Tag Archives: Old Mill Beach

COVID-19 Roundup: Arlen Road Neighbors; Old Mill Parking Lot Closed; “Distance Learning” Help For Parents; Driving School Open; More

Jack Washburn turns 90 years old today. Family had planned to come from around the country to celebrate.

Now of course, they can’t. That’s just one of countless small side effects of the coronavirus.

But Jack’s milestone will not go unnoticed. Just before noon, he and his wife got a joyful surprise.

His Arlen Road neighbors — adults and kids — gathered on the front lawn. Spaced appropriately apart, they sang “Happy Birthday.”

The provided lunch and cake (and wine).

Then they strung a line on the porch, where they hung birthday cards they’d all made. That way he could look at them, without touching.

Speaking of touching: This is Westport at its best!

Washburn 90th

Many Westporters have offered to donate items during the coronavirus crisis.

Town officials say, “The unique circumstances and complications due to potential virus transmission, including the time needed to quarantine donations and equipment, require detailed coordination. Items that do not assist with the response and recovery cannot be accepted.”

Westport is accepting the following response and recovery donations at your curb by appointment, between 9 a.m. and 12 noon only:

  • Plastic face shields and goggles
  • Packaged medical masks
  • Packaged N-95 masks
  • Packaged medical head coverings
  • Packaged medical gowns
  • Tyvek suits
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Packaged Nitrile or nylon disposable gloves

Items that are not pre-packaged cannot be accepted.

Click here to fill out a brief form. You will be contacted to set up a time for curbside pickup.

And, officials emphasize: Do not drop off donations at town buildings!

Old Mill Beach has joined the list of parking lots closed to visitors. Compo Beach and Burying Hill had previously been closed.

Sherwood Island State Park remains open. So do the 44 trailed preserves operated by Aspetuck Land Trust.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

Distance learning has begun. Students are adapting well. Parents — well…

Successful Study Skills for Students — a local organization — is offering a 30-minute interactive seminar: “8 Ways to Keep Your Student Focused, On Track and On Task in the New E-learning Environment.”

Delivered via Zoom, it helps parents learn how to establish and maintain accountability, and help minimize distractions and reduce stress.

Sessions are Tuesday, March 31 and Thursday, April 2 (7 p.m.) and Wednesday, April 1 (10 a.m.).

It’s free, but registration is required. Each seminar is limited to 25 people. Click here to enroll. For more information, call 203-307-5455 or email info@S4StudySkills.com.

Inspired by Wednesday’s “06880 Pic of the Day” showing a heart in a mailbox with the message “Smile!”, the Theisinger family decided to do something similar for the people who help them.

Youngsters Grant and Blair put on gloves, and packed up treat bags. They printed out messages of thanks, and left them for their mail carrier, UPS deliverer and refuse collector.

“Just a small token to show our gratitude!” says their mom, Kristy. “We 💜 Westport!”

When Governor Lamont ordered many businesses shut, driving schools were among those hit.

Now, however, the Department of Motor Vehicles has allowed them to offer something previously prohibited: online classes. (Schools must meet certain guidelines for testing and attendance tracking.)

Westport’s Fresh Green Light begins soon. The schedule will closely mirror the existing one of after-school hours and weekends.

Classes are open to all current students, and new enrollments (16 and older). Click here for details.

So how did Jim and Nancy Eckl celebrate their 37th wedding anniversary?

They donned masks and gloves, and served their loyal, beloved customers at Gold’s.

Finally, today’s Song of the Day comes via the great Suzanne Sherman Propp, and her Sing Daily! project that brightens hundreds of Westporters’ days:


A Wonderful Wedding: The Sequel

This morning’s story about Friday’s Old Mill Beach wedding brought a smile to many readers’ faces.

But Steven Rawlings and Reka Reisinger’s ceremony was not the only marriage people were talking about that day.

The officiant was Justice of the Peace Wally Meyer. He’s a longtime resident of Old Mill.

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed Wally’s home. He had lived there for decades with Joan Beauvais. Both moved in next door, with noted artist and Staples High School Class of 1962 graduate Clark Hanford.

Wally Meyer and Joan Beauvais, in the 1990s.

Actually, Wally and Joan were more than friends.

At the end of Friday’s wedding ceremony, Wally added an unexpected twist. He asked — sweetly, emotionally and lovingly — Joan to marry him.

Yesterday, Joan said yes.

Now Isaac and Ellen Sonsino — the neighbors who did an amazing job helping arrange Steven and Reka’s wedding — are doing the same for Wally and Joan.

It’s tentatively planned — very soon — at Old Mill.

The entire “06880” community — online and here in town — congratulates Wally and Joan, and wishes them all the best.

And this is probably as good a place as any to add one final bit of news: Wally is still going strong, as sharp as ever, at 92 years old.

In Dark Days, A Wonderful Wedding

The weather was not great. The mood of the country was worse.

But love endures.

This past Friday — in the midst of a frightening pandemic — Steven Rawlings and Reka Reisinger got married on Old Mill Beach.

The plan had been to wed on June 27, in upstate New York. But with so much uncertainty about the future, the couple decided to make it official now.

They did not want to get a license at still-crowded City Hall in Manhattan, where they live. Steven is an attorney with the SEC; Reka’s a photographer, and sells and restores pianos in her family business.

