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We are the Rowayton kids who grew up in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Post a comment by first clicking on "Read More" underneath the article.

June Leavitt’s ‘Indian Lady Slipper’ Caper Told by Son Andy

Thursday, June 25th, 2015 9 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Andy

I spent my high school years on the Cape with Mom. It was festive in the summer but it was very isolated during the ‘off-season’. Mom was so creative and talented during this time. She had her gardening of course but she also was painting a great deal and taking courses at night at the school. She learned silversmithing and then she got a kiln and began cranking out ceramics as well.

She made jams from the harvest in the garden and also wine. The wine was in little 8oz Coke bottles and when she opened the first bottle during dinner one night we both had a small glass of it. As we took a first small sip both our eyes began to water and she began to laugh. The stuff was like white lightning moonshine. I told her we could make a fortune with this stuff but she declined.

Her gardens around the house were really great. My friends and our neighbors wondered why we never mowed our grass. It was a secret garden. She had a pathway that went all over the property and below the protective tall grasses were beautiful wildflowers.

One summer Jan Foster came to stay with me and care for the house while Mom was away for the whole summer. The summer was very hot and dry and Jan’s ‘Cape Escape’ deteriorated into a never ending struggle to keep Mom’s wildflowers from drying up.

I recall all of this to tell my favorite Mom Story.

One day my mother showed me a particularly beautiful plant that she had “saved”. The plant was an ‘Indian Lady Slipper’. She said that they were endangered and were actually protected by the EPA or some such thing. She showed me a number of them that we had in our small forest. I was so pleased to tell her that she needn’t worry that I had seen many of them on the wooded path that came out behind the liquor store on the way into town.

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Mothers Show Their Legs – early 50s

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 3 Commented Categorized Under: Crick
Mothers Show Their Legs – early 50s

Left to Right: Jane Buffum; Sis Jenkins, Randy’s mom; Rolly Maury, Johnny and Dickie’s mom; Hatsie McKissock, Holly’s mom; Hester Maury, Brooke’s mom; Pat Gage, Jeff’s mom; June Leavitt, Crick’s mom; Ann Henry (behind June playfully placing a ‘witch’s’  broom in front of June), Connie’s mom; Jane Dwiggins, Ranny Grinnell’s mom;  and unknown.
Rowayton Gang of Women

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Scenes From Sheffield Island

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 3 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Diane

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Hoyt Island

Sunday, June 21st, 2015 one Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

In the satellite view the green arrow is Wilson Point beach and red ballon is Hoyt Island.

from Jane

click to enlarge
My father, Alex Smith and his family lived on Hoyt Island in the 1930’s. My grandfather was caretaker for the Rathbone estate on Wilson Point (later purchased by Count and Mrs. Czapski). After my grandfather left to return to England, my father took over as caretaker, etc for the estate. He lived on the Island with his mother and younger sister. He became very friendly with Paul and Fred Stabell and spent many summers sailing over to Sheffield Island. My parents were in Paul & Louise Stabell’s wedding and Fred Stabell built our home on Ridgewood Rd in Rowayton in 1949. Many years ago my husband and I rented a motor boat at Hickory Bluff and explored Hoyt Island and saw the house my grandparents and father lived in. It was in terrible condition and nothing like the photos I have. Two years ago, Walt and I paddled out there after hearing that the house had been set on fire. Only the chimney and foundation remained. We found some old bottles to keep as a remembrance, although I don’t know that they belonged to the Smith’s. My father had some interesting stories about living on the island in the winter and of once rolling a piano out on the ice for my grandmother so she could keep busy during the long winter months. When a storm was forecast, they stayed in the main house on Wilson Point. The house had electricity and plumbing and access to the mainland was just a rowboat away. Mrs. Czapski later gave the island to the City of Norwalk in the 1970’s.

My father, Alex Smith and his family lived on Hoyt Island in the 1930’s. My grandfather was caretaker for the Rathbone estate on Wilson Point (later purchased by Count and Mrs. Czapski). After my grandfather left to return to England, my father took over as caretaker, etc for the estate. He lived on the Island with his mother and younger sister. He became very friendly with Paul and Fred Stabell and spent many summers sailing over to Sheffield Island. My parents were in Paul & Louise Stabell’s wedding and Fred Stabell built our home on Ridgewood Rd in Rowayton in 1949. Many years ago my husband and I rented a motor boat at Hickory Bluff and explored Hoyt Island and saw the house my grandparents and father lived in. It was in terrible condition and nothing like the photos I have. Two years ago, Walt and I paddled out there after hearing that the house had been set on fire. Only the chimney and foundation remained. We found some old bottles to keep as a remembrance, although I don’t know that they belonged to the Smith’s. My father had some interesting stories about living on the island in the winter and of once rolling a piano out on the ice for my grandmother so she could keep busy during the long winter months. When a storm was forecast, they stayed in the main house on Wilson Point. The house had electricity and plumbing and access to the mainland was just a rowboat away. Mrs. Czapski later gave the island to the City of Norwalk in the 1970’s.

