Friday Flashback #271

Every resident knows the handsome building on Myrtle Avenue as Town Hall.

Residents with long memories remember it as Bedford Elementary  School.

But no one — at least, I don’t think anyone — recalls when the entrance looked like this:

That’s the view Gloria Gouveia found at an online auction.

She was outbid at the last moment for the painting.

Let’s hope the winner has as fond memories of the school as its many graduates do.

27 responses to “Friday Flashback #271

  1. went there starting in 1947 for Kindergarten through 6th grade What fond memories.

  2. Is that our (modern) Minuteman flag flying beneath the Stars and Stripes?

  3. Gloria, Who painted it, and is it an oil painting?

  4. Seth Schachter

    Jack- if you zoom in on the painting you can make out- ‘E PAPROCKI’ for the artist signature bottom right. Looks like an oil on canvas.

    Great find Gloria!!!!

  5. It’s a painting – the entrance never looked like this! Maybe the artist worked from a photo or postcard of the school that didn’t show the driveway and just guessed at how it looked. There’s more hill than we see here. This almost looks like a brook.

  6. Seth Schachter

    Looks like this could be from contemporary artist: EJ Paprocki
    — seems like artist signature matches up when I looked at one of his works in his gallery.

    • Seth, I went on the link and we’re definitely talking oil, however, I can’t find any signatures. I’m sure the signatures are there, but I can’t find them.

  7. Seth Schachter

    If you look at 2019 Gallery on the link
    and then look at The Chicago Symphony piece that EJ sold, you can zoom in on signature bottom right and see what I think is a match.

  8. Wanda Gupton Tedesco

    I remember going there to play basketball in elementary school. I went to Saugatuck.😁

  9. I believe it never looked exactly like that – but an artist is free to interpret what he or she sees as they wish. I will send Dan an old postcard of Bedford El, as I will forever know it.

  10. Fond memories indeed. was just reminiscing with one of the Corrigan’s about some of the teachers there Wacob, Lominitzer,White, O’Hainan, Principal George Flynn, etc. etc…great times… great educators.

    • Michael, I’m guessing that by “O’Hainan” you mean John Ohanian (a tough one to spell and even tougher to remember, I grant), supervisor of music in the Westport schools and my stepfather. I went to Bedford El from 1945 to 1949, then BJHS until I went off to prep school in 1951. The Bedford El principal in my time was a formidable lady named Nettie Spangenberg; the teachers included Dorothy Sleep (who I believe is still alive at 101 and still living in Westport), Ethel Sniffen, Ruth Holle, and Iva Lumpkin (notice these are all women, and great women they were). I will always be grateful to these teachers and the taxpayers of Westport for the superb education I received in the Westport Public Schools.

      • Don ..Was thinking about Mrs.Ohanian…Librarian and if I am not mistaken wife to John?
        Library at Bedford El …now the conference rooms that sits between Selectman’s office and Board of Ed Super.

        • Interesting. Phyllis Ohanian (Mrs. John) was my mom. She had a full life and lived to 101. It’s still hard for me to think of Bedford El as anything but a school….

      • mary schmerker

        Sometimes I am happy that I did not comment as soon as I read a post. I remember every single teacher’s name you mention. I was at Bedford Elementary from Kindergarten in 1945 through graduation and then on to Bedford Jr. High and finally Staples.
        Your Dad gave me some violin lessons ( Bedford Elem. had an orchestra!) but is better remember of course for Music at Staples. The Spangenbergs lived on Clinton Avenue close to where we lived. It would be too long to thoroughly explain but Mrs. Spangenberg “saved” my educational life when I was in first grade. Mrs. Stevenson was also a teacher and there was one male teacher when I was in 5th and 6th grades. I may have the name wrong but I think his name was Mr. Kishel. I am continually greateful for my education in Westport.

    • Don’t forget Mr. Judell (spelling approximated), a popular 6th grade teacher in his day (late 50’s early 60’s).

  11. According to the artist’s biography, he had solo exhibitions at Gallerie Je Reviens (Westport) in 1996, 1998 and 1999.


    The artist held solo exhibitions at Galerie Je Reviens in 1996, 1998 and 1999.

  13. Joyce Barnhart

    Isn’t Gloria a former – or maybe a current – teacher in the Westport schools?

  14. David J. Loffredo

    Anyone still have the black and white Bedford El Forever t-shirt?

  15. Remember in 1956 or 57 we were on split sessions. I remember only attending school at Greens Farms in the afternoons. Looking back, we were probably cheated out of a thorough education that year by only attending school for three hours.

  16. Luisa Francoeur

    I attended Bedford El for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade and remember my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs Lifield (sp?), who had “Friday Fun”. My 1st grade teacher was Miss St John who left to get married at some point during the year; I do not recall the name of my Kindergarten teacher. I must have entered Bedford in 1956 but I have no memory of split sessions. The property seemed endless in back of the school building and they had a fair on the property. There must have been a construction project during the 57-58 school year since I also remember huge concrete pipe sections that we could sit inside.

    • I believe the split sessions were due to overcrowding at Greens Farms School as Burr Farms School was being built. After I-95 was built, a huge amount of people moved into town. That’s the way I remember it.

  17. Luisa Francoeur

    I forgot to mention that in 3rd grade, 1959-1960, redistricting was implemented due to the completion of Staples on North Ave, and I ended up at Kings Highway Elementary.

  18. No one mentioned how much the Bedford El painting finally sold for. I’d be curious.