Category Archives: Looking back

Restoring Historic Homes, One By One

Teardowns gets tons of publicity. The loss of familiar streetscapes — and their replacement by (often) bigger, more modern homes — is hard to miss.

Renovations are harder to see. Much of that work goes on inside. But they’re an important part of Westport life too.

Tracey Ialeggio Kelly was born and raised in Westport. Her father Tony Ialeggio — an architect for over 40 years — instilled in her a love for historic houses.

She graduated from Staples High School in 1991. Nineteen years later, she purchased a 1927 home on Colonial Road that was a prime candidate for demolition.

She restored it beautifully. In 2012 the Historic District Commission honored her with a Westport Preservation Award. It noted her sensitivity to the mass and scale of the historic Greens Farms Congregational Church neighborhood.

Tracey Ialeggio Kelly’s Colonial Road home … (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

“It is an example of how a small, modest house can be successfully preserved, expanded and adapted to the needs of a modern family on a small parcel of land,” the award said.

But Tracey was not through. Last July, she bought another historic house, on Sylvan Road North.

She asked Westport Museum of History & Culture house historian Bob Weingarten to research it. He found that the property was purchased by Charles and Frederick Fable — brothers who created Fable Funeral Home — in 1939, from Edward Nash.

… and her house on North Sylvan. (Photo/Megan Kelly)

Frederick died a few months later. His son — also named Frederick — continued to build the house, with his uncle Charles. It remained in the family until 1985.

Tracey’s friend Andy Dehler surprised her on Christmas with a historic house plaque. It’s one of many that remind everyone who passes that history continues to live in town.

We just have to know where to look.

Tracey Ialeggio Kelly, with her historic home plaque. (Photo/Megan Kelly)

The Yule Log Lives. Of Course There’s A Westport Connection.

Since 1966 Westporters have celebrated Christmas by gathering together, drinking egg nog, and watching a film loop of a fire burning in a fireplace.

This COVID year — 54 years after it began — the “Yule Log” is more important than ever. With family gatherings smaller, and few options for leaving the house, we’ll take comfort in one old tradition that’s easy to enjoy.

The traditional Yule log …

And we owe it all to a Westporter of yore:  Fred Thrower.

According to Wikipedia — which is usually pretty right, most of the time — Fred was president and CEO of WPIX, Inc.

Inspired by an animated Coca-Cola commercial a year earlier that showed Santa Claus at a fireplace, he envisioned this television program as a televised Christmas gift to those residents of “The Big Apple” who lived in apartments and homes without fireplaces.  This also provided time for employees of the TV station to stay home with their families, instead of working for the usual morning news program.

The original film was shot at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the Mayor of New York City John Lindsay.  An estimated US $4,000 of advertising (along with a roller derby telecast that night) was canceled on Christmas Eve for the show’s inaugural airing.

Thrower, and WPIX-FM programming director Charlie Whittaker selected the music, largely based on the easy listening format the radio station had at that time, with the likes of Percy Faith (whose rendition of “Joy to the World” is played at the beginning and the end of the telecast), Nat King Cole, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, Mantovani, and the Ray Conniff Singers to name a few.

During the shoot, the producers removed a protective fire grate so that the blaze could be seen to its best advantage.  Unfortunately, a stray spark damaged a nearby antique rug valued at $4,000.

The “show” was a ratings success. Two years later a new, less jerky, longer (6 minutes, 3 seconds) version was filmed.

For decades the Yule Log quietly, unassumingly, lovingly thrived.

… and a 3D version.

WPIX is now owned by E.W. Scripps. But the show goes on: tomorrow, Christmas Day, from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The coronavirus has taken so much from us. Thankfully, anyone in the tri-state area can still enjoy this quaint, odd tradition, created by a long-ago Westport neighbor.

And if your family can’t gather here the traditional way, don’t worry. Just grab an iPad, and watch together, virtually.

All you need is Zoom. Just “log” on. Ho ho ho!

