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.
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.)