40 Years Of Save The Children, Written On 1 Wall

There’s a certain pleasure in writing on walls — no matter what your age.

But for the men and women of Save the Children, scribbling on a wall just off the main lobby is bittersweet.

On June 2 the worldwide relief organization moves from its Wilton Road headquarters to new, larger digs in Fairfield.

Save the Children has been in Westport since 1974. Forty years of memories are now scrawled on that 1st-floor wall.

The Save the Children memories mural.

The Save the Children memories mural.

Titled “Thanks for the Memories, Westport,” it’s where the 300 employees memorialize the good, the bad, the ugly, the funny, the scary, and — hey, this is a workplace — the trivial and mundane.

Sitting a few feet from the river, there are many memories of hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters. Gloria, Irene, Sandy — they’re all there.

Animals were big, apparently. Save the Children workers saw plenty of geese, swans, turtles, cormorants, beavers and deer. They heard crickets. And one memorable storm drain rescue caused a temporary name change for the organization, to “Save the Ducks.”

There are photos on the wall too. One employee posted his picture of Westport in the spring.

There are photos too. One employee posted a picture of Westport in the spring.

The wall is filled with other memories: “Annual trip to the Sidewalk Sales.” “The gift shop.” “Walking to the library.” “Our community garden.” “The scenery.”

One person will remember “Kurt the UPS guy.” Another recalls “Meeting my husband.” (I don’t think he’s Kurt.)

Not all the memories are written on the wall. The other day Andrea Williamson, Erin Bradshaw and Ginger Tinsley gathered in the lobby, and talked about what working in Westport has meant to them.

Erin Bradsaw, Andrea Williamson and Ginger Tinsley have fond memories of working in Westport.

Erin Bradsaw, Andrea Williamson and Ginger Tinsley have fond memories of working in Westport.

They spoke of shopping on Main Street at Gristede’s and Liquor Locker. Of the bar around the corner (Bridge Grille) and the one down Riverside (Black Duck). They mentioned how helpful local institutions like the Saugatuck Rowing Club, Saugatuck Congregational Church and Earthplace have been to Save the Children.

But then we turned back to the wall. An entire history of the past 40 years is enshrined in just 2 lines.

Looking ahead to Fairfield, one employee will not miss “the soul-crushing commute.”

But another will never forget “quiet, still mornings on the river.”

 

3 responses to “40 Years Of Save The Children, Written On 1 Wall

  1. Nayda odigie

    The seven years I worked at Save were my most memorable in work and life experience! Met beautiful people, witnessed STC’s mission, vision & passion for a better world. It is the one place I would consider returning to work to anytime. I will miss driving down Wilton Rd to visit my old friends, but wherever STC goes, the mission, vision & good people will remain the same–the Westport scenery is only change!

  2. Marny Smith

    From 1978 to 1986 I had the fun of creating a demonstration organic food garden behind the building, outside the conference room windows. It was the perfect job and probably the nicest, most productive garden I’ve ever had. We had a Garden Co-op where members of the staff learned how to grow vegetables, fruits and flowers and we ran a Garden Market every week to sell the produce that we harvested. It was only 480 sq. ft. but yielded over 500 lbs of food each year. The garden was part of the Health and Nutrition program. I didn’t have a chance to write on 1 Wall but wanted the garden to be remembered here.

  3. Wouldn’t trade the world (no pun intended) for my time in the Education Office under Fred Wood’s leadership. Such talented, committed people in the U.S. and around the world. Was an honor and a privilege to work with and alongside them all. It was immensely satisfying and challenging work, and it was (is) a family.