Bennewitz On The Boyers: Arts Pioneers Draw New Attention

As town art curator, Kathie Motes Bennewitz has spent years fleshing out full narratives of our earliest generations of artists — the men and women who established Westport’s reputation as an “artists’ colony.”

The first painters and illustrators arrived around 1904. Ralph and Rebecca Boyer joined them in 1923. Like many others — then and now — they had young children, and found Westport a better place to raise a family than New York City.

You may never have heard of the Boyers. But Bennewitz has.

In fact, her essay “A Seeing Eye for Beauty in the Everyday World: Ralph L. Boyer (1879-1952) and His Daughter Rebecca Boyer Merrilees (1922-2012)” is part of a new book.

A Life in Art: The Boyer & Merrilees Families was just published by the Northern New England Museum of Contemporary Art. It includes over 100 full-color images, covering the art they created from 1907 to 2010. Most was done right here in Westport.

The Boyers lived in Coleytown. It was far from the center — but their neighbors included James and Laura Gardin Fraser, Oscar and Lila Audobon Howard, and Kerr and Phyllis Brevoori Eby. James Daugherty lived nearby, in Weston.

The Boyers’ antique saltbox had been the home of illustrator Clive Weed. Known as the Aaron Burr Adams house, it still stands on Easton Road, near Bayberry  Extension.

Boyer built a small studio, on a hilltop. He had sweeping views of the Aspetuck River, where the stream widens into a lake (now part of the Newman Poses Preserve). When he was not painting, Boyer was fishing.

“Landlocked Salmon No.1 (c. 1924-1935),” etching and drypoint. Inscribed: “To my friend James Daugherty with deepest regards Ralph L. Boyer.”

Boyer’s favorite drawing and etching subjects included haying on the Coley farms, trees along the Saugatuck River and fly fishing on the Aspetuck. His etchings of trout, salmon and bass capture their grace of movement.

He also painted portraits of key community members and artists. During the Depression he received important WPA mural commissions. His most famous — the “History of Fire” series — hangs in the Westport fire station today.

Along the Saugatuck (mid to late 1920s), etching and drypoint (Ralph Boyer)

His daughter Becky graduated from Staples High School in 1939. Her yearbook called her “one of the town’s most expert badminton players, as well as one oits leading younger artists.”

After Pratt Institute, she became an accomplished commercial illustrator. She was most renowned for her botanic work.

In 1960 she became the first female artist with a Reader’s Digest cover (a painting of ferns). She drew 8 more covers, all botanical.

Becky and her husband Douglas Merrilees moved to Northfield, Vermont in 1961. There he developed what is now called the “Made in Vermont” movement. She continued to draw nature there.

Artwork by Rebecca (Becky) Boyer Merrilees.

Bennewitz’s essay was inspired by a generous donation to the Westport Public Art Collections by Becky Boyer Merrilees in 2012, just months before she died. It included etchings and sketches by her father, watercolors by her mother, and beautiful paintings by Becky, along with art by Kerr Eby.

The Boyers’ time here — particularly the early years — must have been quite  something. In 1931, the Boston Evening Transcript described Westport like this:

An extensive permanent colony of painters, etchers, sculptors, typographers and printers of 20 years (who) have established themselves in the fabric of the town…

A very attractive social structure has sort of accumulated, so that Saturday evenings the year ‘round are very jolly indeed.…

They are friends, they are people. They fish and skate and ride and sail sloops and swim and have children. They gossip — dear me! How they gossip, and they are as easily friendly as any group you could imagine.

(Click here to buy A Life in Art: The Boyers & Merrilees.)

“Self-Portrait” (Ralph Boyer)

Barnes & Noble Nears Downtown Move

Growing up, Gordon Joseloff loved the Remarkable Book Shop. Klein’s books, too.

For years after the Main Street stores closed, he dreamed of bringing a bookstore back downtown.

Joseloff died last month. But now that’s almost a reality — in a building his family has owned for years.

