Friday Flashback #131

When Tommy Ghianuly died last month, Westport lost more than a great barber and good friend.

We lost a man who loved local history — and made his Compo Shopping Center business a shrine to it.

The walls of Tommy’s barber shop are filled with vintage photos. Most customers see them in the mirror as they get their hair cut. Sometimes, someone glances a bit more closely at one or two.

Each of them has a story. Tommy knew them all.

He never wrote them down. Fortunately, in 2001 Staples High School video production teacher Jim Honeycutt teamed up with Phil Woodruff, a retired SHS social studies instructor who was then serving as Westport Historical Society director of oral history.

One morning, Jim filmed Tommy with his photos. They were joined by illustrious artist and longtime Westporter Howard Munce, and town native Jim Feeney.

(From left) Tommy Ghianuly, Jim Feeney and Howard Munce chat about Tommy’s barber shop photos.

These are not talking heads. They’re great conversationalists, sharing stories about the Westport of long ago. They chat about buildings, people, trolleys, downtown, holidays, daily life, and the notorious Compo Inn. At the end, Woodruff makes a cameo appearance.

Tommy, Jim Feeney and Phil are all gone now. But Jim Honeycutt is still very much alive.

After Tommy died, he dug out the 40-minute video. Then he sent it to “06880.”

It’s a way to keep these great Westporters with us.

It’s a way too to remind ourselves why they loved this town. And why we love it — and them.

(To see the video, click below.)

7 responses to “Friday Flashback #131

  1. Tom Feeley Sr

    Jim Feeney was an Army Air Force Pilot in WWII flying reconnaissance in a Piper Cub when he looked down and saw huge explosions. He was in the middle of a B52 Air strike no one knew about. Jim said he got outta there real fast 👍🏼🇺🇸Great guy✝️

  2. Tom Feeley Sr

    Jim Feeney was an Army Air Force Pilot in WWII flying reconnaissance in a Piper Cub when he looked down and saw huge explosions. He was in the middle of a B52 Air strike no one knew about. Jim said he got outta there real fast 👍🏼🇺🇸Great guy✝️

  3. Dan:
    This is terrific! I miss Tom. I was fortunate that he allowed me to make large copies of many of the photos in the shop. They are a collection of the history of Westport that I enjoy looking at every day. Howard Munch, Jim Feeney and Tom didn’t know the origin of Parker Harding Plaza. I was told by Mary and Paul Kowalsky that the land fill that created the parking lot was from the construction of 95. Mary gave me some wonderful photos of the work being done and the final picture of the parking lot the day before it was opened to the public.

  4. Thanks, Jim. Very cool. Feel free to send any photos to dwoog@optonline.net. I’m always looking for great Friday Flashbacks, and other stories!

  5. Mr Feeney once told me that his plane was so slow that the Germans could not shoot him down.

  6. Melissa Crouch Chang

    thanks for sharing this! what a treasure – I’ll have my kids watch it too.

  7. So wonderful. Typing this through tears…Tommy was an incredible force in our lives…my three sons and I were his customers for 25 years, and he never failed to inspire us.