Tag Archives: Helen Keller

Friday Flashback #138

One of my earliest childhood memories — I  was just 3 or 4 — is from a grocery store on Main Street.

My mother leaned down, pointed to a woman standing nearby and said, “Danny, remember this. That’s Helen Keller.”

Helen Keller

It’s an urban (suburban) myth that Helen Keller lived in Westport. Her house — “Arcan Ridge” — was actually on Redding Road in Easton, near the corner of Route 136.

But 136 is called also called Westport Road in Easton. And when the remarkable deaf-blind author, political activist and lecturer died in 1968, at 87, the New York Times datelined the story “Westport, Conn.” — and said she died “in her home here.” (Click here to see.)

That error was picked up by publications around the world. It persists today.

Helen Keller moved to Easton in 1936. But she had a Westport post office box. And — as my long-ago memory attests, and those of other longtime residents affirm — she and her companions did much of their shopping here.

Staples High School Class of 1965 member Jack Backiel has a special connection. His aunt relative Agnes Pazdan took care of Helen Keller.

And in 1944, she signed her autobiography The World I Live In to her this way:

(Do you have a Helen Keller memory? Click “Comments” below.)

The Helen Keller Connection

Today is the 45th anniversary of Helen Keller’s death.

What makes the date “06880”-worthy is that the author, political activist and lecturer — who overcame deafness and blindess to inspire the world — died quietly on June 1, 1968 in her Westport home. (Or not — see comments below.) She was 87 years old.

I have a dim memory of my mother pointing her out to me, in a Main Street grocery store. I wish I had been old enough to understand the significance of all she accomplished — and perhaps to have shook her hand.

Helen Keller

Helen Keller

(Thanks to alert reader John Suggs, for passing along the date.)