Friday Flashback #251

Can you go back home again?

Staples High School Class of 1977 graduate Russ Gershon tried. Well, at least he visited his mother, and some of his old, ’70s-era stomping grounds.

Burr Farms Elementary School, the Westport Library, S&M Pizza, Remarkable Book Shop, Ye Olde Bridge Grille — all are now demolished, closed, relocated, or otherwise unrecognizable.

Burr Farms Elementary School then …(computer image by Steve Katz)

… and now.

Russ turned those memories into a clever, compelling video. Whether you remember the people (and making junior high jokes about “S&M Pizza”), or have absolutely no idea what Russ is talking about, you’ll love his film.

But the best part is his homage to a place that’s still around (and will be for the next 60 years too, god willing): Gold’s Deli.

Let’s just say, Russ’ takeaway is delicious.

Click here for the video.

19 responses to “Friday Flashback #251

  1. Wendy Crowther

    Hi Russ, is your mom’s name Nancy? If so, she probably won’t remember me but I knew her as a regular YMCA member back in the 1980s when I worked there. Please say hello to her.

  2. Carolyn Barton Scholl

    That made me teary!

  3. Tom Duquette, SHS '75

    Russ, thanks so much for sharing your video and your experiences on visiting Westport again. I’m only a couple years younger than you and have a lot of the same memories (except I went to Saugatuck Elementary, which at least is still standing) and feel the same way when I visit CT once a year. Another shocking thing over the years is the demolition of my friends’ homes and ultimately my old home and to see the monstrosities which replaced them. I also didn’t know that about the owner’s name and the Remarkable Book Shop, a great piece of trivia. As always Dan, appreciate you putting this out there. Happy 4th everyone.

  4. That picture of Burr Farms School with its colorful exterior is exactly how I remember it. I remember we were on single sessions back in the 1950s waiting for the school to open because Greens Farms was overcrowded. I distinctly remember boarding my school bus and hearing from someone that the Soviet Union launched Sputnik.

  5. Thank you both for both making and sharing the video. It made me sad as I too miss the Westport of old even though I only go back to 1975, it was a wonderful small quaint town and we loved it. Leaving in 2018 it was a different town and a recent visit in May so many more changes not all for the better. Good things are happening too but somehow that old Westport was really a special small town.

  6. Thanks for reposting the video, Dan Woog! I’ve been getting a huge kick out of all generations of Westporter’s reactions. I believe I found a couple of the vintage shots I used here on your site.

  7. Irnie Sollinger

    Thank you a wonderful adorable memory

  8. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    Beautiful video-

    Very Few Delis -of Gold’s stature-,in Western Ma. So,every so often, we 3 still make the pilgrimage to Westport for their bagels, etc. 🙂

  9. Joyce Barnhart

    Was Burr Farms School ever meant to be permanent? I remember going through the joined trailers from the office to a classroom at the other end of the school. I was lots slimmer then, but I could still feel the floors “give” as I walked on them.

    • As I recall, the school was a prototype (for US Steel?). It was supposed to be “flexible” – various components could be taken apart, moved, etc. That never happened.

      When the school was ready to close in the 1970s or early ’80s (declining enrollment), the town thought they’d take it apart, and sell the metal as scrap. But all the bolts had rusted together, so it had to be demolished the old-fashioned way — at our expense.

  10. One of the (very few) ingratiating features of the Burr Farms School building when it first opened (in January, 1958) were the exterior classroom doors, each in a bright, bold color. Together with the geometric steel construction, the building had the look of a live-in Mondrian painting. As each classroom had its own door to the outside, fire drills were a snap! Eventually, the doors were all repainted an innocuous pale green, but a subsequent paint job restored the original color scheme. Alas, most of the photos which have been shared on Facebook have been in black-and-white, including many Class Photos which were posed outside the building. Perhaps some “06880” readers can turn up some old color photos showing the building (with its original doors) in all its original glory!

  11. Leonard Metelits, Lou Dorsey, Miss Fourier, Mrs. Carpenter, Mr. Pierce. Any of those ring a bell?

  12. Right.. Mr. Rudd.. I heard Mr. Pierce moved to Australia or New Zealand and only stayed a few years as a Westport teacher. I had Miss Fourier and I think it was her first year as a teacher. I spent a lot of time in the hallway that year.

  13. Here’s a story for you. I started at Greens Farms School in 1952. The Principal was Mrs. Leary. It was her last year in the school system. My father, born in Westport in 1918, had her too in the 1920s. How many from Westport can say they had the same Principal, in the same school, as their father? After Mrs. Leary came Mr. Ready.

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