Friday Flashback #116

The other day, alert “06880” reader Alan Hamilton was checking out Westport’s Wikipedia page.

He noticed we have 3″sister cities”: Marigny-le-Lozon, France; St Petersburg, Russia, and Yangzhou, China.

I guess we’re one of those families where siblings don’t really communicate. It’s been ages since we’ve chatted with our French, Russian and Chinese sisters!

But Alan wanted a closer relationship. He took a virtual drive — aka Google Street View — through Marigny.

And there — smack in the center of town — he saw this:

“Pharmacie Westport”!

He wondered if there is a story to this.

Bien sûr!

Right after D-Day in 1944, Westporter Bob Loomis — a gun sergeant — ended up in Marigny. It’s just 25 miles from Utah Beach.

A couple of weeks later another Westporter — heavy machine gunner Clay Chalfant — moved through Marigny with his company on their way to Belgium.

Woody Klein’s history of Westport notes that after the war Charlotte MacLear — head of the French department at Staples High School — sparked a campaign to “officially adopt Marigny” and help its recovery.

Our town sent clothes, money and Christmas gifts, thanks to fundraising that included selling toys and buckets with designs painted by Westport artists.

In return, Marigny created the “Westport School Canteen,” and named the town’s largest square “Place Westport.”

In June 1994 — as part of the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy — Marigny invited 3 Westport middle school students and 2 Westport veterans to stay in the homes of residents. They visited “Westport Gift Shop” and — of course — “Pharmacie Westport.”

The 2 veterans were, of course,  Loomis and Chalfant

Zut alors!

Marigny – c’est magnifique!

11 responses to “Friday Flashback #116

  1. Merci!!! Merveilleux!

  2. Very cool! I had no knowledge about this Westport connection.

    By the way, that is indeed a distinctive carousel in front of the Pharmacie Westport. Perhaps they are paying homage to the Yankee Doodle Fair!

  3. Very Cool indeed. Thanks for sharing.. I believe that Charlotte MacLear and Bob Loomis were Wright Street neighbors.

  4. Bill Boyd... Staples 66

    Great story…thankyou!

  5. Geraldine Crooker

    A very interesting story. Merci!

  6. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    Wonderful story. I remember Miss MacLear from French II. Just writing her name brings back memories. I can almost see her standing by the blackboard. I remember her as tall, imposing strict but kind hearted so I am not surprised to read that she was instrumental in the recovery effort. The name Loomis is also familiar to me. I think perhaps my grandmother knew the Loomis family.

  7. Bob Loomis’s family founded the Loomis School in Windsor,Ct.

  8. Awesome history👍🏼
    Très informatif et impressionnant❗️

  9. @Mary

    Joan Loomis was a French teacher at GFA for 20+ years. Your brother Corky was there for many of those. You may find it interesting that for a while his GF was my GF’s mother!

    • Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

      Thank you! I knew that I knew that there was a connection to the Loomis family. I just, obviously, did not remember that it was GFA. Now I am trying to imagine who your GF’s mother is…….Feel free to ask Dan for my e-mail because I am intrigued. Two names come to mind …… Thanks for the clarification.

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