Black Duck Mystery: Solved!

Last Sunday’s “06880” lead story described a mystery. Whatever happened, reader Scott Smith wondered, to the photo of 2 bikini-clad young women, that hung for years in the Black Duck’s men’s room?

Readers filled the Comments section with theories, guesses and “facts.” 

Pete Aitkin knows for sure.

The longtime owner of the Duck now lives in Lake Luzerne, New York.

But he still reads “06880” regularly. Yesterday, he checked in from that Adirondacks town with this definitive answer:

Indeed, the picture features 2 of the Black Duck’s original waitresses/ bartenders.

The blonde is Mary Scully. The brunette is Joyce Pettit.

Mary was the first girl I ever hired at the Duck — around February 1978, 2 months before we opened on April 4. Joyce came aboard a little while later.

One of our early bartenders was Staples wrestling legend Phil Kopp (Class of 1972). Mary and Phil began dating.

They left the Duck to open their own bar, the Rainbow Beach Club, on Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas. That’s where the picture was taken, about 1981.

Sadly, the Rainbow Bar was destroyed by a hurricane around 1983.

Their picture (my favorite) was one of several featuring pretty girls I hung in the men’s room. While I did my best to deter theft by nailing and/or screwing them to the walls, several were stolen. I suspect they ended up on the walls of a college dorm somewhere.

However, Mary and Joyce’s picture was not stolen — unless you want to call me a thief.

Upon my “retirement” from the Black Duck last November, I moved to upstate New York. I couldn’t bear to leave Mary and Joyce behind.

So I brought the picture with me. My wife (Lynda Pianka, Staples Class of 1970) will not let me hang it in our living room. I hope to build a “man cave” soon, so I can once again display it.

Mary returned to Westport, and married lucky fellow Westporter Brad French. I believe she now lives in the Detroit area. Joyce lives in Pennsylvania with her dog, Charleigh Grace.

They were 2 wonderful and popular girls who held the Black Duck get started on its 45-year run.

Thanks, Pete! Generations of Westport males can now rest easy.

The Black Duck was named for Pete Aitkin’s boat. Here he is, at the helm.

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12 responses to “Black Duck Mystery: Solved!

  1. Awesome story, awesome history, people just liked each other so much more then!

  2. Mary had also dated another Westport legend…Steve Russell who’s band was very popular. A group of Westporters actually bought the bar Pete mentions but it was in St. Croix. I will try to send you a better picture of Mary.

  3. What a wonderful twist to this story. Thanks, Pete, and “06880”!


    This is awesome! I’m glad the girls are safe and sound with Pete. (Hi Pete!). But now I’m curious about the guys they thought took it. What was the thing under the guy’s shirt?

  5. Diana B Pils Marino

    Awesome story! Thanks Pete! Enjoy the Adirondacks.

  6. I hope there were comparable pix in the “ladies room”? In case not, this could be redressed. What is the female equivalent of a “man cave”?

  7. Denise Sedgwick

    First of all Phil Kopp and Bruce maccloy moved to frederiksted st croix USVI from Westport and bought the lease on Rainbow beach and ran a successful beach bar/ restaurant! It was home away from home for many of us from Fairfield county! Sadly, hurricane hugo(1989) decimated Rainbow beach and Phil and his lovely wife, Pieta, moved to Binghamton Ny with their two children .After the kids finished college Phil and Pieta moved back to St croix where he had a very successful building company.they are now retired , though Phil keeps building wonderful homes on incredible hillsides overlooking the Caribbean!

    • Denise, Any relation to the Sedgwick from North Maple Avenue at the corner of Hyde Lane? Her name might have been Sue and she’d be 78-ish years old now.

  8. Gloria Gouveia

    Thanks for the memories!

    Pete Atkins and I first met in Spring of 1978 when in my position as Zoning Enforcement Officer I issued a sign permit for the Black Duck.
    In 1982, I had the good fortune of being on the last plane out of JFK before a legendary blizzard hit and grounded aircraft for days. I spent the next 12 days in Frederiksted St. Croix and much of that time at the Rainbow Beach Club.
    Can’t help but wonder if something in all that good black rum we consumed is the secret behind our longevity.
    Best to all!

  9. I believe on April 1 and 2 of 1982, there was a nasty blizzard. Is that the one you’re referring to, Gloria?

  10. Denise Sedgwick

    Jack sue Sedgwick is my husband Tom Sedgwick’s cousin! Denise

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