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Some Attendees at the 1993 Reunion of Rowayton School Kids

Friday, April 10th, 2015 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

Camilla Sloat took these pictures of the Rowayton School sixth grade reunion in 1993 at Bayley Beach. The picts were forwarded by Judy Beatty.

Here is Perry Seiffert, Mike Newman, and others with the tennis courts in the background at Bayley Beach.

This is Lola Seiffert with the Bayley Beach Pavilion and Roton Point in the Background.

Left to right: unknown, Perry Seiffert (face hidden; in blue shirt), Mike Newman, Joan Bryan (red), Carol Meier (blue) and Camilla Sloat (white).

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Marcia Smalle Grant – Please Get Well!

Friday, March 6th, 2015 3 Commented Categorized Under: Marcia

Sadly, Marcia passed away yesterday on March 24th surrounded by her family. Crick

My sisters Marcia & Lauren & I grew up in Rowayton in the 50’s. Marcia is a participant on Rowayton Kids. She is seriously ill & family would like those who were her childhood friends to keep her in their thoughts and prayers, & send healing energy her way.  We would like to hear from those who remember her from Rowayton Elementary & who lived near us on Range Rd.  Thank you, Jude Simpson

see Marcia’ kids and grandkids here: http://rowaytonkids.com/marcia-smalle-grant/

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Sketches of Rowayton by my Dad, Ed Smalle, in 1954

Friday, March 6th, 2015 11 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Marcia Smalle

I scanned these sketches from stationary my Dad did as a fundraiser for the United Church. Dad made his living as an artist working many years at home for DC Comics (Congo Bill series among others) and later as an instructor at Famous Artists School in Westport. His first love was painting and he gave oil painting classes at the Darien Art Guild for several years. The smell of oil paints still makes me nostalgic for my childhood. Dad also sketched portraits at the Village Fair that was held every summer in the field that is now called the Witch Lane Park.

The Village Square

The Village Square

Rowayton from Across the Five Mile River

Rowayton from Across the Five Mile River

Sadly I lost my Dad in 1957 after his year long battle with brain cancer.

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Rowayton Kid Remembers His Historic Victory in the 1949 Arthur J. Ladrigan Swim Race

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 one Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

It was a beautiful day in early September when somehow I, Cricky Leavitt, found myself standing on the float tied to the west end of the Bayley Beach waterfront with a gaggle of other kids my age – about 5 to 6 years old. I had never been in this situation before so I sort of stood at the outside of the float being the anti-social kid I was. Little was I aware that this character flaw would pave the way for one of the greatest accomplishments of my long life. Clearly I was the underdog and you could cut the tension with a knife so to speak.

.

I was going to swim in the annual Art Ladrigan swim race for five and six year olds although the race was not called that at the time … and why would you name a race after a curmudgeon anyway. My fifteen or so competitors and I were told to calm down and form a line at the edge of the float to get ready because the race was about to start. I moved up into position and found myself on the outside in the deepest water. There was a bang and all of us instinctively dove or jumped into the water to head toward the finish line that seemed in retrospect to be about 25 feet away. It was like being in a running dishwasher with water splashing everywhere. Being on the outside I managed to swim forward without being drowned by flailing arms. I thought at least these noisy kids had stopped shouting to avoid swallowing water. After what seemed like an eternity I made it to the finish line and found that I was first … numero uno.

I had won the only swim race I would ever enter and I retired undefeated to the cheers of Rowayton mothers. I remember having a medal that I kept in a box with all of my other things that glittered but I have not seen that medal in decades. I did have one more moment of swimming glory though. In the summer of 1952, I was banished to Camp Mohawk for two terrifying weeks where I rose to the rank of Flying Fish because I was able to swim to the center of a small lake and back. I’m pretty sure I got a medal for that too but haven’t seen it in decades either. Woe is me.

Thanks to the Rowayton mothers who cheered me on. And a special thanks to Rolly Maury who taught me how to swim a few years earlier.
Left to Right: Jane Buffum; Sis Jenkins, Randy’s mom; Rolly Maury, Johnny and Dickie’s mom; Hatsie McKissock, Holly’s mom; Hester Maury, Brooke’s mom; Pat Gage, Jeff’s mom; June Leavitt, Crick’s mom; Ann Henry (behind June playfully placing a ‘witch’s’ broom in front of June), Connie’s mom; Jane Dwiggins, Ranny Grinnell’s mom; and unknown.
Rowayton Gang of Women

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Scene of the Bluff from Bell Island – 1965

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 5 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

Crick

This is a view of our house (green arrow) and the Trubowitz’ house (whiter house north of ours) taken from Bell Island. The caretaker for Billy Rose’s Tavern Island lived in the next house between Hickory Bluff and us. Barbra Streisand was once seen on their pier waiting for the launch to take her to the island. You had to be careful if you tried to sneak onto Tavern Island as they had a rather aggressive ostrich. The wail of the peacocks was always in the background during the summer. My parents had an opportunity to visit the island once. The old Norwalk Yacht Club is the red building further up that was bought by the Falconers.

