    • No complaints from me about my interactions with most Westporters back then. I think most of us knew the few adult bad apples and could see them coming. They rarely disappointed and came with the territory. I can still remember their names. The summer imbeciles have been an annual curse for decades. As way back when, Westport kids who are employed in jobs involving interaction with the group of citizens we at 60’s Sherwood Island called the GAPs (Great American Publc) learn to cope with some adults’ overbearing foolishness.

  13. The Dude Abides

    Very well said. It was a very well respected summer job back then too. Usually good kids who worked hard and very well treated. I hope the same holds true today and under the supervision of Dan DeVito, I am sure it is.

  14. One last note before I return to my real life today….Some responses to the earlier Clam Box story – and a remark here — implied that those of us who grew up in 50s/60s Westport were and remain oblivious to the social inequities of that era nationally and in Westport. We not only know about them but were very aware of them then as teenagers. We didn’t study that era; we lived in it and have experienced society’s sometimes stormy evolution since then, often on the spearpoint. For many of us, “Mad Men” isn’t just a TV series, it was our life — and there was nothing glamorous about it. Many of us were able to view only a few of those episodes before the flood of not-so-wonderful memories made further viewing impossible. Want a very accurate view of 50s Fairfield County? Rent “Next to Heaven” with Dennis Quaid and Joan Allen. It’s a bullseye. Yes, we had the Clam Box and Compo and Little League, etc, but many of us also experienced the impact of unchecked adult alcoholism, physical and sexual abuse, sexism, unmedicated bipolar disorder, and the results of flagrant and continuous adultery in an era when divorces where nearly impossible to obtain. Next to heaven it wasn’t, but it was a wonderful town to grow up in nevertheless. I hope it still is.

    • Thanks Tom for bringing me back to the late 60’s & early 70’s. At that time I lived in “The next station to heaven” and it is as real as the movie Ice Storm portrays, Car keys in the bowl, spouse swapping, the three martini lunch and cocktails before dinner.

      Of course, we also loved to skip over to Compo Beach at night for the required submarine watching or congregating near the kids swing set & making new friends before hitting the bars at the Playhouse or on Main Street, or maybe that was after, it is all a bit foggy to me now.

      • Lucky you, Mary Ann! We had to drive to Port Chester or Vista, NY to buy/drink, and then drive like idiots all the way back to start the Westport segment of the party. Unfortunately, we lost a bunch of people that way — but it could have been far worse. Jeez, we were stupid.

    • Tom, I never said people in Westport were oblivious to those societal ills. But having lived in Westport at a time when the number of African-American families could be counted on one hand, I can’t say most people in Westport were particularly concerned with righting the wrongs either. Again this was by no means unique to Westport, but there is no denying it has been a more insular place than many others for a very long time.

      • You are right on all counts, David, There was a vast racial disconnect. It was easy in the late 50s/early 60s to become angered by the sight on TV of African Americans being attacked by police dogs in Alabama. It was quite another thing at 5 Pm every day to see the throng of domestics gathered at the old bus stop on the Steinkraus bridge awaiting transporation back to Norwalk and asking a parent, “Why don’t they live here so they won’t have to ride the bus?” and receiving a very complicated reply. We had one black player on our ’64-’65 football teams, Charlie Joyner, who was an “exchange student” from…North Carolina. As Charlie says, “In Smithfield, NC they’re still waiting for the other half of that exchange.” That said, Charlie cherishes his time in Westport. He’s a professor of art and design at NC State. Back then it was often very difficult — I’m not referring to cost alone — for a black family to buy a home in Westport. Now, I’m guessing, if you can afford to buy, you’re in. That’s a huge change.

  15. The Dude Abides

    Yep, still is Tommy. I might add George Carlin’s famous line about the Boomer Generation: “They are the only generation in history where they are way cooler than their kids.” I suspect some jealousy in Mr.Shaeffer’s continued rhetoric. The Wonder Years have turned to WTF decades.

    • Jealousy? Why would I be jealous? I lived in Westport during the 70s and early 80s, and I know all about what it was like. Good memories? Yes. A golden era? Hardly. But as Carly Simon said in the song “Anticipation” “These are the good old days.” It is always the good old days, you just don’t realize it until later.

      • The Dude Abides

        I am not going to make a huge deal of this because I think you are earnest. But, in fact, I believe this started with Buck52 referring to the 50’s & 60’s as opposed to your cited decades. I am getting this inclination, however, that basically you think Westport sucks back then and now? Not feeling the love, David.

        • Actually I didn’t cite any particular decades as being better than any others, and I never said anything that warranted the attack against me (“get a life” “what malicious rock did I crawl out from under”) that Buck52 launched against me. I spoke against false glorification of the past vs. the present. I have good and bad memories of Westport like everyone. Sorry you are not “feeling the love” but is there anything I have said that you would deny or disprove?

          • Dave,
            Below’s what you said and what I replied. I was referring to the 50’s and 60’s and evidently you weren’t living in Westport during that time so you were commenting on a period and a locale with which you had no first-hand knowledge. In other words: you were beating a straw man of your own creation. We weren’t discussing race relations in the 50’s or 60’s but merely recalling pleasant, although fuzzy childhood memories of the Clam Box. Also, I said you crawled out from under a masochistic rock, not malicious as you rebutted. Truth be told, when I was four I ate dirt in Tommy’s yard on a dare. If I had cited that story, I’m sure you would’ve found a way to turn it into some similar type of twisted suburban white privilege attained at the expense of minorities jag. As I said: “Get a life.” Bubba!!!!

            Quote Dave’s:
            “The 50s were hardly a better time if you were anything but white in this country, or a woman wanting to do something other than keep house, and forget it if you were not heterosexual. Please, everyone always thinks the past is better, that has been going on since the time of the ancient Greeks. Can’t we stop it already?”

            Buck52 | July 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Reply

            Hey Dave,
            Get a life. We’re all over 50 and were children in the 50′s. We had no control over our race or sex any more than anyone else. You trying to make us feel bad because we have happy memories of the 50′s? What kind of masochistic rock did you crawl out from under?

  16. Tommy and The Dude,
    Nothing I can add to what you’ve said so I won’t and the fat lady is singing on this one.

  17. 10-4, Buck!