Subscribe to ‘06880’ in a reader
Please support “06880” — thanks!
SEARCH THE “06880” ARCHIVES
06880+Community bulletin board: post your event, ask a question, lost-and-found -- anything! Just click on: 06880+
- Michael Calise on Remembering Gene Cedarbaum
- Gerald F. Romano, Jr. on Historical Society: Over 2 Years, Quiet Anger Grew
- Steven Halstead on Remembering Gene Cedarbaum
- John F. Suggs on Historical Society: Over 2 Years, Quiet Anger Grew
- Lynn Untermeyer Miller on Photo Challenge #264
- Photo Challenge #264
- Remembering Gene Cedarbaum
- Historical Society: Over 2 Years, Quiet Anger Grew
- Pic Of The Day #1006
- Vani Court Fire Victim Needs Clothes And More
- Free Tax Help Offered
- Pic Of The Day #1005
- Friday Flashback #176
- Staples Students Plan Afternoon Of Gun Violence Awareness
- Pic Of The Day #1004
Bored? Wander through ‘06880’
- Friday Flashback
- Local business
- Local politics
- Looking back
- Photo Challenge
- Pic of the Day
- Real estate
- Staples HS
- Street Spotlight
- Totally random
- Unsung Heroes
- Westport Country Playhouse
- Westport life
DISCLAIMERThis blog is personal opinion, and is not representative of the views of the Westport School District or Board of Education.
Category Archives: Totally random
Tomorrow’s print edition of the New York Times will carry a long, intriguing story about Faith Hope Consolo.
Contrary to years of self-description, the glamorous real estate broker did not follow her real estate executive father into the business. Her mother was not a child psychiatrist. Consolo did not attend Miss Porter’s School for Girls, nor did she earn a degree from Parsons Paris.
And she most definitely did not grow up in Westport.
Consolo fabricated nearly every fact about her life, beginning with her age (she was 73 when she died in late 2018, not 69) and her birth in Cleveland (not Shaker Heights, Ohio).
But these 2 paragraphs attracted the attention of alert “06880” reader Heather Grahame, who definitely did grow up here:
She also claimed that she moved to the tony suburb of Westport, Conn., as a young girl, but she really grew up on a dead-end street in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
Ms. Consolo’s longtime friends and colleagues never knew the truth, including Joseph Aquino, Ms. Consolo’s business partner for 26 years. “I remember once we were together in Westport, and I was all excited for her to show me the house where she grew up,” Mr. Aquino said. “But she got really vague and seemed sad, so I just dropped it, figuring she didn’t want to talk about it.”
I posted a story about her death a year ago, on “06880.” I asked anyone with a memory of her to share it. There were comments — but only one person thought she remembered her. Another woman mentioned their time together in Brooklyn.
This weekend’s Times piece is a sad story about an allegedly glamorous figure — one who felt she had to obscure her past, in order to be accepted by Manhattan’s elite.
But just think: Of all the places she could have pretended to have grown up, she chose Westport, Connecticut.
Real-life realtors here must be very impressed.
(Click here to read the full New York Times story.)
Alert “06880” reader Robin Moyer Chung is the editor/writer for Westport Lifestyle magazine, and a lyricist, book writer and blogger. Her musical, “The Top Job,” is produced around the world.
She and her family recently had a profound adventure. She writes:
Crossing Thresholds is an organization that works with local leaders to create 3 schools in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, and a high school north of the city. They also organize trips to educate volunteers, who build and maintain these schools and interact with the students.
I was ambivalent about writing about our trip. I knew people might accuse me of virtue-signaling, slum tourism, or voluntourism. But I’m okay with that. Call it whatever you’d like, just please keep reading. These are stories that need to be told no matter how we label them.
My only real hesitation was traveling halfway around the world for philanthropic purposes instead of focusing on vicinal needs. But a story about the Masai tribe reminded me that we’re all citizens of the world, and geography should not dictate our charity.
Kibera is roughly the size of Central Park, yet home to an estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million disenfranchised nationals. The government doesn’t “recognize” this rancid bit of land: they provide no electricity, water, sewage or police protection for residents.
