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DISCLAIMERThis blog is personal opinion, and is not representative of the views of the Westport School District or Board of Education.
Our 1st-ever “4-fer” Photo Challenge showed a quartet of ads. All were shot in the 1950s and ’60s by photographer Bill Bell — longtime Westporter Bobbi Liepolt’s father — for the Dunbar furniture campaign. (Click here to see.)
The photos showed, in order:
- Kathleen Laycock School on Beachside Avenue (now Greens Farms Academy)
- Fairfield County Hunt Club
- Nyala Farm, off Greens Farms Road
- The Stony Point home of Leopold Godowsky (a concert violinist who helped develop Kodacolor and Ektachrome) and his wife, Frankie Gershwin (George and Ira’s younger sister, and a noted painter).
The first 3 sites are all still in Westport, in more or less the same condition (despite, in Nyala Farms’ case, the construction of a massive office building for Stauffer Chemicals’ world headquarters).
The Godowsky home was torn down in 2009, to make way for a larger, more modern home.
No one got all 4 right. The school was the easiest; Andrew Colabella, Dana Brownell, Barbara Sherburne, Rick Leonard and Bob Grant all quickly identified the iconic, Ivy League-looking main building.
The Hunt Club seemed to be the second easiest. Fred Cantor and Rick Leonard got that one.
It took a while to identify Nyala Farm and Stony Point — but Evan Stein got ’em both. Congrats to all!
This week, we “welcome” old and new readers with this Photo Challenge:
If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.
An alert “06880” reader/Westport resident/suffering commuter writes:
This is a special place to live. Westport offers a top-notch school system; quality restaurants; Compo Beach with its wide shoreline, expansive sports courts, skate park and barbecue pits; Longshore with a waterfront restaurant, golf course, swimming pools, racquet courts and sailing school; downtown’s dozens of shops and restaurants; Levitt Pavilion; Wakeman Town Farm … I could keep going, but you get the idea.
All of those reasons, and more, are why people move to Westport.
Why wouldn’t they move here?
If they work in New York: the commute.
For the most part, train time can be very productive and relaxing. Commuters unwind after a long day. They can nap, watch Netflix, read a good book, pretend it’s Happy Hour and have a drink or 3 with friends, or try to be productive and crank out some work.
However, there is a need for train etiquette. Years spent on Metro-North with 1,000 of my closest friends has exposed me to many atrocities. Among them:
The Eater. There’s no rule against eating, and late night trains are filled with commuters and theatre/concert/sports goers with food. But there is an unwritten rule against bringing food onto commuter (before 10 a.m., and 4-7 p.m.) trains. A few folks break the morning rule, usually with something benign (bananas, muffins, yogurt). On the evening commute, everyone is starving. There’s nothing worse than food on a peak train, especially when sushi with wasabi and soy sauce permeates the entire car.
The Seat Hog. You know who you are. You put your bag down, don’t make eye contact with anyone getting on, and when someone finally asks you to get up to sit down you grumble and take your time, hoping the person goes elsewhere or stands. I take pleasure in going for that seat, knowing how much it irritates you.
The Sniffler. No one wants to hear you sniffle the entire trip. There’s this wonderful invention: tissues. They’re not expensive. Throw a few in your pocket if you’re not feeling well. Better yet: Stay home.
The DJ. No one wants to hear your music. Turn it down. You’ll help the rest of us — and you won’t go deaf yourself.
The Phone Chimer. Turn the sound off. Sure, getting a text is exciting. But you don’t need to inform your fellow passengers how popular you are. There’s a vibrate option. Use it.
The Relaxer. Don’t put your feet on the seat. No one wants to sit there. And for the love of God, don’t take your shoes off.
The Newspaper Reader. No need to loudly crinkle and fold every page. Who reads an actual newspaper these days anyway? There’s an Apple Store right in Grand Central. Check out the wonderful electronics.
The Nail Clipper. No, you are not in your bathroom. Enough said.
