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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.

Lanny Openshaw Reveals All

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 one Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Lanny

This is probably not the type of response you (to Ellin) would expect from your post.
My guess is Teddy Thompson and you were the consensus most attractive girls in our class (judging from the response in Miss Hollowell’s Dancing School, after the click of her castanets). But, one afternoon, after a group of us paired off in Tom Garvey’s basement, I remember Kirk Hamilton proclaiming to us all that Missy (Horace McMahon’s daughter) had the “Most Kissable Lips”! Must have been around 1958 – give, or take a year.

I believe the last time I saw Missy, Robin White and I had rented a place on the river from Ted Jones. It was late winter in 1972 and the streets were flooded beyond Rowayton Marine.

Missy and her mother, Louise, couldn’t get home to their home in Rowayton Beach, so, to get out of the cold, they visited with us until the waters receded.

Ellin Braun’s father Joe with Horace and Missy at a Yankee game.

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Diane Wilkinson Now in Mariposa CA – Birthday Party in Rowayton, Late 1940s

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 one Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

Diane and daughter Tricia got together with Becki and me for breakfast in San Mateo CA this last week. Diane got her start on Covewood Drive (see below). Becki and me at the Golden Gate Bridge on the same day.

from Diane (Wilkinson) Trefethen

I moved from Covewood Drive to Darien right after my 8th birthday. I had just started to get up the courage to defy my Mom and ride my bike out on [ GASP!!! ] Wilson Avenue. Plus my Dad was determined that I go to public school so was almost certain that I’d have met up with a lot of the other Rowayton Kids if we hadn’t moved to Darien. That would have meant SAILING! But I missed out and didn’t sail anything till my 30s, and then only dinghys. Now, reading about all your adventures and the Bluff, I decided I’d waited long enough and I went out and found someone who gives ASA sailing lessons on a Catalina22. I’m now an official beginner, lol, but I’ve already crewed in a race :)
Courage may be inherent in the individual but even the bravest amongst us needs heroes.

Not sure whose birthday party this is (maybe Linda’s Wadlow’s).
Can anyone fill in the names?
The date is probably not 1949 or 1950, more like 1948 or 1949.
Left to right back row: Linda Wadlow, Ann Delafield?, Me (Diane), Mary Empy, Susan Davis?, Unknown

From a comment left by Diane on May 30th:
I was doing a google search for Bronwyn Jones (here’s an article by Bronwyn over a year ago), a Thomas School, class of 1960, classmate when I found RowaytonKids. SO many remembered and half-remembered names and places.

I lived at 4 Covewood Drive from 1942 – 1950. Attended “The Farm”, Thomas School’s nursery school and kindergarten in 1946/47. See others at the Nursery School maybe a year later – Caroline Hoyt, Margo and me, Crick. This was after they no longer had the horses and equestrian program. Then I attended grades 1-3 in Greycote off Wilson Ave. Getting to school in the morning was tough – just had to cross the street Nevertheless, I managed to be late more than not. Somewhere in my parents’ old pics are several circa 1947 including a street photo of all us kids. I will find it and try to find someone to scan it.

I remember my Dad taking me to the Rowayton Library on Saturday mornings in the Summer, his getting some new mystery novels and then we’d go out to Bayley Beach (funny, I always thought it was Bailey). I remember the chain link fence separating “us” from “them” (the Wee Burnites). My Dad wouldn’t let me go up to the north end of the beach so I only remember seeing from afar what I think was the base of the old carosel. Then in the afternoon, I’d walk barefoot with my Dad ALL the way across the parking lot (dang that lot was HOT) to get Good Humors. I loved the peach ice cream on a stick with the raspberry ice coating.

I fell in love with horses for a lifetime at the old Rowayton Fair… it was the first time (I was probably 2) that I was taller than my Mom

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Chris Pemberthy Announces an Exhibit at the Rowayton Historical Society

Friday, April 4th, 2014 one Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

I live in the Maury-Bruno-Wilson-Penberthy house at 72 Witch Lane. Was married to John Penberthy. My kids played for Rowayton Fuel in Little League. (Go, Fuel!)

I am contributing to an exhibit the Rowayton Historical Society is mounting on Rowayton in the 1950s. A big part of it — the children’s book authors and illustrators who lived here in at the time (Ruth Krauss, Crockett Johnson and others), and other bits.

I have the assignment of writing a bio of Ruth Krauss. Can you ask your members if they remember working on A Hole is to Dig, or anything else about her or her husband? They lived on Crockett Street and also (I think) at 74 Highland Avenue.

The exhibit runs from May through November of this year. If anyone wants to come back to visit the exhibit, or in advance, share stories by email, that would be greatly appreciated.

Feel free to call or write. We would be thrilled to have stories and photos.

