Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

Roundup: Mothers Day, Choral Concert, LGBTQ History …

Today — Mothers Day — 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker mourns the loss of her mother, who died last week. Jen writes:

“Today we celebrated the life of Kathleen (Grandmom) Salmon.

“She was fiercely independent, but never wanted to be without the love of her life, Bob, who passed away 16 months ago.

“She was a trailblazer, balancing family and a full-time career when few were doing so.

“She retired at 70, having spent the previous 2 1/2 years in Qatar doing ground-breaking work for women in education.

“Mom loved and supported her daughters beyond words, ensuring they knew the world was their oyster and there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish.

“Grandmom was in awe of her 5 beautiful grandchildren, and loved them unconditionally. At the drop of a hat, she would arrive to run the household and spoil her grandkids.

“Kathy was a woman of deep faith. We know we have a guardian angel, who is singing “You are My Sunshine” for us every day. We miss her terribly, but feel so lucky she spent her last years here in Westport.”

Happy Mothers Day to all! Huge hugs.

From left: Jen Tooker, her mother Kathleen Salmon and sister Shawna Saussus.


Longtime “06880” reader Fred Cantor offers this tribute his mother — and all the others out there:

“My mom should perhaps be recognized as one of the first soccer moms. And I say that in a very positive way.

“About to turn 96, she is — and always has been — a big sports fan, despite growing up in an era when girls had far fewer opportunities to participate in sports.

“So when Marc started playing soccer at Staples, she and my dad (also a huge sports fan) came to watch virtually all of the games, and naturally brought me along. That sparked my interest in soccer and led me, as a 6th grader, to aspire to play Staples varsity soccer down the road.

“This happened at a time when very few parents watched those Staples soccer games on the Hill.

“My mom and dad were always very supportive of our athletic endeavors, but not in a way that pushed Marc and me in any particular direction. We both had the good fortune of playing soccer at the college level. My mom’s encouragement (and my dad’s) played a role in that.

“So as we celebrate Mothers Day (and also my mom’s 96th birthday), here’s a big thank you to her — and to all the soccer moms who have been supportive over the years.”

From left: Marc, Pearl and Fred Cantor. The “boys” are wearing their University of Massachusetts and Yale soccer hats, respectively.


Mothers Day, Part 2. Hunter Jones Hampton posted a 1948 Saturday Evening Post cover on Facebook:

He explained that the illustrator, noted Westporter Stevan Dohanos, sketched it using a US Camera magazine cover shot of Hunter’s mother, for his model.

The 2 sign painter models were also Westporters: Joshua Sidebottom and his son.

The Saturday Evening Post noted: “Dohanos is spending the winter in Connecticut, while luckier wights vacation in the palm-tree and bathing-beauty latitudes.”


Friday night’s choral concert — filled with contemporary music selected by Staples High School students — ended on an emotional note.

The 22 graduating seniors honored director and mentor Luke Rosenberg with a special song: “Underneath the Stars.” Sophia Betit organized her classmates, and conducted the piece. She and James Dobin-Smith soloed — and also received the National Choral School Award for their contributions to the Staples music program.


Westport salutes Pride Month in June with a celebration on Jesup Green rally, a drag show at MoCA, the presentation of a scholarship, and the newest initiative: an oral history project.

Westport Pride — the town-wide LGBTQ+ and allies group — has partnered with the Westport Museum for History & Culture. The museum’s mission is to “make history whole,” including a focus on marginalized groups.

Area residents can book a time slot for a video interview at the Westport Museum. Officials hope for a diverse range of ages and experiences.

Interviews will be housed in the museum’s digital archive. Each one will be accompanied by a transcript.

For more information or to sign up, email cmenard@westporthistory.org.


At last! Westport’s long wait for another nail salon will soon be over.

The oddly named Nail Factory is set to move into the vacant space next to CVS.


(Photo/Molly Alger)


“Lux Freer” — Triple Threat Academy’s indie film shot last summer in Westport, directed by Staples High School graduate Cynthia Gibb, and featuring 20 Westporters in main roles and more as extras — will screen at the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival on Saturday (May 20). The “Provocative Shorts” program begins at 2:30 p.m. Click here for more information, and tickets.


There’s a new addition to the Westport Community Gardens.

Lou Weinberg sends this photo of a killdeer nesting in a raised bed.

“The largest of the ringed plovers, it performs the broken-wing display to distract intruders away from nests and chicks,” he explains. “So far, so good!”

Gardeners wait excitedly for the eggs to hatch.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)


And finally … Fred Cantor wrote a great tribute to his mother (story above). BJ Thomas did it musically — and included, as Fred did, a mention of her support from the sports sidelines.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog — today and every day. We’re a non-profit, so contributions are tax-deductible. Please click here to help. Thank you!)

Roundup: American Song Contest, Ukraine Concert, Late Mothers Day …

Connecticut has made it to the finals of tonight’s “American Song Contest.”

Actually, Michael Bolton has.

The Westport resident — representing the state — is in tonight’s NBC finale. The show is based on the wildly popular Eurovision, and includes representatives from all 50 states, plus Washington DC and 5 territories. There are 10 finalists.

Good luck, to one of the real good guys in the music world! (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

Screenshot from the “American Song Contest” website.


Tenor Craig Gillespie — a Westport resident, and son of Jim Gillespie for whom the town’s men’s shelter is named — is among the local musicians offering a mix of Broadway, American songbook, jazz, reggae, traditional Irish, spiritual, country, classical and opera songs, in a “celebrate spring/raise money for Ukraine” concert.

The event is Sunday, May 22 (Southport Congregational Church, 3 p.m.). It’s free, but donations to Save the Children’s Ukraine Project are requested.

Southport Congregational Church


An update on the closure of Riverside Avenue near the train station, for paving: It’s now scheduled for Wednesday (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Thursday (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.).