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School Bus Antics at the End of the School Year

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 14 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

First posted June 14, 2010.

by Crick

My wife, Becki, drove a school bus for the Woodstock CT School system. The Superintendent of schools had a name for Becki – “Lead Foot”. We were talking one morning about how riled up the kids get at the very end of the school year. This conversation reminded me of our own antics on the school bus when I was a kid in Rowayton. I don’t recall that there was any school bus service to Rowayton School which was well centered in the town. Most of us could walk or bike to school.

After sixth grade in September of 1955 the RowaytonKids who didn’t go to private school in my class (me, Lenny Calendriello, Paul Tebo, Dick Willmott, Pat Dawson, and a handfull of others) were bused to junior high in South Norwalk where we had double sessions. I have forgotten the name of the school and whether we were in the morning or afternoon session. The following year we would enter the new West Rocks Junior High School at the northern end of Norwalk. I wrote about some 7th grade experiences here (sorry; fixed the link), one of which was a final day experience on the school bus outside the school.

For several years from 7th grade through 9th grade we were transported on a yellow bus to junior high. Once we got to Norwalk High we used the public bus to and from Stamford. On the school bus I’m not sure what the route home was, but somehow we ended up heading south on Rowayton Avenue toward the canon where a group of us would be let off after rounding the canon to the east side on the corner of Wilson Avenue. Leading up to that joyous last day of school a number of us would conspire to leave the bus out the back emergency door forcing the bedraggled driver to get up and exit the bus to close the door after we had fled the scene. I can remember forcing open the door and leaping out. Then we ran like hell to get away from the scene of the crime. I’m embarrassed to say that this was as bad as we could be. Of course at the end of the summer vacation we had to face the music, and I remember thinking about that. But the bus driver guy never brought it up.

The other dastardly deed we did was on that same turn rounding the cannon as we exited off of Rowayton Avenue. We took note of the recklessness of the bus driver as he rounded the cannon. The bus would tilt radically to the right. In our mass hysteria, we collectively realized that we might be able to tip the bus on its side if we all moved to the right side of the bus as it veered off of Rowayton Avenue. I vaguely recall that Jerry Hayes was one of the cheer leaders to this potential tragedy (I can see the headlines in the Norwalk Hour about the dead and injured RowaytonKids on a late spring afternoon). We were all shocked when one afternoon … we almost succeeded in tipping the bus over. In retrospect, I think the bus driver was in with us in this noble endeavor because he made no attempt to reduce the speed of his turn.

Thank God more sane kids came along after us. You know who I am talking about: Jane, Sharon, Teddy, Joan, Kipp, Dirk, Chip, and all of the rest ;-) .

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Skating on the Rowayton School Pond – late 50s

Saturday, January 17th, 2015 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

This was first posted on February 17th, 2010.

from Kathy Wilmot Pinto

This is me (left), Helen Meyer and Pat VonDwinglo in the foreground. Roton Avenue is on the left and Rowayton School is up the hill in the background.

That’s me below sitting on the fence in front of our house after we moved from Witch Lane to McKinley Street. This was 1960 or 61. Next to me is Robin Zwart, my best friend, who lived next door. We were about six years old at the time. I was tall for my age and Robin was small. What clothes!!!

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Some Christmas Cheer From Two RowaytonKids

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Peter Leavitt

I thought I’d test this on just family instead of on face book. One Christmas I saw a tall box with my name on it. I was really excited because it looked just tall enough to be just what I wanted, a surfboard!!! Looking at it I started to fear it may not be a surfboard because in those days a surfboard was pretty long and this may be a little too short. But my mind won’t let me think that. Then I decided to lift it; oh no! It was way to heavy to be a surfboard. Why o why did I lift it? Christmas was over that minute. It turned out to be a set of weight lifting equipment. What a let down. As we get older giving is way more exciting then getting; but lets face it. As a kid getting the wrong big gift at Christmas is a real bummer.

Thinking of myself this Christmas, Peter

From Andy Leavitt

Ok. Real quick here is mine. I came down to the tree and I am sure there was plenty of great stuff but…there it was…a spaceship…a golden spaceship!!! I lifted the ornate lid off the capsule and climbed aboard. I was halfway to Jupiter when Mom and Dad came down to start the festivities. They both launched into hysteria at the sight of me. Turns out my spaceship was some kind of urn that Turks burn coals of livestock poop in. Stupid esoteric gifts.