Thank you all! Chris

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Our House on Harstrom Place in the 1940s

Friday, March 28th, 2014 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

My mother, dad, and I lived on Harstrom Place one house up the street from the Hartogs between 1944 and 1949. This is our house on the east side of the road. The kids on the steps were probably there for my birthday on September 8th in 1944 or 1945. I am next to the front wall on the right at the top of the steps and Brooke Maury is sitting at the top of the steps (I believe). I bet there are some Hartogs there. The bottom picture is the back of the house with a little studio behind the house. My bedroom was on the second floor with the window on the upper right. We had an icebox and the ice man visited once or twice a week. The milk man left milk bottles on the back porch. I learned to ride a two wheeler bike right in front of the house. There was a path through an empty field to get to Rowayton Avenue just south of where the firehouse was on the west side of Rowayton Ave. The firehouse became the library when Charlie Bradford’s new firehouse was built on the other side of Rowayton Avenue. Bad boy Warren Madison lived across the road from the Hartogs with pretty sister Lynn Madison.

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Eight Rowayton Girls Around 1950 – Two From Harstrom Place

Friday, March 28th, 2014 2 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

Lynn Madison and Patty Dawson were two of my friends when we lived on Harstrom Place.

Carol Fairchild Smith April 17, 2010 at 1:20am on Facebook to Patty:
“Pat, was checking out RowaytonKids – talk about a walk down memory lane. On two of the pics you sent in – the one with Kathy Lago, Sue Fay, etc. the last person is Bill Pfifer. There was another one with Lynn Madison, Diane Parr, Joanie, etc. the unknown I believe is Alice Weston.”

Seven Girls
from Pat
Front row from left to right: Joan Kuchman, Lynn Madison, mystery, and Patty Dawson.
Back row from left to right: Carol Fairchild, Diane Parr, mystery, Caroline Hoyt.

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Miss Strand 1956, Sixth Grade Teacher at Rowayton School

Friday, March 21st, 2014 5 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

Check out Emily Levine’s comments under “Recent Comments”

from Linda Brown Odle by way of Carolyn Park Bruno

This is a picture of Miss Strand, our 6th grade teacher and principal at Rowayton School. The picture has the date of 1956.

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Miss Strand is Gone

Friday, March 21st, 2014 No 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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Bayley Beach Tennis in the Summer of 1959

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 3 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From the United Church’s SEXTANT, September 1959 – transcribed by Crick who added the italics.

Numbers were the big news at the Rowayton tennis courts this last summer. The addition of the fourth court provided more playing area and a record number of local folk enjoyed the use of the tennis facilities. Over 150 entries in the local tournaments provided excitement for the matches and tennis enthusiasts were encouraged to see the many youngsters who were playing.

Ward Chamberlin successfully defended his position as the RTA men’s champion and Dick Aycrigg and Algie Middleton regained the doubles championship that they won in 1957. Charlie Wilson won his first title when he teamed with Jane Wadleton to take the mixed doubles championship. The women’s matches were not finished as this SEXTANT goes to press.

There were a lot of hard fought matches in the boys’ singles for 10-15 year olds, and two 11 year olds, Robin White and Cleve Penberthy, battled for the title, with White coming out on top.

Connie Henry defeated Bonnie Banks for the girls’ championship.

Bill Talbert, former national title holder (actually he won the US clay court championships once and was runner up in the 1944 and 1945 US Championships), accompanies by Abe Segal from South Africa, Don McNeill from Darien, and Harry Van Rensselaer from Greenwich, put on an exhibition match that thrilled several hundred spectators. This unusual treat was made possible by John Sharnik of Bell Island, who has co-authored a book, “Playing for Life, with Talbert. Ward Chamberland helped with the arrangements and played in one of the three sets.

Numerous visitors played at Bayley Beach this summer; two outstanding guests were Jackie Robinson and Norman Thomas. Crick Leavitt was given the honor of warming up Jackie for his exhibition match; the picture of Crick was taken at a match with the all-conference team at Bethany College. Many young Rowaytonites are proudly exhibiting tennis balls with Jackie’s signature. John Tunis came back to play a few sets on the local courts, just a month or two before his seventieth birthday! In the early 1960s John Tunis often joined Ward and Crick at the tennis courts at Wilson Point.

Jay Cheek, president of the newly-formed Rowayton Tennis Association, resigned in July and Eadie Park, vice president, stepped up. Bill Prophet was tournament chairman and Kim Aycrigg handled events for those under 16. Charlotte Judge coordinated the adult activity, running a highly successful (albeit often postphoned) Round Robin that was won by Ben Rice and Sally Plaut. Helping her were Sandy Goennel in charge of the weekly morning session for “the gals” and Dede Hegeman who arranged four inter-club matches with the Shore and Country Club and Roton Point women’s teams. Local ladies lost one and split three of these.

George Shiras had a full program of inter-club matches (George’s son Leif Shiras made it to the Wimbeldon chamionships in the 1980s). The RTA teams played New Canaan Field Club, Pelham Country Club, Shore and Country Club, and Noroton Manor. The locals won four and lost one match. Mike Newman and I often sought out George for a weekend tennis match.

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Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell’d in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath pass’d away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday;—
Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy

Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
O evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,
This sweet May-morning,
And the children are culling
On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:—
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
—But there’s a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look’d upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

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Some History of Rowayton’s Cannon

Thursday, February 13th, 2014 13 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

The 1959 Sextant was provided by Connie Henry Walley

This is an article published The SEXTANT by the United Church of Rowayton in September, 1959.


Reminding of the Heroic Deeds of our Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Rebellion for the Preservation of the Union.”