Watching my children follow an armed guard down an uneven alley, cautiously stepping over rivulets of trash and sewage, brought the inhumane conditions into sharp focus. I thought images in movies and magazines had inured me to slums; I was wrong. The real brutality of poverty is a slap in the face.
Yet within these hellish few miles, punctured with disappointment, clogged with desperation for survival, flickers an inexplicable hope. What tinders this hope is beyond Western reason. But there it is.
As a group we painted classrooms, scrubbed floors, carried firewall bricks, managed art projects, taught students games, and surrounded ourselves with dozens of children who craved our attention and affection. Every evening we returned to the hotel spent, hot and dusty.
Visiting a home in which these children live is an important part of the trip, to understand how poverty informs their lives and development. My oldest son requested that, after the visit, I not deliver a parental soliloquy about how lucky we are relative to these Kenyans. How he intuited my plan, I have no idea. But I relented.
This home is the size of 2 parking spots, typical for families of 7 or more. We crammed in. The renter, a woman, held her infant and told us she has 3 more children, but no husband.
Her home was full, with only a sofa nailed from wood planks, a chipped coffee table, and one mattress. Thin floral sheets hung from the ceiling and covered the sofa, masking the rusting metal walls and cheap wood.
Her “kitchen” was a brazier, a pot, and a few plastic dishes on a shelf. When she has money she makes gruel of flour. water and maybe a few vegetables. When she doesn’t have money, they don’t eat.
It’s not unusual for a single mother to pour alcohol into her baby’s bottle so they sleep all day. Then the mother leaves home to find day work. If she works she can buy food; they may both survive. If she doesn’t, mother and child starve. Statistically, girls sell their bodies at age 14 to earn money.
We left the home quietly, shaken by her life and surroundings. No motherly monologue necessary.
But like I said, they have hope. They believe, despite living among dunes of rotting trash, that life will uptick. Even in the filthiest reaches of the slum, residents keep their clothes clean and fix their hair. They smile, greet us with Christian blessings and name their children Grace, Joy, and Sunshine.
Slum residents are primarily descendants of Kenya’s many tribes. One of the largest is the Masai. Carter related a story of his friend Shani Yusef, a tribe elder:
Masai are famously resistant to modernization. Many live on earth too worn to yield significant vegetation. They work hard, beading jewelry and carving sculpture for tourists while raising herds of thin cows which are their currency.
Given their scant finances and isolation, Shani is one of the few Masai who has access to international news. On September 11, 2001, he was horrified to learn of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, a place he had only read about.
Shani gathered the Masai elders. After a few days of meetings, to help the people in a city few of them had heard of and none of them had seen, they decided to donate 100 of their cows, or roughly 30% of their wealth.
One hundred cows.
Raymond Lewis died in 2001. He was just 24 years old.
I don’t know him. Nor do many other Westporters.
But today, plenty of people are talking about him.
The other day, a headstone appeared outside 1 Main Street. That’s the entrance to PoP’TArt, a pop-up gallery in the space previously occupied by Calypso. For many years it was a small spot outside the original Westport Public Library, at the foot of the Post Road. In the 1960s, when it was a favorite place for scruffy teenagers who (supposedly) used and sold drugs, it was called Needle Park.
Now it looks like Raymond Lewis’ final resting place.
Except it probably isn’t, of course.
No one knows when or how the headstone appeared.
No one — at least, no one I’ve talked to — knows who Raymond Lewis is either.
If you have any information on this mystery, click “Comments” below.
(Hat tips: Mary Palmieri Gai and Frank Rosen)
As Westport prepares for heavy rain and possible thunderstorms tonight — with coastal flooding and shoreline impacts from midnight through 4 a.m. — alert “06880” reader JP Vellotti forwarded this text:
His only comment: “Kinda ironic.”
It’s not a very good one, is it?
I have no idea what an Ovni Semi-Nuevo is.
Google — which knows everything — was no help. In either English or Spanish.
So I certainly have no clue whether it’s worth $125 million or not.
But I’ll keep an eye out for it. If I see it around town, I’ll let you know.
PS: Interesting, huh, that this is posted on the 50th anniversary of the day men walked on the moon. Cue Rod Serling…