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Jane’s Father Endorsed His Christmas Bonus Check to Mrs. Pinkney in 1948

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014 3 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

…and the Smiths became neighbors to so many RowaytonKids.

from Jane

This is Kassie Foss’s (Westport Onion Hill Design) new Christmas card titled, “Winter Moon in Pinkney Park”. I particularly like this painting of the Pinkney House because of a holiday “connection” to this historic house. My father heard about a lot for sale on Ridgewood Road. After seeing lot #16 on Christmas Eve afternoon, he went to Mrs. Pinkney’s house and talked to her about the lot. She accepted his offer and since the banks closed early on Christmas Eve, my father endorsed his Christmas bonus check from Nash Engineering to her to hold the lot until the next business day. On Christmas Day, 1948, my parents, sister and I drove to the snow covered lot for the first time so my mother could envision a home on Ridgewood Road. The house was built during the winter of 1949 and we moved in mid-July. My father lived there until his death in 2006. I would like to think that the Pinkney house looked like this on Christmas Eve, 1948.

Merry Christmas to all …….!

Jane Smith Graham

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The Teabags of Rowayton

Saturday, December 6th, 2014 one Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Crick

This is a group of mothers who routinely got together for tea, and occasionally for lunch. From right to left: Rolly Maury (Johnny, Dickie, Betsy and Rosalie’s Mom), June Leavitt (Crick, Phoebe, Peter, David, and Andy’s mom), Nonie Shaw, Jane Dwiggins (Ranny’s mom), and Hatsie McKissock (Holly’s mom). Stefan Schnabel gave the group the name “Teabags” which stuck. This photo was taken in the early 1960’s at our house next to Hickory Bluff on Bluff Avenue. According to the Rowayton Civic Association, in 1958 Pat Gage and June Leavitt founded the Rowayton Garden Club which is still active today.

Teabags
Retouched Image by Dave Smith

Below on the next page is Jerry Beatty, Judy and Janis’ dad, with June and Rolly probably at Bayley Beach. Jerry was one of my favorite adult men in Rowayton.

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More Pictures of the Five Mile River Taken in 1946

Sunday, November 30th, 2014 7 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Crick

I found these additional pictures taken at the same time as the picture of the White Bridge further below. These were taken by my mother June Leavitt, and the one taken from across the river was dated 1946.

This was taken beside the firehouse showing behind the firehouse. When the new firehouse was built across the street next to Harding’s Hardware, I believe this building became the town library. The librarian was Stella Eakin.

From the Rowayton Marine Works

From behind the “Shopping Center” (read more)

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Jeff Rees – 1962

Sunday, November 30th, 2014 4 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

(see Jeff’s page above for more current pictures)

Here is a pict of me early 1962 before I left for duty in operation deepfreeze at the south pole. My folks sent me to Olan Mills in Stamford. They wanted a picture of me I guess in case I did not return from there. Handsome fella? I graduated from NHS in 1959 then into the U.S. Navy. I loved it!!

From a previous comment by Jeff: “We lived on the top of Thomes St. in Rowayton until my mom & dad divorced in 1953-54 timeframe. I lived at the far right end of Thomes St (click to enlarge map). Last time I was there, the Thomes St. driveway to my house was gone and you had to get to the house from Woodbine St. off Hunt St. Also, those houses built on Deane Ct. were built on what used to be the dump for Rowayton and those to the South of Thomes St. were built on the swamp and two ponds that were there when I was a kid.

My  sister Lynn and I moved to Fla. with Mom, and moved around a lot. Then in 56, I came back to Rowayton to visit Dad for the summer of 56, fell in love with Judy Miller who also lived on Thomes St. Went back to Moms in Fla. packed up bag & baggage at 16 drove my 1931 Ford Model “A” to Rowayton. Dad had remarried Frances Cooke & lived at 265 Rowayton Ave, then 397 Rowayton Ave. Graduated Norwalk High 1959 and in 1960 joined the U. S. Navy, spent time on 2 aircraft carriers and a 15 month stint on Operation Deep Freeze 1961-62 which I thoroughly enjoyed, exited the Navy in late 1962, and came back to Rowayton.

I worked for Paul Ballard at Village Marine while waiting for a job to open at SNET, over time I met and eventually married Sharon Ballard, Paul and Normas daughter. We had three girls Melissa, Laura and Jennifer. Sharon and I lived in Noroton Heights until we moved to Fla in late 1969, stayed there for 9 years (small disaster) then moved to Seneca, SC. in 1978. Six years later we divorced. Then I moved to Myrtle Beach SC and lived there for 18 years. I had a couple of sucessful businesses, and met & married my second wife Darlene Merritt. In 1995 we lived in Myrtle Beach until she succumed to the ravages of colon cancer in July of 2000. Damn, I sure do miss her!!!