So reads the principal inscription on the stone base of the cannon occupying the small triangle of land at the junction of Wilson and Rowayton Avenues. On the western side of the baseis a bronze plate that quietly records the names of 51 young citizens who never returned from World War I. This much of the cannon’s historyis obvious to the interested passer-by. But did you ever wonder where it came from and how it got there? We did.One of the least known and most unappreciated local landmarks is the great iron cannon that commands the northerly approach to our village center.

Establishment of the memorial dates back to 1900, when a group of Rowayton Civil War veterans, members of the Douglas Fowler Post of the G.A.R. in South Norwalk, prevailed upon their parent organization in Washington to provide the gun. As recalled by those familiar with the event, obtaining it was no great problem. Finding a suitable location and mounting the five-ton weapon, however, took a bit of doing.

A Gun Committee, which had been formed to accept and maintain the field-piece, held many meetings to work out these problems. The more serious one, obtaining a site, was solved when Elias Pennoyer, owner of the house at 168 Rowayton Ave., agreed to give the community a portion of his front lawn. According to the minutes of the original Gun Commity, know in the hands of Capt. Frank Stevens, the little park was deeded, without cost, “for the sole and only purpose of erecting thereon a memorial dedicated to the deceased soldiers and sailors of Rowayton.”

The deed specifies that the property shall be held by nine trustees, to be selected as required by those remaining or surviving. In addition to Captain Stevens, a member of the original group, the other trustees currently are Edgar L. Raymond, Edgar D. Lynch, and I. H. Kiggins. (Thus it is fitting that grand-daughter Kathy Kiggins is shown in the second picture below at about the time this Sextant article was published. CL).

The gun itself appears to be a coast artillery piece developed around 1860-63 by Robert Parrott, on of the nations first and most illustrious ordnance experts. With a bore of 6 1/2 inches and a barrel about 12 feet long, it fired a 100-pound prjectile a maximum of 8400 yards at a 5 degree elevation. Although there have been other less charitable explanations, its size seems to explain adequately why the gun points North, as that axis is the only one which permits a symmetrical placement and an attractive approach to the memorial.

The gun was originally mounted on the U.S.S. Tallapoosa, one of  aclass of fifteen “double-enders” of 1175 tons, completed in 1863, apparently to enforce the highly effective Union blockade of Confederate commerce. The Tallapoosa carried two such guns, in addition to other lighter armament.

Little is recorded of the Tallapoosa’s naval career except that she did not have a climatic ending like her sister ship, the Otrego (this name is smugged so unsure about the “r”), which was set afire by Conferate guns in the Roanoke River in 1864. Her chief claim to recognition lies rather in the factthat she outlived her sisters, which were all retired by 1870, remaining in service until 1892. This explains the success of the Committee in obtaining the Parrott gun thirty five years after the end of the Civil War. How many other such cannon may still be found across the land is an interesting question.

They were, in any event, noted for their wonderful durability during the Civil War and added luster to the name of their inventor. A New Hamshireman, born in 1804, Parrott was a graduate of West Point in 1824, saw service aganinst the Creek Indians, and subsequently taught mathematics and physics at the Military Academy. In 1836 he resigned from the service to become superintendent of the West Point Iron & Cannon Foundry at nearby Cold Spring, New York.

In addition to his fame as an inventor and manufacturer, Parrott was noted – fittingly, in view of the destiny of the gun – for a rare lack of greed and evident unwillingness to take personal advantage of the needs of the Army. He severed his connection with the foundry in 1867 and died on Christmas Eve a decade later.

For all its notable history, the 97-year old gun (now 142 years old in 2014) has suffered a number of monumental indignities during its residence in Rowayton. Most especially it has been the target of youthful fun-seekers. On one occasion the gun was turned into a king-size teeter-totter when too many youngsters crowded onto the muzzle end. Another favorite halloween prank revolved around one William Huyler, an earlier occupant pf the white house on Bee Hive Corner.

Huyler had served in Hawkins’ Zouaves, a colorful Civil War regiment, and was something of a martinet. Although small in stature, he is remembered for his peppery personality, parade-ground voice, and distinguished shock of iron-gray hair. A military dandy, with a highly developed patriotism, he was prone to call to account anyone he observed showing the slightest disrespect to the flag or otherwise behaving in a manner which he did not approve. Every Halloween for years, the youngsters of the village painted “General Bill Huyler” in bold letters on both sides of the barrel.

In earlier days, pyramids of cannon balls (which incidently did not fit the gun) once graced each corner of the stone mounting. Youngsters have rolled many of them into the Five Mile River, and during World War II a junk man was caught trying to make off with some of them. Only a solitary sphere remains in place.

Interest in the gun and affection for it have been reviving recently, however.  Following a report at the Civic Association meeting this Spring that it was in need of maintenance, an energetic feminine trio of Anne Henry, Otis Griffiths, and Grace Lichtenstein gave it a new coat of black paint, the latter together with brushes, donated by Jack Harding.

The top picture of the cannon was provided by Jane Smith Graham. The lower picture was provided by Kathy Wilmot Pinto. Here is Kathy Kiggins in 1959, granddaughter of I. H. Kiggins who was on the original committee which acquired the cannon. Kathy lived on Rowayton Avenue near the Darien line as a kid and married Tony Macri.

