Roundup: Tennis Courts, Stephen Wilkes, Monarchs …

A reader writes:

I am infuriated by this community.

My daughter and I played tennis Wednesday at Staples High School. I was disgusted to see all of the trash left on the court. The same trash I saw 2 days prior had grown in volume.

In addition to empty water bottles and tennis cans, there were about 8 of those sharp and dangerous metal seals. My daughter and I cleaned up the mess.

I don’t understand why people can’t clean up after themselves. They think it’s ok to leave their trash behind. There is a green receptacle on the court, and a garbage can just outside the fence.

Why is it so hard? Come on, people. Let’s all enjoy this public space together!

Mess at the Staples tennis courts.


World-renowned (and Westport) photographer Stephen Wilkes is featured in a new Westport Library exhibit.

Encompassing all 3 galleries, the show will explore how his visualization of the concept of time has evolved from the earlier days of his career, on through his latest series “Day to Night” and “Tapestries.”

The exhibition opens September 8.

The program will be preceded by a reception with the photographer at 6:15, followed by a Q&A in the Forum, with Stacy Bass.

The show runs through November 29.

“Flatiron 2010” (Photo/Stephen Wilkes)


Longtime Weston resident Bill Rother — a well-known musician and travel company executive — died August 1, at his beloved Kettle Creek Camp in the Pennsylvania mountains, surrounded by family. He was 89.

A strong athlete, Bill was captain of his high school swimming and crew teams. He continued to swim throughout his life, winning dozens of medals in the senior Olympics. Bill swam his age in laps on his birthday – hitting 89 this year.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in forestry in 1955, and remained a lifelong Nittany Lion supporter. Although he never worked in the field, Bill loved to quiz his grandkids on the Latin names of trees in the woods.

He served as an Army second lieutenant in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Penn State, then first lieutenant and platoon leader with the combat engineers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the 82nd Airborne Division.

He was a musician from his earliest days, working his way through college playing banjo with a Dixieland band, The Sadistic Six. This led to work as a professional musician with Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians. He traveled the world with the group, performing on live television with stars like Perry Como, Jackie Gleason and Garry Moore, and appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” right before the Beatles.

Highlights for Bill were playing at the White House and meeting a President (Eisenhower), a Queen (Elizabeth), and a King (Elvis).

Bill’s next foray into Hollywood was an attempt to produce his own TV show in London about a race car driver called “Knights of the Road.” Despite a year of work, even hiring a down and out actor who went on to future success (Peter O’Toole), they ran out of money and Bill returned to Los Angeles penniless.

He saw an ad in the L.A. Times: “Tour Director to lead deluxe groups to Hawaii.” He was quickly hired by the company, Ask Mr. Foster. Within days they bought Bill a tuxedo and sent him to work on the SS Lurline cruise ship, chatting with the likes of Lloyd Bridges on his way to run tours in Hawaii.

After several years in the travel industry Bill connected with his close friend, Arthur Tauck, who hired him as a tour director with his premier tour company, Tauck Tours. It was a career he enjoyed for over 30 years.

His most proud accomplishment was setting up Tauck’s first itinerary in Hawaii, fulfilling a lifelong dream of living in the islands. Bill couldn’t believe he got paid to travel the world, and live at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Bill married the love of his life, Bonnie Marie Orton, in 1969 on Kauai. Their honeymoon included adventures in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Bora Bora. Bill and Bonnie raised one daughter, Samantha Carrie Maile Lou Li’i Li’i Rother Nagy, who Bill called “the light of my life.”

In Weston, Bill became friendly with José Feliciano. He became the singer’s tour manager, and performed with him locally.

Bill was preceded in death by his brother Bobby. He is survived by his wife Bonnie, daughter Samantha, son-in-law Christopher, and grandsons William James and Luke Robert Nagy.

A celebration of life service will be held in September at the Unitarian Church in Westport, at a date to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, his fmaily says: :be kind, laugh, play music, love big, drink the good beer, and live a great life.”

Bill Rother


Longtime Westporter Jo Ann Miller has a question: Should children and teenagers call adults by their first names?

She comes from a military family, where that was a no-no. But she’s seen and heard it around Westport.

Jo Ann wonders: Does the trend show a lack of respect? Or is it simply a new way of raising kids?

She’d love to hear readers’ thoughts. Click “Comments” below.

Back in the day, kids did not call parents — or their parents’ friends — by first names.


Wakeman Town Farm’s lecture garden series continues August 29 (6:30 p.m.). Master gardener Alice Ely talks on Milkwood Growing and Monarch Raising.”

Monarchs have suffered tremendous habitat loss recently. Alice will describe ways to attract egg-laying monarchs to gardens, raising eggs into hungry caterpillars, and tips on growing a variety of milkweed species to help them thrive.