So they enlisted the help of their Compo Cove friends Isaac and Ellen Sonsino.

Their daughter Genevieve is a close, longtime friend of Reka’s. Reka’s dad has passed away, so she’d already asked Isaac to walk her down the aisle in June.

Amazingly, the Sonsinos’ next door neighbor at Old Mill Beach — 92-year-old Wally Meyer — is a justice of the peace.

Also amazingly, his housemate Clark Hanford does costume work. He said he’d alter any of 3 gowns. Reka decided to wear a traditional Hungarian dress, but that offer epitomized the amazing spirit of the wedding.

Reka Reisinger in a traditional Hungarian wedding dress, and Steven Rawlings in traditional tails. (Photo/Ellen Sonsino)

Isaac contacted Westport Town Hall. Officials promised to make arrangements online. When the license was completed, Isaac met a woman from the town clerk’s office in the back parking lot. Wearing gloves — and keeping her distance — she placed it on a picnic table, for him to pick up.

On Friday — just 24 hours after planning began — Steven and Reka were wed.

Wally Meyer prepares to marry Steven and Reka. (Photo/Ellen Sonsino)

Fewer than a dozen people were present: Steve’s parents, Robert and Ronnie; Reka’s mother Klara and her partner Rob Botti; the 3 Sonsinos, and 2 close friends of Steve’s rearranged their schedule on a few hours’ notice to attend.

A self-distancing selfie: Steven and friends.

Robin Tauck — an Old Mill neighbor — happened to wander by too. She couldn’t resist!

All kept an appropriate social distance, as Meyer led the vows with grace and joy.

(Photo/Robin Tauck)

There was lovely oboe music, courtesy of Bach and Botti. Amazingly (again!), Reka’s mother’s partner plays with the New York Philharmonic.

The New York Philharmonic played at Steven and Reka’s wedding. (Photo/Ellen Sonsino)

There were Champagne toasts. A cake too, of course. And of course, everyone ate it carefully, one at a time.

Reka’s mother Klara toasts the happy couple. (Photo/Ellen Sonsino)

“It’s a wonderful way to start life,” Steven says. It’s poignant in another way, besides taking place amid a pandemic. Friday marked 6 years to the day that Reka’s father had died.

An elbow bump for the justice of the peace.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds took a walk on the beach. They were heartened to see other people enjoying the water — all at a safe distance from one another.

They’re spending their honeymoon at the Delamar in Southport. Everyone there has been great, Reka says.

And the restaurant is open for takeout.

(Photos/Robin Tauck)

(Photo/Steven Rawlings)

(Video courtesy of Genevieve Sonsino)

Pics Of The Day #1066

Westport copes with the coronavirus …

Solitude at Grace Salmon Park (Photo/Jo Shields)

Empty parking lots on a weekday downtown … (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

… at the train station, and on I-95 (Drone photo/Patrick Sikes)

The message has gotten through. Teenagers stay in their cars, practicing social distancing — but hang out together at Longshore. 

A mid-March late afternoon dip at Old Mill Beach (Photo/Robin Tauck)

Lindsay Blaivas, her daughter Kenzie and dog Ruby went for a neighborhood walk. Along the way, they left some messages. “Getting creative and staying connected!” Lindsay says.  Here’s one.

Two weeks ago, you’d say “huh?” Now you say, “Where’d you get it?!” (Photo/Darcy Hicks)

Santa Claus comes early to Stop & Shop (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Pics Of The Day #1038

Beaches and water in winter, by drone — thank you, Brandon Malin!

Cockenoe Island

Compo Beach

Old Mill Beach and Compo Cove

Burying Hill Beach (Drone photos/Brandon Malin)

Photo Challenge #264

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: “06880” readers are good.

I was sure that last week’s Photo Challenge would stump almost everyone. Susan Ross’ image showed a flip-flop, tea cup, cameo jewelry, and random other, less identifiable objects. (Click here for the photo.)

It was colorful. But how could anyone identify it?

Almost immediately, Seth Schachter did.

He was followed, rapid-fire, by Jennifer Kobetitsch, Betsy Kahn, Sarah Halevi, India Penney, Julie McMahon, Tina Green, Luke Garvey, Michelle Vitulich, Leslie Petersen, Polly Temple, Darcy Sledge and J. Seideman.

All nailed it: The mosaic surrounding one of the parking garages behind the houses on Old Mill Beach. It’s just to the left of the first footbridge heading to Compo Cove.

I know the bridges and walking paths between Sherwood Mill Pond and Long Island Sound are a popular — if hidden — Westport gem.

But the parking garages are off to the side, little noticed, even obscure. And the mosaic is at the end of the lot. Most people’s attention is focused on the water.

At least, that’s what I thought.

Congratulations to our eagle-eyed readers. A special shout-out to Betsy Kahn — a gifted photographer herself — who added this information about the artist, Claudia Schattman:

“She is one of the coolest artists in town. And people can hire her for special mosaics, pottery and photography. She does installations with all mediums and sizes.”

This week’s Photo Challenge is far less colorful. Will it be as easy? If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

Pic Of The Day #942

Old Mill Beach bench (Photo/Molly Alger)

Pic Of The Day #921

Egrets at Old Mill Beach (Photo/Matt Murray)

Pic Of The Day #901

Old Mill scene (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Pic Of The Day #890

Old Mill Beach (Photo/Dan Woog)