Joseloff’s cousin Bruce Beinfield – an architect who also grew up here, and remembers the bookstores fondly — is handling negotiations for the Post Road East building.

For decades, it housed the Fine Arts Theater. From 1999 through last spring, it was Restoration Hardware.

Soon — perhaps right after the holidays — Barnes & Noble will move from its current location, to the downtown site. Earlier today, Beinfield confirmed that a deal is imminent.

Barnes & Noble is poised to move here …

The Barnes & Noble chain was acquired last year by Elliott Management Corporation. Their goal is to give local managers more leeway in operating each store.

At 10,000 square feet, the new Barnes & Noble will be smaller than its current store. It moved into the shopping center near Angelina’s after outgrowing its original Post Road location further east (most recently, Pier 1).

Beinfield says that once the deal is finalized, Barnes & Noble hopes to move as soon as possible. Applications for signage are already on file with town officials.

Plans for a new Starbucks café inside have not yet been filed. However, the back of the building will have food. As reported on “06880” last month, Basso Restaurant & Wine Bar will soon replace Matsu Sushi (the former Fine Arts 3 theater) on Jesup Road.

So what will become of the current Barnes & Noble location? There’s no official word, but rumors include Amazon Go — the high-tech, automated, geofenced app-driven store selling prepared foods, meal kits, groceries and alcohol.

If that happens, it would be a full circle of sorts. Before Barnes & Noble, that building was a Waldbaum’s supermarket.

… from here.

Finding New Life In An Old Cemetery

As COVID cases soar, Westporters search for safe activities.

Among the best places to explore on your own: cemeteries. Odds are you won’t find anyone infected there (or anyone else alive, for that matter).

Our town is filled with fascinating graveyards. Willowbrook, off Main Street near Cross Highway, is the biggest. Greens Farms Church — Westport’s first meetinghouse — has 2 (“upper” and “lower”) on Hillandale and Greens Farms Roads, near the Sherwood Island Connector.

Saugatuck Church’s Evergreen Avenue cemetery and the one shared by Assumption and Christ & Holy Trinity Churches on Kings Highway North near Old Hill are also filled with Westport names, both famous and obscure.

Smaller cemeteries include Compo Beach Road, Longshore Club Park, Post Road West near the Norwalk town line, and Wilton Road near the Merritt Parkway.

Gray’s Creek cemetery on Compo Beach Road. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

All are easily accessible. But the Kings Highway Colonial Cemetery is not.

It’s a small graveyard at the corner of Kings Highway North and Wilton Road. Unless you walk or bike there, the only access is by parking at the medical office across the street, then taking your life in your hands (bad analogy) as you cross Route 33.

The other day, David Wilson did just that. He grew up in Westport (Staples High School Class of 1975), and still spends plenty of time in the area.

Yet in all those years, he had never explored that cemetery.

He was dismayed to find parts in disrepair. Headstones were knocked over. Brush littered the grounds. Broken trees were everywhere.

(Photo/David Wilson)

Intrigued, David found 2 archived Facebook Live tours of the cemeetery. They were led by Nicole Carpenter, director of programs and education at the Westport Museum for History & Culture.

Once in a driving rain, and once on a beautiful spring day, Nicole gave viewers a look at the gravestones. She explained back stories too, including the changing styles and meanings of the stones’ shapes and colors.

The Taylor family — who gave their name to the neighborhood then called Taylortown (the nearby marsh is still called that) — share a large section with the Marvins (of tavern fame).

Abigail Taylor’s grave.

A non-family member is also interred there: Dinah, a “colored” servant and cook. That’s highly unusual, Nicole explained.

There’s the Judah family too, among the first Jewish residents of Westport (then part of Norwalk). Michael moved from New York City because of anti-Semitism. His son Henry became an Episcopal minister; Henry’s son, Henry Moses Judah, was a brigadier general in the Mexican-American and Civil Wars.