Click here for more information, and tickets.

Monarch butterfly and milkweed.


Season 2 of “Kids are Talking” has been a great success.

Producer Michael Bud of Weston brought in new moderators for each episode. Among them: State Senator Will Haskell, who inspired teenager to get involved in politics; a “conspiracy rhetoric” professor who talked about the JFK assassination and lizard people; a Yale professor who discussed sleep habits and moods; an expert on boundaries, and last night, teen leaders of a suicide prevention organization.

Click here for past episodes, and more information.

Last night’s “Kids are Talking” episode.


The Westport Library has added a noir film to Miggs Burroughs and Ann Chernow’s exhibition, “Double Indemnity.”

“Mildred Pierce” will be shown on the Trefz Forum big screen on August 25 (7 p.m.).


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” features some luscious tomatoes from Tom Cook’s Community Garden plot.

(Photo/Tom Cook)

Your bounty may not look like this. But there’s plenty of produce available today at the Westport Farmers’ Market. It’s runs through 2 p.m., at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.


And finally … Judith Durham, whose beautiful voice helped make The Seekers the first Australian pop group a success during the British Invasion — died today in Melbourne. She was 79, and suffered from a lifelong lung disease.

“Georgy Girl” was the Seekers’ biggest hit. I didn’t care for that one, but I loved many of their other songs — those well known, and others less famous. Australians considered them a treasure, and they were right. Click here for a full obituary.

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28 responses to “Roundup: Tennis Courts, Stephen Wilkes, Monarchs …

  1. Regarding the Tennis courts, if it’s teenagers doing it, shame on them, and their parents who clearly exhibited along the way that it’s OK to do
    shitty, entitled things like this…..and if it’s “adults” doing it, it wouldn’t shock me one bit. As with every wealthy town, there are lots of nice people yet also lots of “all about me” a-holes. That’s harsh but spot on.

  2. Richard Johnson

    Let’s get a little perspective. Of the dozens of people who use the tennis courts each week, are you surprised a handful litter? No? Then you shouldn’t have an emotional response to it. Do you think that complaining about it will change the minority of people in the world (here and everywhere else) who are lazy, selfish, and/or careless? No? So then do the right thing (pick it up) and move on with life knowing that you’ve done the best you can do in that situation. This (and the bad parking posts, and the dog poop posts, and all the other cranky complaining about the inevitabilities of life among human beings) is such a waste of energy.

  3. So, Richard, let’s be clear: you want everyone to do the “right thing” and “pick up” for others and just “move on knowing that we’ve done the best you can do in that situation.” Really? God bless you and your forgiveness of others who shit all other fellow humans. Is it really just a waste of energy to simply point out when others are behaving badly? Maybe, just maybe, some of the offenders may read when others point out behavior that is so easily avoidable and “possibly” some offenders MIGHT then change their future behavior in certain future situations. I’m not naive, certainly not everyone will change, but “maybe” some will. It’s worth a shot….you however seem to just say, “I’ll just take care of it, no worries.”
    Glad that philosophy floats your boat.

    • Richard Johnson

      To answer your question: no, I don’t think anonymously pointing out bad behavior is likely to change it. Case in point: This blog has been running anonymous bad parking and bad driving and bad behavior posts for years. Do you notice an improvement? I don’t. Indeed, the posts only seem to get more frequent.

  4. Is there a trash can at the tennis courts?

    • I live near the park and there are several trash cans – yet I often see water bottles and other litter on the ground, a few steps from these receptacles. I notice litter everywhere- it’s very disheartening.

  5. Tom Duquette, SHS '75

    Regarding Jo Ann Miller’s question, but speaking as someone who does not have children, I have to agree with her view and was raised the same as she was.

    We never would have called our parents by their first names or any other adult for that matter. Back then it was certainly considered good manners and just being respectful for kids to use “Mr” or “Mrs” or “Sir” and Ma’am” when addressing adults.

    After a 31 year military career I still call people like the grocery cashier “ma’am” or the guy at the tire store “sir” even though they are younger than me. Just seems more courteous.

  6. Shannon Nordlinger

    When we lived in Chicago my children called all adults, except their teachers, by their first names. It’s likely a product of the schools they attended and our chosen family out there, but that’s all they knew until we moved here and the practice in their peer groups was to call all adults by Mr. or Mrs. X (along with the occasional “Y’s mom”). Now that they’re in college they are shifting back to first names with close family friends.

  7. Regarding litterbugs in general: I was a Boy Scout. One of the many things I learned was to “leave the campsite better than you found it”

  8. No first names in my family. My kids raised to use Mr/Mrs/Miss/Dr/Coach etc. Do not enjoy kids calling me Mark but clearly their parents have OK’d it. Like most kid behavior, starts and ends with parents.