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RowaytonKid’s Years at the Pauling Institute in the 1980s

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

See the second article of a two-part series on my work at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto in the 1980s published at Oregon State’s Pauling Blog honoring their alumnus and two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling.

Becki is featured in this part. The first part was published last Wednesday.

See the first article of a two-part series on my work at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto in the 1980s published at Oregon State’s Pauling Blog honoring their alumnus and two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling. The second part will be published next Wednesday.


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Dick Willmott

Sunday, January 12th, 2014 one Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

Dick Willmott lived on Ledge Road near Johnny Wrigley and Jimmy Coates. Dick , Lenny Calendriello, Paul Tebo, Rick Amon, Jim Coates and I were good friends and had many memorable moments together. The last time I saw Dick, he was living with girlfriend or wife and new baby in an apartment in Stamford. This was in December 1966 when I had started grad school. I have lost touch with Dick and have always wondered how he was doing. He went to Yale and I believe he was an aspiring writer. He had been a voracious reader when he managed the gate at Bayley Beach.

The picture below is his yearbook picture at Norwalk High in 1961. He ran cross-country for three years. In my senior year I joined the team to get in shape for tennis in the spring. I uncovered the Norwalk hour clippings in an envelop that was stashed with all of my family photographs kept by my mother. These race results show that I was always a step behind Dick. Frankly I am surprised that I was that close behind because I wasn’t swift by any means. I usually felt completely spent by the end of the race which varied in distance from 2.5 to 3.5 miles. The state championship race was 5 miles. We used to practice on a seven mile course. The longer the race was the better I did. Knowing that I could run long distance came in handy for a college stunt that I won’t go into here. If anyone has information about Dick, please share.

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Skating on the Five Mile River in the 50s

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 5 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Jim Coates

This recent cold snap reminded of the times when the Five Mile River froze over and we could ice skate on it. Our parents probably did not know we were doing it as the salt water ice would crack behind you as you skated along. It also gave you no warning when it would give way. It was somewhat difficult to get on as the shore ice would be broken up because of the tides so you had find a float that was not pulled up. My father used to tell a story that he remembered one winter that the Sound froze half to the light house. Maybe others have other tales.

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Stefan and Marion Schnabel – Marion is gone too

Saturday, January 4th, 2014 9 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

See daughter-in-law Wendy’s comment below.

from Crick

Stefan and Marion lived on Pennoyer Street in a house one or two down from Billy Parks. Stefan played the father of Barbara Cooke, the heroine, in “Plain and Fancy” on Broadway in the mid-50s. Here’s a photo (below; Marion is to the left) from Life Magazine with Stefan and Barbara on the right after the Amish community erected a barn. His role was major, and he even sang solos. It was a terrific hit. I went to this show, my first, which left me with indelible memories. After the show, we went back-stage to see Stefan in his dressing room. He later (in the early 60s) starred in the Three Penny Opera in German which was also a hit on Broadway. I discovered the picture below while cleaning out some drawers at my parents house recently.


One memorable experience with Marion and Stefan happened in June of 1966. They invited me to a barbecue at their house on Pennoyer Street. I was about to leave for the summer to travel around Europe on my own and they wanted to give me some advice for my travels. I remember only one piece of advice. Stephan recommended a restaurant in Munich, “Meine Schwester und ich” (translated “My sister and I”). So I took off from Idlewild Airport and flew to Frankfurt over night then hopped a train to Munich. I was exhausted from the trip when I arrived in Munich so I found a hotel near the train station and took a nap. I arose in the late afternoon. Then feeling a little lonely, I hailed a cab and asked to be taken to Meine Schwester und ich. It was still a little early when I arrived at the restaurant for dinner so I was the only patron in a long narrow dining room. I was led down the aisle with single tables on either side and placed at a table at about the middle of the room. I ordered goulash soup, the only dish I recognized on the menu. While waiting to be served, I noticed that there were many framed photographs on the wall. Then I looked to my right to the picture next to me. It was Stefan’s “actor photo” the same one that I had at home. I was both amused by this and comforted in my lonely state. After dinner with Stefan at Meine Schwester und ich I hailed another cab and went off to the Hofbrauhaus.

Stefan and Marion visited us at the farm in Woodstock from Switzerland near Lake Como in the late 1990s during a gibbous moon. I remember the conversation because dad and Stefan argued incessantly about whether the “G” was hard or soft. Stefan took the side of “Gee”. Stefan died about 10 years ago. More recently Marion called before my father passed away and recently to ask for some momentos that my mother and father had saved for her including the picture above which she wanted to give to her grandchildren.

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Mike Farrell Reminisces About Rusty and Carol Fairchild and Rowayton in the 40s, 50s, and 60s

Monday, December 30th, 2013 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Mike Farrell

I just stumbled upon this website “rowaytonkids.com” and came across the above news about Rusty Fairchild. As a long ago resident of Rowayton – 7 Milton Place and 124 Rowatyon Avenue – I knew Rusty and his sister Carol well. As a kid I sometimes stayed at Rusty’s house after school since my mother worked and it was a fun arrangement. Later on when I returned from a four year hitch in the Navy I remember talking with both Rusty and his spouse (and sister Carol) when Rusty rented a small apartment just down the sidewalk from our house next to Louie’s. I am sorry to hear of his passing and the circumstances are strange and almost unbelievable. Carol, I knew you were close to your brother and sent our blessings to his family.