My mom and dad, and Fran, are deceased. My sister Lynn lives near St. Louis MO, step-sis Diana Cooke lives in CT with her hubby, and step-bro Ken Cooke lives in New Zealand with his wife / significant other. I am as well as can be expected and will turn 69 next Monday!”

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More RowaytonKids from the NHS 1960-61 Senior Class

Sunday, November 30th, 2014 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from left to right: Barbara Blackwood (Covewood Drive); Len Calendriello (Highland Ave); Jimmy Coates (Little Brook Road); Sue Harris (Little Brook Road); Jerry Hayes (Hunt Street); Paul Jensen (Bell Island); Joan Kuchman (Range Road); Diane Parr (Ledge Road); Marcia Smalle (Range Road) and Dick Willmott (Ledge Road). Except for Len these RowaytonKids were all clustered around Witch Lane.
Others on the next page.

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Norwalk Hour – July 19, 1966

Sunday, November 30th, 2014 one Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

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Chris Hoyt Is Gone

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

I have turned off comments because of a problem with our spam filter. Hopefully this will be corrected soon. Until then, send communications to me at paloaltoeast@hotmail.com

From Jeff

Mr. Christopher William Hoyt, 72, died Thursday evening, October 30, 2014, at his home in Saratoga Springs, NY, surrounded by his family following a brief but valiant battle with cancer.

Born January 1, 1942, Chris was the first baby born in the New Year at Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, CT. He was the son of William Bradford Hoyt and Mary Raymond Lynch Hoyt, who were natives of Connecticut.

In his youth he attended the Holderness School in Plymouth, NH, where he played on the football team. He then attended Union College, graduating with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and psychology.

On August 24, 1963, Chris married Linda Morehouse Albin in a ceremony at the First Methodist Church on West Avenue in South Norwalk, CT.

For many years, Chris was employed as a sales engineer for General Electric. He and Linda and their children, Kimberly and Christopher, lived in many places throughout the country, including New York, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts. They lived the longest of any place in Ramsey, NJ, where the Hoyts were very active in their church and community.

In 2002, Chris retired from GE in Albany; Chris and Linda settled in the home they built in Saratoga Springs, NY. Through the years, he and Linda enjoyed tending to their homes and gardens, and especially enjoyed the ponds they built on the hillside behind their house in Saratoga Springs.

For many years, Chris was actively involved with the Hatch and Bailey Company in South Norwalk, CT. A residential and commercial construction supply company founded by his family in 1872, he was currently serving as Secretary of the Board of Directors.

An accomplished sailor, Chris always enjoyed being out on the water whenever he could. In later years, Chris and Linda took great pleasure in sailing their 38′ catamaran many places along the eastern seaboard. Chris and Linda also enjoyed playing golf, tennis and travelling together throughout the world.

Chris is survived by his wife of 51 years, Linda, of Saratoga Springs; a daughter, Kimberly Betts Hoyt Dallon and her husband, David, of New Jersey; a son, Christopher William Hoyt, Jr., and his wife, Laura, of Virginia; and five grandchildren, Kyle William Dallon, William Alexander Hoyt, Andrew Bennett Hoyt, Aiden Christopher Hoyt, and Nina Isabella Hoyt.

He is further survived by three sisters and their husbands, Caroline and Michael Sicilian of Stamford, CT, Betts and Bud Bain of Rowayton, CT, and Margo and Richard Lepore of North Carolina; as well as many, many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be offered at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 8, 2014, at the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church, 175 5th Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY, with Rev. Heather Williams, Senior Pastor and Rev. Drew Sperry, Pastor, officiating.

As an alternative to flowers, the Hoyt family kindly suggests that memorial gifts be made to Yaddo Garden Association, P.O. Box 395, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, or Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church, 175 5th Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown, NY. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thehour/obituary.aspx?n=christopher-w-hoyt&pid=173035923#sthash.ckWjYS8k.dpuf

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Don Thompson Is Gone

Monday, November 3rd, 2014 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

I have turned off comments because of a problem with our spam filter. Hopefully this will be corrected soon. Until then, send communications to me at paloaltoeast@hotmail.com

I was fortunate to be the kid who played softball with the Rowayton men on Saturdays and Sundays at the nursery school field on Highland Ave in the early mid-1950. Don Thompson was one of the regulars along with Jerry Beatty, Charlie Wilson and others. I recall his winning ways in the first years of the Rowayton Little League coaching a winning team with Charlie Wilson. Don was a real roll model for Rowayton kids of that era. Crick

From Jane

Donald W. Thompson
Volunteer; Retired Magazine Exec.;
WWII Marine Officer

South Yarmouth, MA – Donald William Thompson, 90, husband of his late beloved wife, Maryanna (Norton) Thompson for nearly 60 years and his high school sweetheart, died October 30th at Cape Cod Hospital. Mr. Thompson was born in Boston to William A. and Mary (Shyne) Thompson, and spent his first 10 years in Atlantic, MA, a small section of Quincy. His family then moved to Nutley, NJ, where he attended high school. He was a graduate of Seton Hall College (now University). During WWII he served as an officer in the Marine Corps in the Pacific, aboard the USS Colorado and later the USS Indiana. On the USS Indiana, after the war was over, he organized and coached the ship’s basketball team to a record of 33 wins and 3 losses.