The Judas family owned an estate in Saugatuck, which was named for them. Over the years, Judas Point morphed into Judy’s Point.

The 2 tours are fascinating. If COVID keeps you indoors, click here and here to watch.

Kings Highway Colonial Cemetery.

But Nicole missed one of the most fascinating parts of the cemetery. At a mound not far from the road — perhaps the spot where Benedict Arnold (not yet a traitor) set up a cannon to thwart the British as they returned from their 1777 raid on Danbury (they thwarted him, by taking a different route back to Compo Beach) — there was a secret, spooky spot long known to kids like me, growing up in Westport.

If you lay flat on your stomach, and peered into the area where the ground had shifted, you could see all the way down to the bottom. There — arrayed like a horror film — sat a set of bones.

I’ve forgotten many things about being a kid here.

But as long as I live, I’ll always remember that skeleton.

A section of the burial mound, near where the earth has moved.

Roundup: Maine, Save Cockenoe Now, Melissa Joan Hart, More


Who doesn’t love Maine?

Tom Kretsch sure does. The longtime Westport photographer has just published “Touching Maine.” The hard-cover book’s 93 pages of images and text capture the essence of that special state: its water, rocks, fog, islands, structures, dinghies and abstract impressions.

A signed copy is $50. For $100, you’ll get a signed copy plus one of the 8×10 prints shown below. Email tom@peacefulplacesphoto.com, or call 203-644-4518.


Lindsay Shurman is searching for a holiday gift for her husband. And she needs “06880” readers’ help.

She wants to give him Walter Einsel’s iconic “Save Cockenoe Now” poster (below). Back in the 1960s, it was everywhere — and played a role in the town’s purchase of the island off Compo Beach, saving it from becoming a nuclear power plant (!).

A few are still floating around. But The Flat sold the one they had. And Lindsay just lost a Westport Auction bidding war.

“Any idea where I may find an original?” she asks.

“Maybe someone is willing to part with it for a price. Or a donation made in their name to a favorite cause. I could even settle for a reproduction. I just need an original to scan.

“Any help would be so appreciated. I’m obsessed with this poster, and gifting it to my husband this holiday season!”

If you’ve got a lead, email lindsay.shurman@gmail.com. And sssshhhh …  don’t tell her husband!


Melissa Joan Hart has been very busy lately.

The Westport resident produced, directed and starred in 3 new Lifetime holiday films.

“Feliz NaviDAD” — yes, the name of the classic song by Westonite Jose Feliciano — premiered Saturday. “Dear Christmas,” with James Priestley, airs this Friday (November 27, 8 p.m.). “Once Upon a Main Street” follows on Sunday (November 27, 8 p.m.). (Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein, via Connecticut Post)

Jason Priestley and Melissa Joan Hart, in “Dear Christmas.”


Distance education isn’t new to Taylor Harrington. The 2015 Staples High School graduate works at Akimbo, a company that creates online learning experiences.

The pandemic — as awful as it is — has created opportunities. Taylor and her team saw a chance to help young people looking to grow.

They created The Emerging Leaders Program, a free, 5-day online workshop for people ages 16-25,looking to make a difference in the world .

The first 2 sessions were powerful. The next is set for January 4-8. Young leaders — or anyone knowing one — can click here for details. Applications close December 1.

Taylor Harrington


And finally … back in 1961, teenagers were doing (supposedly) the “Bristol Stomp.” Len Barry, lead singer of the Dovells — the band with that hit — died earlier this month, at 78. Four years later, he had another smash with “1-2-3.”

Remembering Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson — longtime executive director of the Westport Weston Family YMCA, and the man who over 40 years brought it from a small institution into one of the town’s most robust organizations — died Wednesday on Cape Cod. He was 91.