I lived in Rowayton from 1942 until I graduated grad school in January 1971. Obviously, I was away in the service, college and graduate school for a few years but always remember the wonderful environment we lived in. It was a small-town atmosphere, and everyone knew each other…and we walked to Rowayton school during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.

We currently live in Lake Forest, IL just north of Chicago about 30 miles. I have been married to Karen for 45 years.

Our best to the Fairchild family. We look back and remember the great times after school at your house…and I still remember your mom listening to the soaps on her radio while we played down below in the entrance area and driveway area of your red shingled house.

Best to all, Mike and Karen Farrell

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Lenny Calandriello – 1943-2011 – RowaytonKid of the Year

Saturday, December 28th, 2013 6 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

I was saddened to find Lenny Calandriello’s obit while I was searching for him related to the football story below. Since Lenny was born in November 1943 and had an older brother, Jack, I’m quite sure this is the RowaytonKid we grew up with. That’s Lenny’s high school graduation picture in 1961. He would have been 70 in November. A picture at the top shows Lenny, Danny Pack, and me in nursery school. I remember going to Cub Scouts at Lenny’s house on Highland Avenue.

His obit stated the following: “Leonard J. Calandriello, 67, husband of Alice Amaturo Calandriello of East Haven passed away January 31, 2011. Father of Alisa (David) Zambory of Hamden and Laura (Shawn) Robinson of Valrico, FL. Grandfather of Isabella Zambory, Jake and Hayley Robinson. Son of the late John and Maria Caseria Calandriello. Brother of John “Jack” (Carmela) Calandriello of Westport. Leonard was a Business Manager for the Yale School of Medicine for 30 years. He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam Conflict.”

A few summers after we graduated from NHS Lenny and I drove down to Portchester to a bar we frequented. After we had a few drinks, we left the bar out the back door and were surrounded by about six goons. Apparantly I had irritated one of them by something I had said in the bar. Lenny cocked his fist and stared them down telling them that he was a black belt in karate. Even I believed him, and the six attackers backed up and slithered away.

On another ocassion during one of those summers Dick Willmott, Lenny, and I took a rowboat with a small motor out the Five Mile River on a Saturday and motored across Long Island Sound. We parked the boat at a beach and hitch-hiked across Long Island to Fire Island. We had quite a night in the small town there and then caved in a life guard shack on Ocean Beach. We motored back to Rowayton Sunday afternoon in a somewhat disheveled state.

The kids from Rowayton school at my house in November or December 1954 minus Dick Wilmont and me in the picture, left to right: Billy Jenkins, Lenny, Johnny Fogel (front), Paul Tebo, Rick Amon, Pete Love (front);back row, Sue Harris, Patty Dawson, Roussie Flora; front row, Connie Henry, Joan Kuchman, Margo Baumgarten, and Pam Jones. ..and our cat, Stop.

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Jerry Fishman and RowaytonKid Lenny Calandriello – NHS Football

Saturday, December 28th, 2013 2 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From John

Since Woodstock Academy and UConn are so into football I thought that I would try to tell the story of Jerry Fishman, a phenomenal athlete at Norwalk High in the graduating class of 1961, my class. First, I did not know Jerry personally probably because I wasn’t on the football, track, and baseball teams. I can recall one afternoon when there was both a track meet and a baseball game going on at the same time. There was Jerry throwing the shotput and discus in his catchers outfit.

Jerry was very noticeable as an athlete at Norwalk High and his football team was a continuous clique of jocks that hung together. One fellow RowaytonKid and childhood friend, Len Calandriello (see Len in the team picture; he lived on Highland Avenue), was the starting offensive guard in front of Jerry, the fullback (see Jerry in the team picture). Jerry was also a linebacker on the defensive side. Len was the smallest guy on the team but built like a rock. He was actually a little shorter than me (5′7″) but I learned early-on something about Len’s toughness when I tried to make a flying tackle in a sandlot game at the old school grounds in Rowayton.

After spitting out parts of my front upper teeth I was carted off to Norwalk Hospital to see if I had a broken jaw. Len’s knee changed my smile for life and I gave him a nice scar to remember me by. I wish I could make contact with Len to ask him a few questions about Jerry.

From afar I had seen evidence that Jerry could be a bully but the story is more complicated than that. I also noticed that Jerry and the football team embraced Russell Brown as a team manager (Russell was a special person who joined my class in 7th grade). I now speculate that Jerry, who apparantly played with much emotion, was selective about who he did not like. He reacted adversely to athletes and their cohorts who seemed to put on airs about their prowess and importance.

This emotional response catalyzed two remarkable acheivements (one might be called a questionable acheivement) that I personally witnessed, and that are still remembered and talked about today. One was when Norwalk High played their arch rival, Danbury High in Danbury on Thanksgiving Day 1960. The second was when Maryland played Navy in an intense interstate rivalry facetiously known as the Crab Bowl in 1964 (in honor of the delectable Chesapeake Bay crabs). These two events were memorialized in Connecticut and Maryland newspapers on their 50-year anniversaries and probably every other 10-year anniversery. So having witnessed them both and now understanding the Maryland event better, I understand why they should be remembered. Danbury and the Midshipmen would become the victims of Jerry’s wrath.