Following the war he was employed as a magazine advertising salesman for Reinhold Publishing and then McGraw-Hill Publishing. After moving to Cape Cod in 1969, he was employed by Cahners Publishing in Boston. He later retired as Deputy Publisher of Cruising World Magazine, then owned by the New York Times Company, in Newport, RI.
Mr. Thompson had been a resident of Rowayton, CT for many years before moving to West Dennis, MA in 1969, and later to South Yarmouth, MA in 1983. He was well-known in Rowayton, where he instituted the annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration beginning in 1956, and assisted in the formation of a Little League. He managed a Little League team that had a 17-1 record. He was also one of the first members of the Fairfield County Football Officials Association. After moving to Cape Cod he became one of the first members of the Cape Cod Football Officials Association. During the last nine years of his life he lived at Thirwood Place in South Yarmouth, surrounded by many good people and kind friends.

As a Yarmouth volunteer he was chairman of the Yarmouth Cable Advisory Committee until suffering a stroke in 1997. He also volunteered as a monitor for handicapped parking, reporting to the Yarmouth Police Department.

Following his retirement in 1989, Mr. Thompson worked for F.E.M.A., assisting individuals who had experienced losses from national disasters. He also worked as a shuttler for AVIS Rent-a-Car and was a popular shuttler at Bayberry Hills Golf Course in West Yarmouth. As an avid golfer he was a member of Yarmouth golf courses. He also held an airplane pilot’s license, a real estate broker’s license, and was an accomplished boatman of both power and sail.

Mr. Thompson is survived by two daughters, Theodora T. Helfrich of Hingham and Joan T. Rogers of Halifax, and her husband Charles; and two adored granddaughters, Elizabeth Rogers of Nashville, TN and Sarah Rogers of Burundi, Africa. He was pre-deceased in 1953 by another daughter, Kathleen Mary, and earlier this year by his son-in-law and friend, Robert W. Helfrich.

Visiting hours will be held Monday, November 3, from 4:00-8:00 p.m. in Hallett Funeral Home, 273 Station Ave., South Yarmouth. A Funeral will form at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday November 4th in the Funeral Home, followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m. in St. Pius X Church, Station Ave, South Yarmouth, where he had been a lector. Burial, next to his loving wife, with military honors, will be in the Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne at 2:15 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Pius X School, 321 Wood Road, South Yarmouth, MA 02664. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thehour/obituary.aspx?n=donald-w-thompson&pid=173028439#sthash.cAUKR6gN.dpuf

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“Notable Rowayton People” – 29 Additional Nominees By RowaytonKids

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 10 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

Update: This list and additions to the Rowayton Wikipedia site were completed on July 12, 2013. In interacting with Wolf Guibbory at FB I went to Wikipedia to double check if Shem Guibbory was on the list. I found that the list had been trimmed back somewhat selectively. 13 names have been removed and none were added. I will make an inquiry. See and compare Wikipedia.

Here is my message to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:NickCT

Nick, Please explain why you trimmed 14 names of notable Rowayton people from the list that a group from RowaytonKids compiled on July 12, 2013.

John Leavitt

The Rowayton WikiPedia site has a list of “Notable People – Past and Present” that we thought did not do justice to Rowaytonites. So we added names and links to biographic sketches below where we could find them. Most notable are Richard Bissell (author of Broadway musicals like Pajama Game), Harry Marinsky (sculptor), and Jimmy Ernst (artist and teacher, son of Max Ernst). Please leave other names in a comment and we will add them to the list. We will need a biographical sketch or another URL to hyperlink that tells of the contributions of notable individuals.


Nominees By RowaytonKids
(all of the people below have been mentioned at RowaytonKids and can be found by searching the individual’s name in the search box):

The last 29 additions contributed collectively by the founders of RowaytonKids

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Yacht On the Five Mile River in the 1940s

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 4 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Jane

I purchased this postcard on E-bay today. I am interested in knowing who owned this yacht moored in the Five Mile River during the 1940s. Quite an impressive yacht and I am wondering if it is the “Rand”, owned by the President of Remington Rand on Rt. 136 in S. Norwalk. Perhaps some “Rowayton Kids” might know? Thanks.
/Jane Smith Graham

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“The Other People”

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 11 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Jane Smith Graham

I found this clipping from The Norwalk Hour, August 23, 1967.  Stephanie Dell’Agnese and Mike Souney lived on Belle Island,  John “Joss” Staplefeldt and Walt Graham grew up on Wilson Point and Dave Brown was from Wilton.