    • As a soccer coach, I was always “Dan.” Not “Coach Dan” — that always sounded odd to me. Not “Coach Woog” either. And my entire Staples HS staff was always first names: Kurt, Tom, Jim, Russell, Chris, Elysee. It’s just the way we rolled.

  9. Amy Pietrasanta

    I think respect and manners are very important but I don’t care what kids call me. Partly because my last name is long and hard to pronounce maybe?

    But I have taught my kids to call all adults Mr. or Mrs. X until / unless instructed otherwise as I know it’s important to many people. Of course my rule follower complies and my rule breaker requires (many) reminders but such is life with teenagers, I guess!

  10. I call people what they prefer to be called. If an older person wants a younger one to call them Mr. or Mrs., then they should. But if the older person doesn’t mind being called by their first name, then that’s OK. My “legal” name is Barbara, but I hate it and ask people to all me Bobbie. If they insist on calling me Barbara, then I don’t consider them a friend.

  11. Jo Ann: I was raised the same way you were—and I think it simply reflected the norm back then in how people were addressed. As perhaps a striking example of that, several days ago I had a phone interview with a woman who played a famous character on TV decades ago and who is closer to my mom’s age than she is to mine—yet she still initially addressed me as “Mr. Cantor.” (I asked her to please call me Fred.)

    I witnessed for years the Staples soccer players calling Dan Woog by his first name and I don’t think they treated him with any less respect than we treated Coach Albie Loeffler, whom we always called “Mr. Loeffler.” Now, as for some of the parents of those players…

    • Interestingly — and Fred is right, it was always “Mr. Loeffler.” I never felt comfortable calling him “Albie” — even after I became head boys soccer coach, the same position he had decades earlier. But I didn’t want to call him “Mr. Loeffler” still. So … I never called him anything. When I’d call on the phone, or see him, I’d just say “hi” and start talking. That was my solution!

      • Carl Addison Swanson, '66

        I called Mr. Loeffler “Albie” once. It was the last time. He gave me one big stink eye and 10 laps to run around the field.

  12. All adults were called Mr/Mrs, except a few very close friends of my parents who gave us permission to use their first names

  13. I loved The Seekers. And Georgie Girl too. Reminds me of Westport in the 60s. Judith remained so youthful and beautiful until the end…her voice was so lilting and beautiful even into her 70s.

  14. I loved The Seekers. And Georgie Girl too. Reminds me of Westport in the 60s. Judith’s voice was so clear and lilting until the end. She looked and sounded beautiful well into her 70s.

  15. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    I always addressed adults by their pronoun and last name. Coaches were always Coach Pollack, Coach Loeffler, etc. When I went into business everyone was by first names even the most senior executives. I’ve noticed that my many nieces/nephews have gone to first names. While it doesn’t bother me to be addressed that way, I still address my few remaining aunts/uncles as Aunt Betsy/Uncle George, etc. even though most of my peer relatives have gone to addressing seniors by their first names. Kind of funny that a 70 year old man still thinks like a kid but that’s what I am.

  16. Carl Addison Swanson, '66

    I am afraid the first name calling of one’s parents and/or adults results from many who raise their kid on the “buddy” system and thus the familiarity just perpetuates the relationship? I was in the military, I call everybody “sir” but oddly enough my son calls me by first name, maybe because he was playing poker with us law students in Austin at the age of six?

  17. I don’t mind what young people call me but If a doctor,
    dentist, minister or other professional calls me by my first name with no honorific I will call them by heir first name.

  18. Growing up as a military brat, we had many “Uncles” and “Aunts.” I gather it was a form of bonding among the troops? My husband refused to call my father “Tom” but insisted on calling him General. “He earned that respect” which I think it is lacking these days among generations?

  19. Seems to me that how one addressed adults as a child is largely a cultural phenomenon, and so neither good nor bad, moral nor immoral. I called my mother by her first name from the outset — but she was my mother, not my buddy.

  20. Sort of amusing that in my 50s I still address my parents’ friends as Mr. or Mrs. Whoever.

  21. What was wrong with “Georgie Girl”? More than just a catchy pop tune, it had reflective lyrics regarding how one puts on airs for the world, and in doing so diminishes one self.

    They did evolve into just “The Seekers,” correct? Then they did “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” which became a Coke jingle, and later the final scene in the “Mad Man” series. Quite a legacy!

    • I just didn’t like “Georgy Girl” – I don’t know why. There’s no accounting for taste.

      As noted in the NY Times obituary, the Seekers were formed in 1963. Judith Durham left in 1968. In 1971, the New Seekers — a different version of the groups — had the “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” hit. The song had been written earlier. It became the Coca-Cola jingle; then the New Seekers recorded it (without the Coke references), and it became a hit.

      The original Seekers later reunited, for tours and concerts.

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