On November 24th 1960 we all went to Danbury which at the time seemed like the end of the earth. I rarely ever went north of Norwalk in those years. NHS had not beaten Danbury in 10 years in a rivalry that began in 1908. Danbury had a 7-1 record (9-0 the previous year) and NHS was 1-6-2 (2 ties). We were used to being slaughtered every year by Danbury as NHS was a perennial loser. I never figured out why NHS (in a city of 55,000) could not win at least half of their games but I don’t recall the team having a winning season (look at this year too). Apparantly having Fishman and his brother, Alan, wasn’t enough.

NHS beat Danbury that day 30-14. There was, for the most part, only one play - Jerry Fishman up the middle behind Len and the other guard. Fishman ran the ball 50 times and gained 342 yards (almost seven yards a carry), a Danbury city record that stands today. It was astonishing to watch. A few years later Len told me that after each offensive play Fishman would return to the huddle and say ‘Give it to me again.’ He scored three of the four touchdowns and several two-point coversions. I can’t imagine the beating he took but remember watching from close to the goal line in disbelief. He gave the entire Danbury team a beating as well which they could do nothing to stop. In one play, for example, Fishman dragged three Danbury tacklers on his body for 20 yards. This feat is even more remarkable because Jerry played every play of the game with no rest – he was the linebacker on defense and the kicker too. The title in the Danbury newspaper was “‘Norwalk’s Fishman Pulverizes Danbury.” (see the story in the Norwalk Hour HERE first published in 2010).

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Rusty’s Gone

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 2 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Jeff

Russell D. Fairchild
Wilton Resident
Russell D. Fairchild, age 71 of Wilton, beloved husband of Mary (Ryan) Fairchild for 53 years, died on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 at Norwalk Hospital. Born in Norwalk, he was son of the late Lester Ellison and Rosalie (Russell) Fairchild. Russell was a retired Norwalk Fire Captain serving Norwalk for 25 years. Russell enjoyed the outdoors and took great pride in his home. He loved spending time with his wife and their cats. He is also survived by 4 sons: John (Linda), Douglas (Michelle), Daniel (Jaci) and Michael Fairchild, 4 grandchildren; Allison, Kailee, Emilee and Jonathan, as well as a sister, Carol Smith of Montana, and 2 nephews, Chris and Russell Smith.
His family will receive friends on Tuesday, Dec 17 from 4 to 8PM at the Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Ave, Norwalk.

Rusty’s final days were difficult.

Hi Jeff, I have sad news. Rusty Fairchild died yesterday. About 6 weeks ago, he was at the dump in Wilton and a 91 year old man drove his car into Rusty and pinned him between 2 cars. He ran over Rusty’s legs and he broke one leg and had to have surgery. The other leg was badly damaged and had to have over 300 stitches to repair it. After a few days in the hospital, he was able to come home. … Yesterday morning, Russ felt dizzy. They called the Ambulance, and when they got to the house, Rusty went into cardiac arrest, and died on the way to the hospital. Sorry I have such bad news at Christmastime, ….

Best Regards, Dan

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RowaytonKid’s Kid’s Kid 70 years 3 Months Apart in Age

Saturday, December 14th, 2013 2 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

Our daughter, Mariah (25), had her first child, Ellisyn Grace (7lbs. 13 ounces; 21 inches) , with husband, Zane Hornsby, at Backus Hospital in Norwich on Thursday. They just moved to Gale’s Ferry next to Groton CT. Zane will join the crew of the sub, Springfield, on Monday as their Chief Petty Officer. Ellie is my 11th grandchild.

Thanks Jane, It’s great having then so near. We will have dinner with them tonight. Here is a good picture of Ellisyn just born and already wearing her Texas Longhorn head warmer.

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Brien McMahon Class of 1965 20th Reunion

Sunday, December 8th, 2013 2 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Jane

These are photos of Rowayton friends at the Brien McMahon Class of 1965 20th Reunion
1) Dee Libby & King Wilson
2) Jane Smith, Teddy Thompson, Judy Voohees and Bea Waddill
3) Lyn Hegeman Bea Waddill and Dick Kreager
4) Maggie Eaton & Jim Adkins
5) John Emig & Teddy Thompson
6) Judy Voohees and Pete Driscoll

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Suzi Cornbrooks of Bell Island and Crick Circa 1950

Friday, December 6th, 2013 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

Here’s Grandfather Leland Magill hooking up the surrey to Sparta at the farm in McLean VA so that he could give cousin Suzi Cornbrooks and me a ride. Grandfather was a wonderful caring grandfather to me. I describe some of Grandfather’s impressive accomplishments at http://miltongardens.com/ .