Mike Souney and his wife, Pat live in Guilford CT, Stephanie Dell’Agnese is an English prof at a community college in Middletown CT, not sure about Dave Brown, Joss Staplefelt lives in Aspen CO, and Walt and I married in 1976 and remained in Norwalk.

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Miss Strand is Gone

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 2 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Willis (Bill) Ryckman

One of the best times I’ve had in the past 20 years was the reunion at Bayley Beach. It was tremendous. Couldn’t wait to finally move back here. Grew up in the Association but now live on Belle Island. But for news.

(Click to enlarge) Sadly Robin and I have to report that Anne Strand passed away just a little while ago. I believe Anne was 93 years old and had been in an assisted living facility in Athens, Ga. which was near her stepson, Warren French. Anne had been the sixth grade teacher and also was made principal of the elementary school when she was in her 30’s. She was a very good friend of our parents and Robin and I visited her frequently when she and her husband retired to Vero Beach. I saw her a few times in Athens and we had wonderful talks about old times. Her younger brother, Roy, still lives in town.

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Found: Caroline Hoyt Sicilian

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 2 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

This post was first published on December 31st.

See Caroline circa 1947.

We found Caroline galloping her horse, Misty, on Penfield Beach in Fairfield last winter.

Caroline Hoyt

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Almost Eight Decades Between the Fosters of Ridgewood Drive and the Cornbrooks of Bell Island

Thursday, June 26th, 2014 3 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

Kate passed away on August 1, 2014.

Nina Foster and Nancy Hamman Cornbrooks visited Kate Cornbrooks last weekend in Kennebunk ME. Kate may be the eldest of Rowayton residents of the 50s and 60s still living at about 90 years old. Kate and Charlie Cornbrooks lived on Bell Island with Suzie and Nancy Hamman (Cornbrooks) in the 50s and 60s. Nancy and David Foster with Gray, Meg, and Ian lived on Ridgewood Road in Rowayton before Nina was born. June Leavitt (down below), Kate’s sister, and Peter Leavitt lived on Harstrom Place, Bryan Road, and Bluff Avenue up from Hickory Bluff in the 40s-70s, and their children John, Phoebe, Peter, David, and Andy were RowaytonKids too. Other sister, Lois, with Rex Gatten and children Meg, Tupper, and Neal lived on Wilson Ave next to the Ladrigans in the 50s and 60s. The fourth person in this picture is Kaila Hamman LaPierre who is Nancy Hamman’s daughter.

Here is Nancy Adamson Foster and Kate Magill Cornbrooks in Milton Gardens, Rye NY in 1931 or 32. Nancy is furthest to the left in the front row with Kate next to her. June, my mother is on the left in the back and young sis Lois is on a lap. in the back.

Nancy Foster’s eldest daughter, Gray Foster, passed away due to cancer in 2012. She was 65. I uncovered this picture of Grey taken at a wedding in 2001 (12 years ago). Grey ended up living in the Seattle area for most of her life. Here she is with her grand-daughter (I believe), Lily. All the Fosters, Father David, Mother Nancy, Grey, Meg, Ian, and Nina were/are very handsome people and close long-term friends with my family, the Leavitts of Rowayton. David and Nancy moved to Vermont after Rowayton in the 60s when David left a NY job to become a carpenter building houses. They remained in touch with my parents into the 1990s. After David passed away Nancy moved to Kennebunkport to be close to my aunt Kate Cornbrooks. They often visited our farm in Woodstock CT after we arrived in 1996.

In the late 50s David and Nancy Foster bought the Fogel’s house on Ridgewood Road across from the Tebo’s house and down the road from the Smiths (Jane), Dawson’s (Patty), and Thompson’s (Teddy and Joan). The Foster’s moved in with RowaytonKids, Meg and older sister Gray, returning from North Carolina with perfected southern accents (the girls said “Y’awl”). Meg became my sister Phoebe’s closest childhood friend. I couldn’t help but notice that Meg liked catsup on her spaghetti or rice (yuk!). Later after acting school in New York, Meg became a successful Hollywood actress; I was always impressed with Meg’s light blue eyes and enjoyed seeing her in movies and on TV. Older sister, Gray, was very pretty. Gray was once married to Dick Kreager’s brother (Dick is Lyn’s husband). Her oldest child is Tad Kreager.
Here’s Meg (right) and Gray having a sister chat at our house in the 70s.

Nancy Foster passed away in the middle of this last decade after moving to the Seattle area to be near her children. My mother and sister Kate Cornbrook’s friendship with Nancy goes back to the 1920s when both families lived in Milton Gardens in Rye NY. That story is told at the Milton Gardens website in the right sidebar.

