Mitch & Lisa 4Ever

For decades, an odd-shaped building on Hillspoint Road has been home to early childhood programs.

It’s called the Parent Child Center. But back in the day, it was Hillspoint Elementary School.

The kids were bigger than the ones there now. They could write cursive.

And — because Hillspoint went all the way to 6th grade — there were some budding romances.

Which is why one day — back in the 1960s or ’70s — Mitch F. and Lisa R. grabbed a pencil, snuck into an art room closet, and scrawled their love on a metal plate.

It’s stood there — untouched and unnoticed — all these years.

Until — the other day — Children’s Community Development Center director Eileen Ward found it.

“06880” readers are intrepid. You’ve got long memories.

So, Eileen and I want to know:

  • Who were Mitch F. and Lisa R.?
  • And did their love really endure 4ever?

20 responses to “Mitch & Lisa 4Ever

  1. Inquiring minds want to know!!

    Whatever year it was that the Hillspoint School opened, (1962?) it was QUITE forward leaning for its time architecturally. Kind of an Eero Saarinen knock off. As a kid, I remember thinking it was very cool.

    What has always mystified me is how the Board of Education drew the lines, i.e. which districts were to transfer their kids to Hillspoint from Saugatuck Elementary (including me) and which were designated to transfer their kids to Hillspoint from Greens Farms Elementary. I left a lot of good buddies behind as a result of the split but, then again, I made a whole bunch of new friends at Hillspoint (some of which I’m still in touch with today).

    • Deb Holliday Kintigh,

      Hey, Bill!!
      As you know, we lived on Guyer Rd., just behind the school – which we always referred to as the “pregnant octopus” – HA!

      • Hi Deb. Great to hear from you! Isn’t “06880” a terrific way to keep up with current events and occasionally revisit our shared past? Email me if you would and I’ll give you a full update on latest news. wstaby@resolutemarine.com
        Regarding Guyer Road: of course I have fond memories of your house but my good buddy (now deceased) Eddie Gustafson was one of your neighbors albeit down the road a bit.

  2. Mitch Finklestein? Class of 70. Lisa R. ?

  3. I got nothing on the identities behind those initials – but it’s easy to forget that this architecturally significant Victor Lundy designed building is actually owned the taxpayers of Westport.

    The Hillspoint School was a radical experiment in open-plan education. Like a lot of experiments, it fell short of its promise (too much ambient noise and disruption) but it’s still a fascinating structure that’s been successfully modified and repurposed as a private child care center.

    Anyone who wishes to see a soaring example of Mr. Lundy’s work from the same era should check out the truly astonishing Unitarian Church right here in Westport. It will make your brain smile.

    • The Unitarian Church looks as wonderful today as it does when it first opened — probably better, now that the trees and landscaping have grown up around it. And the view from the sanctuary is ever-changing, and always inspiring.

      • There were no noise issues I can recall in the classrooms (perfectly quiet), but the gym, cafeteria, art and theater spaces were all conjoined so maybe that was what Morley Boyd was referring to.

    • If you really want to “make your brain smile,” try coming to one of our Sunday services some time. We have a wonderful new minister and seven choirs, and everyone is welcome!

      • Sorry — I replied to Morley Boyd’s comment, not realizing it wouldn’t follow directly. Of course, I was referring to the Unitarian Church, when I said “our” and “we.”

  4. Well, I’m dying to know if their love survived 4 Ever !!

  5. Ann Marie Flynn

    What a romantic tale…for the school and Westporters. It would be great if the names were found out. Plus, where are they now???

  6. I was at Hillspoint when it first opened for 5th & 6th grades. We’d had double sessions at Saugatuck, due to construction delays. Then finally it opened, soon after some of the upper level glass panels fell and we were back to double sessions for a while. The space was fun as a kid, but difficult for teachers. The principal, who’s name I’ve forgotten, was a stickler about our not walking on the gym floor which was nearly impossible since it was right smack in the middle of the building. The open classroom idea was cool. The walls between the rooms were moveable enabling classes to come together for joint programming. I have many fond memories of that school. And some not so fond that I won’t go into here!

    Many years later, both my children attended A Child’s Place (aka Saugatuck Childcare Center) for pre-school. It was a hoot returning to the building. Architecturally, it and the Unitarian Church are fine examples of Victor Lundy’s work and deserve some kind of recognition or historical designation.

    • Darryl, Was your maiden name “Coates?” If so, we were in the same grade but we never had the same teachers. Mine were (Miguel (4th), Mills (5th) and LaMarche (6th)) Pretty good memory eh! By cracky!

      • Yes, I was Darryl Coates. I only remember 6th grade Mr. Clapp (no comment). I guess we were there for 4th grade too. I went to Saugatuck for K – 2, then we moved and I went to Greens Farms for 3-4 I thought. I graduated in 1970. Not from Staples because we moved to California when I was 16.

        • Hi Darryl,
          Yes, 6th grade was traumatic in many ways and I’m truly sorry it was for you. I have a much different memory of Mr. Pike because he basically kicked Davey Cook and me out of school because, along with Richard McGinnis and Chris Falkenhagen, we were a pretty wild bunch. I’m still in close touch with Dave (he lives in Telluride, CO) and to some degree with Will Rowlands who I believe you know. My best, Bill

          • Oh yes, I was part of that gang too. You were all the “bad boys”. I remember when you were all kicked out. I got into a bit of trouble in 6th grade too (won’t go into it here!) related to Richard and Chris.

            Richard lives in Florida somewhere. I’ve lost touch with him. I still “see” Will on Facebook and around the area. Are you still in the Westport area? We lived here until 11 years ago when we moved to Black Rock. We now spend winters in Naples, FL.

  7. Jonathan Maddock

    I don’t know who Mitch and Lisa are.

    The principal’s name was Irving Pike. He was a good guy. I also remember having to judiciously walk around the gym floor.

    I attended Greens Farms Elementary School for my kindergarten year, then the first half of 1st grade I attended Saugatuck Elementary. Afterward it was all Hillspoint Elementary until I moved on to Long Lots Jr. High.
    I don’t remember noise from the cafeteria & gymnasium being a problem within the classrooms. I don’t remember too many times they actually opened the room-to-room partitions. Perhaps for a movie, or for some special guest speaker?

  8. Mary Palmieri Gai

    The people involved probably don’t remember. I found some elementary school scribblings of mine under a kitchen island at my parents house, where I wrote the same words about feelings and boys, who I barely remember at all. The romance was probably a few days or weeks at most. The wonderful thing is, this is a moment of innocent childhood sweetness captured 4ever. ..which is why I want that board at my parents house before it gets knocked down. I love reliving moments like this. Sweet, sweet.

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