Amy Sanborn passed along the sad news — and a very in-depth piece from the Westport Y blog, in 2014. The Y at that time was still downtown, where Bedford Square is now. The story said:

Matt Johnson came to our Y in 1952 as a fresh-faced college grad from upstate Connecticut. He started as a supervisor of the Y’s youth and adult physical programs, taking on more responsibility over the following 2 decades. In 1970 he was named executive director, a position he filled with great accomplishment until his retirement in 1989. The longtime Weston resident remains an active part of our Y family to this day….

It’s safe to say that no other Y staffer presided over more change at our Y over more years than Matt Johnson. Matt was instrumental in bringing sports and recreational opportunities to Weston youth, efforts that ultimately led to our Y serving all our Weston neighbors as the “Westport/Weston YMCA.”

Matt Johnson (standing) with (from left) YMCA president George Dammon, CBS News anchor (and Weston resident) Douglas Edwards, and 1st Selectman John Kemish.

Matt also oversaw the greatest development of our Y facility since its opening a half-century before: the construction of the Weeks Pavilion in the 1970s, which gave our Y its Stauffer Pool, racquet courts, men’s and women’s health centers, locker rooms and an indoor track ….

Matt then laid the groundwork for the next phase of our Y’s evolution at our downtown facility: the conversion of the town’s central firehouse into a 2-level Fitness Center that to this day boasts the original brass pole used by generations of local firefighters.

After recalling Matt’s encounters with guest speaker Jackie Robinson, and Westport actors Bette Davis and Paul Newman (an avid YMCA badminton player), the story continues:

When hot-rodding became popular, the Y rolled right along. As Matt recalls, “Bill Etch, who was a volunteer leader, had an interest in cars and with some friends formed a club called the ‘Downshifters,’ which met every Friday at the Y.”

“When the club became too big for the Y rooms, they began to meet at Camp Mahackeno, where they set up shop in the unheated pavilion. There were 30 or so young men in the club, including a young Michael Douglas, and they’d take apart cars, put ‘em back together and then participate in regional events with their cars.”

Matt and his late wife Fran raised their 4 children in Weston, and were instrumental in helping develop the community’s recreation programs and establishing Weston’s enduring connection to our Y ,…

As far back as the 1950s, Y leaders realized the need for more space to hold its many popular programs and activities, and shortly after Matt took the helm of the Y in 1970, he helped spur the most ambitious expansion of the Y to date.

The most critical need at the time was, simply, “more water.” As you can see from photos of the time, Staples High School swimmers used the 4-lane, 20-yard long Brophy Pool (then 4- to 10-feet deep) as their home pool. Imagine the scraped chins, or worse!

The original Brophy pool — used by Staples High School for practices and home swim meets.

Matt helped coach the Staples team, including a young swimmer named Bob Knoebel. Another swimmer, Mike Krein, was instrumental in forming the Y’s Water Rat swim team, holding practices both in the Brophy Pool and, during summers in the ‘60s, at Longshore Club Park. At the time Longshore’s pool was saltwater, flushed regularly, but evidently not often enough. The Y’s swim team name derives from the trespassing rodents the kids would sometimes encounter during their early-morning swims.

The Y’a voard and volunteer leaders set a 5-year goal that included building a new facility with a larger pool….

The addition of the Stauffer Pool and Weeks Pavilion in 1977 (named for the retired geologist who was a major donor) was followed by the conversion in 1984 of the town’s central firehouse into the Y’s fitness center.

Matt Johnson (center) at a 2011 Westport Y function, flanked by (from left) then trustee chair Pete Wolgast and Jim Marpe, past Y trustee chair and now Westport First Selectman,

Longtime Y member Larry Aasen, who has known Matt since 1963, says, “For Matt, it wasn’t just about running the Y; it’s about serving the community. And whether his task was raising money for an expansion or doing the dishes after a potluck dinner, you could always count on him.”

Indeed, Matt Johnson has played a major role in building up our Y over the past 60 years. But more than that, he’s left his mark as a community builder – of Westport, Weston and of all the separate communities of swimmers, gymnasts and program participants that make our Y all that it is today.

(Click here to make contributions in Matt Johnson’s name, to the Westport Weston Family YMCA.)