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Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 29th, 2013 one Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

RowaytonKids Peter Leavitt and Crick Leavitt get together for Thanksgiving. Last night we had dinner at Mariah’s and Zane’s new house at Gales Ferry next to Groton CT. Zane is a Chief Petty Officer on the USS Springfield (attack sub), just tranferred from Norfolk. Mariah is 38 weeks pregnant. At the dinner table below, Mariah is in the forefront with Zane, then Janette and Peter Leavitt, then me and Becki. Tonight, Friday the 29th, we are having a fresh turkey, adding Danielle Frate and Seth (shown on Crick’s page). Danielle is RowaytonKid Phoebe Leavitt’s daughter with Bill Frate (Darien News store).

Mariah with Uncle Peter’s Turkey in 1993.

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The Day Kennedy Died

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

This is the only day in history I can think of on which I can remember where I was and what I was doing when something important happened – the day John F. Kennedy was assasinated. Needless to say I was surprised and shocked. This happened on Friday, November 22, 1963.

I heard in the news yesterday that only a third of the current population of the United States was alive 50 years ago. Based upon the 2010 census, this number is actually less than 32.1% or <99,100,000 people. I asked a colleague at work who was 12 years old at the time if he remembered the day and he said his sixth grade teacher announced that Kennedy had been killed to the class on that day. If we assume that children under 10 were not emotionally affected by learning of the assassination, only <19.5% or <60,200,000 people that live today were affected by this event. Back then in 1963 there were only 189,300,000 people in the United States, about 61% of the population today. Although only about half of the population voted for Kennedy in the Presidential election I am sure that most in the nation and world experienced profound sadness. Kennedy had captivated us with his charm and eloquence. Much of his popularity was due to Jackie and the two kids, John John and Caroline, and their presence in the White House. This is not unlike the Obamas in the White House today putting aside today’s politics. There was great pride back then in our President and his family.

At the time, Marilyn Monroe and JFK’s philandering were not a part of the story. When those stories started to seep out, I asked my father how he felt about it and he responded, “He’s only human.” That response has stuck in my mind too because he was probably talking about himself as much as JFK.

Listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio for about 10 minutes yesterday reminded me that some are re-writing history of the Kennedy legacy. They can’t stand the idea that Nixon lost to Kennedy – never mind Watergate – and that Kennedy was a Democrat and a Catholic. When Kennedy got to Dallas that day, we were already aware of hate for Jews, Blacks, and Catholics alike that was especially visible in Dallas. It’s really too bad that we will never know what was running through Oswald’s mind leading up to the dastardly act, but this probably has nothing to do with Dallas. I’ve been in Dallas a bunch of times, but it never entered my mind to drive over to that place where Kennedy was shot.

On November 22, 1963, a nice day, I took a train from Darien to Grand Central Station to have lunch with my parents. They were staying at the Biltmore hotel and were planning to go to the theatre that night. I had left college in my junior year to take the year off. This was a good move for me given the positive things in my life that resulted from this hiatus in my formal education. We had lunch at the Biltmore and then dad went back to work a few blocks away and mom and I went up to their room. We got into the elevator along with a gentleman and as the doors were shutting, someone outside uttered ‘Kennedy has been shot.’ As the elevator began to rise the gentleman said that ‘It’s a bad joke.’ We got to the room and I turned on the TV to see if it was true. Walter Cronkite was already there telling us what he could.

I decided to walk over to Times Square to experience the reaction to the news. I recall that there was a lot of frenetic scurreying as pedestrians tried to find out the facts and perhaps find a safe haven. The scrolling news feed on the Times building said that Kennedy and Texas Governor Connally had been shot in a motorcade in Dealey Plaza at 12:30 PM eastern standard time. Dealey Plaza, unknown to easterners at the time, became a place that everyone could visualize from that day on.

TV was reporting minute by minute the events as they unfolded. People were huddled around store fronts that had TVs in their windows. Everything changed that afternoon as Johnson was swarn in as President. It was Johnson with the help of McNamarra who escalated the Vietnam War over the ensuing years. Oswald had taught disgruntled activists how to assassinate the politicians they did not like, and riots developed that led to the burning of inner cities.

I have one more memory of that day. After a few hours of hovering around Times Square, I made it back to Grand Central to catch a commutor train back to Darien. I walked down the platform to the Bar Car. As I climbed the stairs onto the train, I overheard a conversation that astonished me. A business man in a suit with drink in hand said ‘He deserved to be killed!” I just moved on.

By early 1971 I had gotten back on track and rolled into Johns Hopkins in downtown Baltimore to start a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer research. The setting was reminescent of the northeast emerging from a war because the destruction was still evident around the medical center. I had survived the turmoil of the 1960s with the help of Dylan, Thelonius Monk, and the Beetles.

For those of us who were alive then, the impact of the Kennedy assassination was of the same magnitude as 9/11, if not greater.

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The Spring of ‘63

Friday, November 22nd, 2013 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

This was the Spring before President Kennedy was assassinated. I’m one of those people who remembers exactly where I was and what I was doing on November 22nd 1963. I’ll try and write that up today. This was the beginning of an important year for me. So to warm up, this is where I was in the Spring of that year. But of course, much more important things happened that year.

from Crick

This week or last week (February 2012), a controversy surrounding the identities of the voting members of the Movie Academy arose mentioning one derogotory example who was a nun. I thought to myself, ‘This must be Dolores’ … Dolores Hart. A few days later the news caught up with the controversy and confirmed that the nun was Dolores … a beautiful young woman, then and today.

