Friday Flashback #92

In honor of Monday’s Memorial Day parade, here’s a look back nearly 50 years.

Ed Stalling posted this family home movie on YouTube. Shot in 1969 or ’70 on Riverside Avenue — mostly opposite King’s Texaco (now Sunny Daes) — it shows cops, veterans, the Red Cross, state police cars (with comical 1-bubblegum lights on top), Indian Guides, Little Leaguers, and the Long Lots Junior High band.

Very briefly at the end there’s a shot of the Long Lots band downtown, opposite the old post office (now Design Within Reach).

Half a century ago, the Vietnam War raged. Our country was torn apart — politically, socially and culturally.

But — as shown in the video — Westport had a great Memorial Day parade.

We will on Monday, too. See you there!


31 responses to “Friday Flashback #92

  1. Vivianne Pommier

    I will always remember the parade going past my house and
    the HUGE flags we put out. It has always been a special day

  2. Adam Schwartz

    I was in that parade playing the Trombone proudly for the Coleytown Junior High School fightin “Colts” Marching Band!

  3. Tom Duquette, SHS '75

    That was fun, too bad we’ll never see the likes of it again. Between the racist Little League team kid waving a Confederate flag and the cultural appropriation of the “Indian Guides” the town as it is today would have a meltdown. Hope everyone remembers the meaning of the holiday and reflects on the lives sacrificed on their behalf.

    • Things were very different then. When I was in high school (many, many years ago), I went to Florida with my parents and bought a scarf with a Confederate flag on it. I thought nothing of it. It meant the same to me as if it were a Union Jack, a Canadian Maple Leaf or any other “exotic” flag. No one commented on it. And as far as being racist, a few years later, I marched in many Civil Rights marches. I certainly wouldn’t have bought the flag today.

    • Dave Stalling

      Ah, the good old days when we white men could still discriminate against blacks, women, gays and others who aren’t like us. Today we have to be inclusive and acceptant, treat all people with fairness and equality and not offend them. It’s horrible!

    • Ed Stalling

      I’m not sure it was simpler times, and I do remember the “meltdown” the very next year: my sister and I were in the Long Lots band and the student players had a secret plot to bring black arm bands and when the signal was given – to put them on right downtown. It was to protest the Vietnam War. One of us told my mom and in her typical fashion, sewed up red, white & blue arm bands. The time arrived and the whole band put the black arm bands on. We put our red white & blue ones on and the other players gave us dirty looks and asked “what’s THAT supposed to mean?” Jack Adams went crazy as did the school. There were cheers and boos from the crowd. Some loved us for the red white and blue bands but others booed us. My father (WWII Marine) was screaming at people and others were screaming back. I think my mom was crying. Ah, the simpler times!

      • Bob Stalling

        All true, but today the black arm bands would probably be considered racist….perhaps what Tom meant by simpler times.
        I wonder what Jack Adams would have done if the entire band just took a knee during the middle of the parade?

        • Dave Stalling

          Damn diversity of people engaging in freedom of choice and expression, and freedom to protest. It’s as if they’ve forgotten what Memorial Day is all about: remembering those who died for a nation with a diversity of people who can engage in freedom of choice and expression, and freedom to protest.

          • I’m trying to figure out if you’re being ironic or really feel that way.

          • Bob Stalling

            A time and a place for everything.
            People have a right to protest, and people have a right to be upset when or where the protest may take place….or what the protest is about.
            And people have a right to express they believe times were simpler back then.
            That’s Freedom….and Diversity.

            • Russell Gontar

              People have the right to protest, except if you’re an NFL player.

              • Nancy Hunter

                What if actors in a stage play stopped their lines to protest?
                I don’t know the answer.

              • Bob Stalling

                Like I said Russell….a time and a place.
                Do the owners of companies or teams have a right to tell employees not to protest on their dime? Do the fans of the teams have a right to protest the players?
                Perhaps firemen could take a knee while putting out a fire, after all it’s their right, correct?
                Hey look at me! I’m a doctor who decides to protest while working on a patient… they’ll really listen to my message now! If the hospital tries to fire me I’ll just tell them it’s my right…

                • Russell Gontar

                  Last time I checked, terms of employment do not in include checking your constitutional rights at the door. You are still a citizen of the United States of America, even while on the boss’s dime. And that includes the protections afforded all citizens, 24/7, under the first amendent. The NFL players, by the way, execersied their rights PRIOR to doing their actual work. Contrary to this smear, the protesting players have not
                  NOT refused to do their jobs.

                  • Nancy Hunter

                    Staying in the locker room works.