The upper gym at the Westport YMCA was named for Matt Johnson in 1999.

Our Doughboy

Today is Veterans Day.

We celebrate November 11 because — 102 years ago today — World War I ended. The armistice took effect at 11 a.m., on 11/11.

Twelve years later — on November 11, 1930 — we dedicated our doughboy statue.

That was 5 years after the town voted to erect a monument to soldiers in “The Great War.” According to Woody Klein’s history of Westport, the commission was offered to Laura Gardin Fraser.

Yet her design — showing a bronze relief figure of Victory — did not meet the committee’s approval.

Three years later the Veterans of Foreign War and American Legion raised $10,000. They commissioned J. Clinton Shepherd, an illustrator, sculptor — and pilot — to memorialize a soldier from “the war to end all wars.”

The doughboy statue. (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Six months after Westport’s first-ever Memorial Day parade, the Doughboy was dedicated. But it was not at Veterans Green, across from what is now Town Hall (and was then Bedford Elementary School).

The original site was the grassy median on on the Post Road 2 miles east — across from what is now Shearwater Coffee, near the foot of Long Lots Road.

A crowd of 3,000 turned out for the dedication of the 20-ton statue. Governor John H. Trumbull was there, along with hundreds of veterans, and 7 bands. Children pulled ropes to unveil the statue.

The doughboy was moved to its present location in 1986. A formal re-dedication ceremony was held on Memorial Day 1988.

Jackopierce: “Young & Free”

In 1985, almost 4,000 people crowded into Longshore. They were excited to hear Hall & Oates. The duo — known for smash hits like “She’s Gone,” “Rich Girl” and “Private Eyes” — were about to perform, as part of Westport’s 150th anniversary celebration.

Except no one told Hall & Oates. A local nanny — claiming to represent the group — scammed the town.

Fortunately, the crowd got a bit of music. A local band called Pseudo Blue stepped on stage. It was their first paying gig.

Not bad for a bunch of Staples High School students.

Cary Pierce, in the Staples HIgh School 1987 yearbook.

Cary Pierce remembers that day well. He and his good friend — fellow rising junior Doug Dryburgh — were in Pseudo Blue.

The band did not last beyond graduation. But in his first year of college, Cary met Jack O’Neill. They formed their own duo: Jackopierce.

They shared stages with Dave Matthews, Counting Crows, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Matchbox Twenty and Widespread Panic. They performed in clubs and at colleges across America — and before 500,000 people at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Thirty years later, they’re still going strong. Jackopierce has just released a new single. “Young & Free (The 80s Song)” is an homage to growing up listening to Joan Jett, Joe Jackson, General Pub, Pretenders and Book of Love.

In fact, the song mentions 85 bands and singers — Flock, Till Tuesday, Talking Heads, Tears for Fears, Big Country, Devo, Smithereens. You name it, they’re there.

But it’s the first line that is of particular interest to “06880.”

Cary sings:

I remember lying on my bed
Borrowed guitar across my chest
Mean streets Westport, Connecticut
The New Wave running through my head

My sister dated drummer boy
Parents’ basement we made some noise
The Call, the stage, the lights, the girls
Who doesn’t want to rule the world?

Cary Pierce today. He has not changed much.

“Young and Free” channels Cary’s youth. For years, he and Jack have joked about growing up on the “mean” suburban streets. (Specifically Greens Farms, Cary notes.)

This might be the first time our town has been mentioned in a song since Pearl Bailey’s “I Caught Her in the Kitchen Playing Westport.”

Its influence on Cary is strong. It was here that he learned to play guitar and keyboard. At Staples, he and Dryburgh started an annual Band Bash that grew to include a dozen groups.

He listened to New Wave bands on WLIR. He watched the new sensation — MTV videos — at his friend Matt McClellan’s house.

Cary figured he’d go to a small New England college like Wesleyan. But, he says, “my guidance counselor had a better handle on my grades.” She suggested Southern Methodist University.

