Tag Archives: Prill Boyle

In Historic Times, Documenting Family Histories

A few years ago, Jeri Johnson’s husband Ed was dying. She had one request: Could someone document his life story?

The Legacy Project could.

The brainchild of longtime Westporters Suzanne Sheridan and Rozanne Gates, it’s a chance to do something we always talk about but seldom find time for: document our lives, for our families and all who will follow.

Thanks to his wife’s determination — and the talents of Suzanne and Rozanne —  Ed told his life story. His children and grandchildren now have a fuller understanding of how he became the man he was.

Others can learn about him too. The book the Legacy Project USA created — “A Tale of Courage in Red, White, and Blue” — is now in the Weston Library.

Suzanne Sheridan and Rozanne Gates

For more than a decade, the Legacy Project has documented other local residents’ stories too, including Dick Pauker (businessman, sculptor and an original founder of the Westport Arts Center); Colleen Plantinga (mother of Prill Boyle, prominent member of the Westport Garden Club and Saugatuck Congregational Church), and Sally Sellars (whose husband Howard Lathrop designed the new Museum of Contemporary Art).

The Legacy Project offers many options. Life stories can be documented and preserved as audio or video recordings, photo albums or authored biographies.

As many people stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic now understand, many things we’ve always done in person can now be done by phone, or remotely. That’s true of Legacy Project USA interviews too.

In these self-isolating days, we’re finding time to go through those long-delayed projects. We’re also realizing that when life is precious, documenting our histories becomes more important than ever.

Suddenly, The Legacy Project is at the top of our to-do lists.

(For more information, click here or call 203-222-1441.)

[OPINION] Prill Boyle To Jim Marpe: “I Wish You Would Speak Up”

Last week’s “06880” blog party was a celebration of all things Westport. It was a chance for everyone in town to meet, eat, drink and chill, in a community environment at our favorite beach. And, as I always say, it was non-partisan.

But these days, politics intrudes everywhere. Prill Boyle — a longtime “06880” reader, 1972 Staples High School graduate, and the author of “Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women” — saw something that made her think.

And — nearly a week later — write. 

Here’s an open letter she’s written, to 1st selectman Jim Marpe:

Prill Boyle (Photo/Suzanne Sheridan)

When I witnessed my friend Rozanne Gates refusing to shake your hand at the beach last Thursday simply because you are a Republican, I was appalled.

The more I thought about it though, the more I came to admire both her principled stance and your even-handed response. I applaud both of you for being civil to one another.

Although I will always shake your hand if you extend it to me, I too question why you align yourself with today’s Republican party.

From what I have seen, you are a highly intelligent man, not someone who is anti-intellectual, anti-science and anti-environment.

From what I have seen, you are a caring husband and father, not someone who would condone separating mothers and children at our southern border and shutting down Planned Parenthood.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe at last week’s “06880” party.

From what I have seen, you are someone who builds strong coalitions, not someone who would undermine NATO and the European Union.

Finally, from what I have seen, you are someone who is fiscally prudent, not someone who would give a deficit-financed tax cut to the rich while attempting to de-fund a healthcare program for poor children that saves society money in the long run.

In short, from what I have seen you are a good man, a person who values honesty, decency and community. In short, you don’t seem like a person who would tacitly condone the values of today’s Republican party.

So I wish you would speak up.

“06880” Party In Pictures

If you couldn’t make last night’s “06880” blog party, I understand.

We competed with the Senior Center lobster dinner, and the Chamber of Commerce after-hours social.

Plenty of readers are on vacation. Others live far away.

But the 120 or so folks who made it to Compo Beach last night had a great time. Politicians, candidates and commission members (even the P&Z — thanks for canceling your meeting!) mingled with artists, bankers, retirees, stay-at-home moms and dads, teachers, lawyers and local merchants (thanks, Julie, for repping Savannah Bee Company!).

Special thanks go to Westport’s Parks & Rec beach crew, who went waaaay out of their way to be helpful, warm and welcoming.

We ate. We drank. We chatted about everything except politics.

We watched the sun set. We realized how grateful we are to live in Westport — or to have some ties to it.

See you at next year’s bash!

Nicole Klein and her son Carter came to their first “06880” party 5 years ago, just 3 weeks after moving to Westport. They’ve been regulars ever since.

Great minds think alike. They did not coordinate their outfits — but they sure looked great! (Photo/Susan Garment)

Sean Byrnes’ 1967 Corvette — a true 427, as the license plate notes — was a huge hit.

Author Prill Boyle and Homes with Hope CEO Jeff Wieser mixed and mingled.

Former Westporter Bonnie Bradley — whose family lived near Compo for many generations — came from Roxbury for the “06880” party. She brought a special gift: This painting of the Saugatuck River and National Hall.

It’s not an “06880” party without an 06880 hat. (Photo/Susan Garment)

The Jeff Shoup Walk: The Sequel

Last week, an alert reader emailed me about the Jeff Shoup Nature Path.

Two days ago “06880” ran a short story about the disrepair of the path near the Riverwalk and Levitt Pavilion, by the Saugatuck River.

Within minutes, John Karrel volunteered to organize a clean-up. Prill Boyle and Clark Ruff soon signed up to help.

Prill Boyle and Clark Ruff, at the Jeff Shoup Nature Path. (Photo by John Karrel)

Prill Boyle and Clark Ruff, at the Jeff Shoup Nature Path. (Photo by John Karrel)

This afternoon they brought shovels, rakes and themselves. Within an hour and a half, they’d worked magic — not only on the path, but nearby surroundings too.

“It’s not ready for a House & Garden shoot,” John says. “But it’ll do, at least until the Levitt rebuilding efforts begin in a few weeks.”

He’s way too modest. He, Prill and Clark — none of whom knew each other before today — worked fast.

They worked hard and well.

Most importantly, they worked for Jeff Shoup — and for Westport.