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Sailing School in the 50s

Sunday, June 8th, 2014 2 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

I spent 5 years in summer sailing school at the Norwalk Yacht Club which was on Bluff Avenue in Rowayton before it moved to the opposite side of the Cove to Wilson Point in the 1960s. I notice that the NYC still has junior sailing classes 5 days a week for 8-foot dinghies and 14-foot Blue Jays.

I enjoyed these daily classes immensely and discovered that I had a talent for winning races. While Paul was playing little league and pony league baseball in Norwalk, I was sailing. In retrospect it’s easy to see how the Rowayton kids of the 50s started to head in different directions between 1955 and the 60s. We all had our different diversions.

I remember Linda Gloetzner and Bill Lilly attending sailing school. Bill Lilly was killed in the mid-60s in Viet Nam, possibly the only Rowayton casualty in the 60s in that war. I made the point of looking for Bill’s name on the Viet Nam Memorial when I visited Washington DC later on.

The satellite view below shows the playing field for Sailing School which spanned from Wilson Cove in the north past Tavern Island to a buoy just south of the southern tip of Bell Island. The smaller picture of the dock and looking southeast to Sheffield Island and Long Island Sound shows the perspective from the docks of the old NYC. In the satellite view, the green arrow shows the approximate location of the old NYC, the pink arrow shows the new location of the NYC since the 1960s, the yellow arrow shows Wilson Point Beach where I was lifeguard/beach boy/tennis teacher in the early 1960s, the red arrow was where I capsized in Shelly Trubowitz’ canoe in early March in the early 60s (and had to swim pulling Shelly’s canoe to Wilson Point Beach), the white arrow shows Tavern Island, and the pea green arrow points to Bell Island. The number of boats moored in the harbor has greatly increased since the 1950s.

The light blue arrow shows the location of our house in the 60s next to Billy Rose’s house for the proprietors of Tavern Island, and Hickory Bluff. The Trubowitz live next to us on the north side of our house.

yacht club dock
I remember the very first day I sailed in a race at sailing school. Since I was new and knew nothing, I had to crew for another student who showed no interest in winning the race. As we floated past Bell Island to the buoy at the head of the channel in near last place my frustration mounted. Never again would I sail with that guy.

In one memorable race, our starting line was near the old NYC and the first mark was up wind near the point of Wilson Point. I got a good start and was ahead of 15-20 boats. But there was practically no wind. In retrospect, I was probably good at this because of my concentration on the angle of the sail and the direction of the wind. I made a strategic decision to head on a port tack southeast because it made sense that there might be a better chance of catching a breeze further out in the harbor. The other boats followed me initially but then the second boat tacked to the left (starboard tack with the wind coming over the right side of the hull) and all the other boats followed the second boat. The rule of thumb was that I should have tacked to the left also to maintain my lead and take advantage of the wind that they were looking for. But I thought it was a stupid tack because it just took the boats deeper into the cove. The end result was that I found a breeze and they didn’t – I finished the race about 45 minutes ahead of the other boats and received a resounding scolding from the sailing instructors. Nevertheless, I watched the rest of the boats cross the finish line with great pride.

Wilson Point Cove
These photos show what dinghy racing and Sailfish racing looked like.Dinghy racingSunfish racing

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Sailing From the Five Mile River

Sunday, June 8th, 2014 3 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

by Crick

In September of 1955 or 1956 I received a Sailfish (shown below) for my 12th/13th birthday. This was the best birthday present I could imagine. We launched the boat on the Five Mile River at a small beach that was next to Rowayton Avenue just south of Hartogs’ boat yard (this scene may not be on the Five mile River though). I believe that’s mom rowing the boat with Peter and David on board. I don’t recall who was on the sailfish with me at the time. This was an early wooden Sailfish which was heavier than the newer fiberglass boats.
Crick on sailfish mid 50s

It wasn’t long before I started sailing solo out of the mouth of the Five Mile River over to Fish Island to the southwest of the Tokeneke Beach. In August of 1958 I entered an annual sailfish race organized off of Tokeneke which consisted of well over 30 boats from the nearby coastal towns. My sister Phoebe, at 80-85 lbs, was my required crew. This was quite an adventure for me because I was unencumbered by the jaded instructors at the NYC, on my own with my own boat. I remember getting a very bad start in the race in 1958, but we doggedly perservered.
Five Mile River
The distant mark was the Green Ledge Lighthouse which was always within earshot on foggy days. As we rounded the Lighthouse we ran into turbulent waters…and we capsized. Fortunately, Phoebe was wearing a life preserver, so I was free to right the sailfish, and we were able to continue the race. I recovered a plaque that I received after that first race from my parents house a few months ago that verified that we came in 7th in the 1958 race even with the bad start. The following year (1959) we finished forth.

In the ensuing 50 years of living in West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Howard County Maryland, Palo Alto California, and now Woodstock CT, I have yearned to return to the Rowayton waterfront. In my mind’s eye the images are as bright as in this website, and I still sense the smell of the Rowayton waterfront.
light house

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