Cary had never been to Texas. But he fell in love with the Dallas school, and applied early decision. “It was the best decision I ever made,” he says.

He was involved in theater program and journalism. But his time there was most defined by his collaboration with Jack O’Neill, who he met in 1988, on one of his first days on campus.

They quickly learned covers of songs by the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, John Denver and James Taylor. They played fraternity and sorority dances, then branched out to colleges across Texas and Oklahoma.

Fans who heard them told friends and siblings. Soon Jackopierce was driving 9 hours to play at the University of Kansas, and flying to gigs at the University of Michigan. They’d sell 100 CDs, which paid for the trip.

Jackopierce, on stage.

Jackopierce’s first record — independently done — sold 45,000 copies. An attorney in Nashville got them a contract.

The label connected them with T Bone Burnett. The legendary producer (Los Lobos, Gregg Allman, Roy Orbison) helped move them from “earnest frat boys” to appearances on Rosie O’Donnell and Conan O’Brien, and stories in Rolling Stone.

Their first album with Burnett sold 100,000.

So did the second. Not seeing any growth, Cary says, “the label yawned.”

Management talked Jackopierce into a farewell tour. Jack moved to New York. He and Cary did not speak for 5 years.

“It was my first divorce,” Cary says. “I didn’t see it coming. It was painful. I learned a lot.”

Five years later, he went through an actual divorce. He felt “completely broken.” But then — providentially — Jackopierce reunited.

That was 2002. They’ve been together ever since.

Jack O’Neill (left) and Cary Pierce.

Jackopierce has devoted — even rabid — fans. They’re all across the country. Most don’t know Westport.

But Cary does.

“I have no idea if people there will be offended” by the winking “mean streets” reference, he says. He hopes not. He still loves the town.

“I had no idea what I had back then. It’s an incredibly beautiful, very privileged place. I had an old 14-foot Boston Whaler. I’d go from Longshore to Peter’s Bridge, get a sandwich, then head to Cockenoe. It was la la land.”

“Young & Free” has been released in “a strange time,” Cary says. COVID has canceled live shows. He and Jack are marketing it the old-fashioned way: grassroots, by themselves.

They’ve contacted all 85 artists mentioned in the song: Depeche Mode, Billy Bragg, Hooters, Toto, Blondie, Men at Work…

Now all of Westport can enjoy Cary Pierce’s musical trip down memory lane too.

“Young and Free (The 80’s Song) is available on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Pandora and Amazon Music. Click here for links.)

Arrivederci, Joe Arcudi!

Joe Arcudi was the only one of 7 siblings born at Norwalk Hospital.

Joe Arcudi

He was the youngest. His brothers and sisters were all born at home. “Home” was Saugatuck: the corner of Railroad Place and Charles Street. There’s a big, blotchy office building now. But in the mid-20th century, Joe’s family lived there — right next to his father’s butcher shop.

Joe’s parents’ goal was for all 7 children to graduate from college.

After Staples High School (Class of 1960), Joe headed to Fairfield University. His parents’ wish came true.

In 1973 he opened Arcudi’s restaurant. For the next 21 years — and again from 2009 to 2012 — his “square pizza” drew diners of all ages and stations to the small spot next to Carvel. (Today it’s Aux Delices.)

For many years he ran the Little League and Babe Ruth programs in town.

And — oh, yeah — from 1993 to ’97, Joe Arcudi was Westport’s 1st selectman.

He always thought he’d live in his hometown forever. But with his 5 children scattered all over the country, he’s moving on October 16.

That’s right: Joe Arcudi is moving from Westport.

And how about this? His new home will be Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

His son — and 3 of his 8 grandchildren — are there. He’ll be centrally located for all his kids, who are scattered around the country.

Including Joe’s daughter. She and her 12-year-old live here.

So don’t worry. Joe Arcudi will be back in Westport, every couple of months.

The Post Road restaurant.