The “My Job is More Important Than Yours” Person. The worst part of the commute may be the slow walk along the platform into Grand Central. Cutting in front of people will only save you a few seconds. Sit in the first car — or just get in line with the rest of us.
Does that cover it? Or has our commuter commentator missed anyone? If so, click “Comments” below.
America can put a man on the moon.*
We can send a rocket the size of a Mini Cooper to a rock only a few inches larger, then send signals back to earth across 4.1 billion miles of space.
But we can’t stop Kevin the Power Washer from leaving dozens of messages, day after day, on my phone.
He’s not the only one.
A “police group” — definitely not affiliated with the Westport Police Department — calls often, pleading for money.
So does some guy in India, breathlessly informing me that my computer has a deadly virus and if I don’t act now I could loss all my data — and worse!!!!!!
I signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry when it was first introduced, in 2003. I might as well have signed up for the National Suckers Registry.
Today there are 230 million numbers on it. Yet the Federal Trade Commission gets 19,000 complaints from people who have been called.
That’s 19,000 complaints a day.
Calls come in on my landline. On my cellphone — a whole other level of illegality. If I got messages through the fillings in my teeth, they’d probably come that way too.
Several “06880” readers have asked for advice about this scourge. Unfortunately, that’s out of my lane.
I can alert you to upcoming 81-unit apartment complexes. I can provide a forum to discuss everything from beach bathrooms to medical marijuana dispensaries. But I can’t do jack about Kevin the Power Washer.
However, maybe you can.
Our “06880” online community contains some very smart folks. Collectively, our wisdom is broad and wide.
So here’s my request:
If you know how to stop the epidemic of telemarketers, click “Comments” below.
You’ll earn the eternal gratitude of all of us.
Except Kevin the Power Washer, that fraudulent police fundraiser, and some dude in India who says my computer will dkaidfu&dks@bkzk#%ksa …. aaaaaaargh!
*Okay, that was 50 years ago. But still…
Saugatuck Shores has been in the news recently.
A new bridge turned out nicely. New guardrails nearby did not.
For months, a boat has been beached just off Harbor Road.
And whenever there’s an astronomical high tide or just a bigger-than-usual weather event, the area floods.
Saugatuck Shores is one of Westport’s most coveted neighborhoods — with real estate prices to match.
That status has come recently. For decades it was a just funky, quirky beachside community.
And — as this 1963 aerial photo shows — there was plenty of room to build.
Darcy Sledge has lived in Westport for 30 years. She is active in several organizations — most importantly for this story, the Westport Garden Club and University of Connecticut invasive plant working group. Darcy writes:
This is the perfect time of year to check the health of your trees and shrubs.
Many trees are being smothered by invasive vines — often right under our noses.
I took a few photos in Greens Farms right before New Year’s, to show a few examples.
This is the entrance of a beautiful estate, with stone wall gates. In the foreground you see gorgeous pines. In the background, you see the same type of trees completely smothered in vines.
Vines weaken trees and shrubs. When weakened, they are the first to fall in a storm. The result is power outages, property damage and injuries.
When leaves are out, vines are hard to see. It’s easier to see them now.
I’ve gotten rid of my vines by cutting them at ground level, then cutting them again at head level. The dead ones hang in the branches, but eventually fall off.
Here’s what they look like:
You have to watch for new growth, and cut it every time. Eventually though, you get rid of the vines.
Even thick ones (called Asiatic bittersweet) can be cut with a lopper. I did it often in Winslow Park, and earned the nickname Cyndi Lopper.
Invasive vines are a rampant problem throughout the US — especially in Connecticut.
We will lose our beautiful trees and shrubs if we don’t work on getting rid of invasives. The town and state can do only so much. People need to walk their own properties on nice winter days. You may get an unhappy surprise. Landscapers may not even notice or identify owners about vines.
We talk about Westport’s changing streetscape, properties being torn down, and lovely trees being cut for new construction.
Yet our own trees may be slowly dying.