We missed this photo yesterday. But we don’t want to wait till next Mothers Day to run it.

Here was one tribute, on Post Road West:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)


The rainy weather last week diverted our attention from our usual spring beauty.

But Claudia Sherwood Servidio found inspiration in these “Westport … Naturally” Richmondville Avenue petals.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … Mickey Gilley died on Saturday in Branson, Missouri. He was 86.

He had 34 country Top 10 hits. But he was best known as the owner of a huge bar near Houston that became synonymous with country music. Gilley’s had a mechanical bull, and was the location for much of the famed “Urban Cowboy” movie.

Buried in the New York Times’ obituary: He was a cousin of both Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.

Roundup: Sustainable Westport, Mothers Day Pig …

Earlier today, “06880” featured musician/Westporter Sophie B. Hawkins’ experience with food scrap recycling. (Spoiler alert: She’s passionate about it.)

That’s one Sustainable Westport initiative. There are many more. And you can check them out at the organization’s newly redesigned website.

It highlights news, events and action items. There are resources for reducing carbon footprints for residents as well as businesses, in areas like energy, transportation, landscaping and purchasing, plus information on social equity and sustainability.

There are links too to the Zero Food Waste Challenge, Restaurant Certification program, and Green Building Awards.

Click here for the website, then dive in.


WordPress’ new formatting means that for some “06880” readers, photos are elongated. For others, the print is smaller than before.

I didn’t make the change, and I can’t fix it. But here’s a pro tip: Click on the headline of any “06880.” It should magically appear in the correct format.

I’m sorry you need to take that extra step. But I hope it helps.

Elongated photos, this morning (courtesy of Jack Backiel)


Jolantha — Weston’s favorite pig — wishes a happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there.

She just hopes you don’t have ham for dinner.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)


The weather has been a bit un-May-like. But on a rare nice day recently, June Rose Whittaker captured this “Westport … Naturally” image at the Longshore golf course 7th hole.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)


And finally … one more Mothers Day wish, this one from “06880”!


Pic Of The Day #1483

Happy Mother’s Day! (Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

The Mother Of All Diapers

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today we honor all our mothers — those who are here and those who are gone. Our own, our mothers’ mothers, and those unrelated by blood but whom we love nonetheless.

This being “06880” — where Westport meets the world — we give a special shout-out to Marion Donovan.

Marion Donovan

An Indiana native and 1939 graduate of Rosemont College near Philadelphia, she became an assistant Vogue beauty editor in New York. But after marrying James Donovan — a leather importer — and starting a family, the Donovans moved to Westport.

She was not a typical early-postwar suburban housewife. Though she majored in English literature, she inherited her father’s tinkering gene. He helped invent the South Bend lathe, a major metalworking innovation.

His daughter’s invention was — in many ways — just as important.

When her 2nd child was born in 1946, Donovan grew tired of constant diaper changes. As the New York Times reports:

With cloth diapers serving more as wick than sponge, and with rubber baby pants virtually assuring a nasty case of diaper rash, Mrs. Donovan started looking for a way to hold the dampness in without keeping the air out.

Which is how moisture-proof diapers were created.

In Westport.

Marion Donovan, with a baby modeling her invention.

The “aha!” moment came when she cut a panel out of her shower curtain. It took 3 years of experimenting at her sewing machine, but eventually Donovan devised the Boater, “a re-usable diaper cover made of surplus nylon parachute cloth.”

The Times notes another important “advance in diaper technology”: Donovan replaced “the optimistically named safety pins with plastic snaps.”

The diapers — sold first at Saks Fifth Avenue in 1949 — were an immediate hit. In 1951 she sold her rights for $1 million, and “moved on to her next brainstorm: replacing cloth diapers with disposable absorbent paper.”

However, paper company executives — all men — told her that disposable diapers were “not necessary.”

A decade later, Donovan’s idea finally led to Pampers (they’re credited to Procter & Gamble, and a guy named Victor Mills). By then, Donovan’s “diaper days were over.”

She’d moved on to other inventions, including a hanger that holds 30 skirts or slacks in a tight space; a wire soap holder that drains directly into the basin; an elastic zipper allowing women to zip up the back of a dress by pulling down from the front, and the Dentaloop (it prevents floss users from cutting off circulation in their fingers).

Not all those inventions were made in Westport. At some point she moved to Greenwich — where Donovan, who (of course!) earned an architecture degree from Yale at age 41, designed her own house.

She received 20 patents, between 1951 and 1996. Donovan died in 1998, at 81. In 2015, she was inducted posthumously into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Marion Donovan’s diaper patent. Filed in 1949, it was granted in 1951.

Her name is not well known. To the best of my knowledge, her inventions have never been honored in the town where she once lived and worked.

But on this — and every other — day, mothers (and fathers) should thank Marion Donovan.

Moisture-proof diapers are nothing to pooh-pooh.

(Special Mother’s Day hat tip to Maxine Bleiweis. For Marion Donovan’s full  New York Times obituary, click here. )


Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

Everyone’s got one.

So today the “06880” community honors our mothers. Whether yours is still around or long gone; whether she takes care of you or you take care of her; whether she’s always lived in Westport or just comes to visit — it doesn’t matter.

Click “Comments,” and let the world know all about your mom.

Here’s my contribution:

Here’s to Jo Woog. You no longer play tennis, but at 86 there’s little else you don’t do. You still play piano, have an active social life with a great group of Westport friends, and take care of the house I grew up in.

Jo Woog (Photo by Susan Woog Wagner)

Jo Woog (Photo by Susan Woog Wagner)

Around town, people always say, “I saw your mother the other day. She looks great. And what a personality!”

They’re right! I’m glad we share the same town. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Here’s to many more!