                  • Bob Stalling

                    So the last time you checked, “terms of employment do not include checking your constitutional rights at the door”
                    How about the right to bear arms? You’re saying teachers have the right to carry guns in school, correct? I’m surprised you feel that way…

                    As for the NFL players, when they are wearing the uniform and on the field….they “are at work”….just as they are “at work” when they are sitting on the bench, “at work” during half time and “at work” when they are at pre game and post game meetings.
                    If you don’t like it, take it up with the league owners…I have no doubt you can sway them.

                    Fun times, but I’m done.

                    Remember those that sacrificed all that we may live in Freedom.
                    Freedom is not free.

                    • Russell Gontar

                      No one has an absolute right to “bear arms” under any and all circumstances. That’s due to that pesky clause in the 2nd amendment, “A well-regulated militia”, that 2nd amendment proponenents always seem to forget about. Limiting those rights is absolutely constitutional.

                      Regarding the national anthem, the deal is this. In America, you can choose to stand or not, they are equal choices. Whats next, making the players goose step on the way in?

                      Have a nice holiday.

      • Dave Stalling

        1968: The controversial passage of the Civil Rights Act with KKK protests throughout the South; The assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and subsequent race riots across the nation,m; The assassination of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy; Widespread demonstrations against the Vietnam War across American university and college campuses, and violent confrontations between police and anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention; North Korea captured a U.S. Navy intelligence ship and the standoff got tense; We elected a controversial president who was later impeached and then resigned over Watergate; Olympic athletes angered a lot of people by giving the “black power” salute, and North Vietnam launches the TET offensive. Oh, how I pine for simpler times. But there was this: Star Trek featured the first interracial kiss broadcast on TV!

  4. Dorothy Abrams

    You see the likes of it every year. Too bad you can’t appreciate it.

    • Tom Duquette, SHS '75

      Hi, I do realize Westport still has a Memorial Day parade and as a retired USAF officer and greatly appreciate it. However, I highly doubt it will feature any Confederate flags flying or Caucasians sporting Native American regalia so it will not be like the one depicted in the video. If those things happened in 2018 there would be a significant backlash, everyone is so easily offended today. It was a simpler time back then, that was my point.

      • Peter Gambaccini

        It’s not much of a point, is it?

      • Bob Stalling

        Simpler time indeed Tom…
        I was very surprised to see this posted. Filmed by my father and posted on YouTube by my brother, my Sister (Sue) is playing the clarinet at 2:11 (second one in from the end) and I am marching with the “Owls” little league team – behind and to the right of the innocent kid with the confederate flag….who would now probably be seen as a threat and sent to reform school.
        Side note – My father was the Grand Marshall of the parade back in 1995.

      • Nancy Hunter

        Maybe an insensitive time, due to dated textbooks, poor education, which exists in many places still today (and always will). Spoken history, passed down from elders is most reliable, as long as the language lives on.

  5. Jonathan L Maddock

    Very nostalgic! I have a cameo appearance (first row, right column… playing trombone right next to camera!) at 2:06.


  6. Mike Boyle

    Dan that video was fabulous! 👍

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Ed Stalling

    Hey so glad you posted this for all to enjoy. I finally started digitizing a pile of VHS tapes, and when I found this old tape (originally film) I had the feeling many would enjoy it. So thanks Dan for putting it out there. Although there is no sound, those that knew Long Lots and Jack Adams can almost hear “Yankee Doodle Dandy” being played.

    • Jonathan Maddock Staples 73

      If it wasn’t “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, it was “It’s a Grand Old Flag” . Jack Alternated year-to-year :^)
      Jack always had us memorize the one tune we would play, Notice that no one had sheet music in front of them? It was great! You could practically go on autopilot playing your instrument and take in the sites as you marched.

      • Fred Cantor

        Both are terrific songs that are superb choices for the parade. Which leads me to: there have been at least a couple of times in recent years when a middle school band—I think Coleytown—has played “Louie Louie” coming over the bridge into downtown.

        I’m not being critical—I really like “Louie Louie”—but I wondered whether there was any significance to its being played as the band was coming off the bridge (or if there was any particular reason why it was a repeat choice for the parade).

        Does anyone by any chance know the answer? (Since they chose a sixties classic song, perhaps they’re paying homage to a Westport icon of the sixties, the late great Lou Nistico.)

  8. Dave Stalling

    Great memories! Thanks for posting it, Dan. Even more fun watching it knowing that it was my wonderful father behind the camera.

  9. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful video. Brings back many wonderful memories of my own Memorial Day Parade days and marching. It is wonderful that the parade continues and “looking back” was really fun. Thank you to the Stalling Family for preserving and sharing.