Here’s a picture of Dolores with one of my favorite actors, Montgomery Clift, in “Lonelyhearts” (1958). My favorite Montgomery Clift movie is “Wild River” (1960) with Lee Remick which portrayed life in Appalachia, much like it existed in West Virginia where I went to college. The second picture is Dolores today, still a beautiful woman.

Thinking of Dolores jogged my memory to an experience in my youth when I was a sophomore at Bethany College in West VA – the ‘small college of extinction’ – my frat brothers preferred saying, derived from a sign-post on the main road which then stated “Bethany College, Small College of Distinction.” Now I see they’ve added the word “National” to the phrase… Hmmm, Small College of National Extinction? Fifty years in retrospect, it was a fine place to be which prepared me for a significant career in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. I have recalled the experience in the early spring of 1963 often and fondly but never thought of bringing it up until Dolores came back in my life this week.

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The Last Time I Was In Louie’s

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Peter Leavitt

It’s funny. With all the fond memories of Louie’s does anyone remember Louie? Anyone who delivered the Norwalk Hour picked them up at Louie’s. I inherited Crick’s route which was as exciting as it gets, my first job. When the Holidays came, you couldn’t wait to get those extra tips.

I remember being down in the basement on Bryan Road at about 7 pm way after paper delivery time. Mom came down and said “Peter, did you deliver your papers?” Oh CRAP, she must have been getting calls. “WERE IS OUR PAPER?” That night she drove me around on my deliveries which were usually done by bike unless it rained.

Back to Louies. I have to confess that in the closet on a dresser in mom and dad’s room was a tray with change in it. I would steal, yes steal (there is no other way to say it), quarters from the tin; then go down to Louie’s and buy baseball cards with the bubble gum pack for a quarter. I would end up with a giant wad of gum in my mouth.

The last time I was in Louie’s I said “Hi” to a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I heard he had gotten a job at Louie’s. When I went into the store, all I could utter was “hi.” I didn’t know what to say. He said hello from behind the counter and asked how I was doing. Everyone in Rowayton knew of Eric Lund’s leukemia. He died shortly after in 1972. He was a good friend.

My sixth grade class at Rowayton School: Here is the order from left to right, top row to bottom of some of my classmates: Me (Bryan Rd), Chappy Bradford (Ridgewood Rd), Chan Davis, Eric Lund (Rowayton Beach), Debbie Slocum, Jane Pemberthy (Wilson Ave near Highland Ave), Andy Jackson (Highland Ave), Chris Alk, Tony Wilson (Witch Lane in Brooke Maury’s old house), may be Nancy Anderson, Billy Lee (Rowayton Beach), and Rickie Hayes. Eric’s mom Doris Lund wrote the book “Eric” about his struggle with leukemia which was made into a movie.

From Crick: Peter on his prized Harley in 1968 at our house on Bluff Ave (below).

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Louies Update- The Way the Store Looked in the 1960s and Now

Monday, October 28th, 2013 10 Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Kathy

This is a great shot of Louies, how I remember it. The TV repair place was right next door. We used to sit out in front and smoke our cigarettes (then our parents would come by and catch us!). It was a hangout for all of us. I remember John and Louie, 5 cent candy bars, 10 cents for ice cream, and the comic book section. My mother would always send me there for milk and bread. I can still hear the creak of the front door and the squeaking wood floors! Thanks for posting this, it really brings back some fun memories.

from Crick

RowaytonKids has been looking for a picture of Louies since its inception. This photo is compliments of Tupper (Lloyd Rex Gatten). Although this picture was likely taken in the 1960s, this is pretty much how I recall Louies in the 1950s. Paul Tebo and I would bike to Louies on the corner of Rowayton Ave and McKinley Ave to pick up our paper route bundles of The Norwalk Hour which were tossed by the delivery man in front of Louies daily. We each had about 42 papers to deliver. Paul would buy a coke and Little Lulu comic books and I would get a Pepsi or Yogi Berra’s favorite drink and Superman comics at Louies. Louies was a kid’s ideal of a store. No pretenses.

From Dirk Kretschman

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My Childhood Friend and RowaytonKid, Judy Beatty, Gets Polio

Thursday, October 10th, 2013 No Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

From Crick

My childhood friend Judy gets polio in 1949. Her story is here. I believe that is me in the fifth picture down. I am blowing bubbles at Judy’s 7th birthday party in 1949.

“One Saturday in late August, we all went to the beach. I had a cold. I remember my mother and father spreading out a blue plaid blanket on the warm sand, and the sparkling water and bright sun, and my mother calling out to me as I ran toward the water, “Don’t go in; you’ll get polio.” We didn’t know anyone who had it. But even so, I tried to be a good girl. I just dipped my toes in the water.”

This interview is by Tammy Pilisuk, MPH
Health Educator
Immunization Branch
Division of Communicable Disease Control
Center for Infectious Disease
California Department of Public Health
850 Marina Bay Parkway, Bldg. P, 2nd Floor
Richmond, CA 94804

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Norwalk High’s 1960 and 1961 Tennis Teams Led By RowaytonKids

Sunday, September 29th, 2013 one Commented Categorized Under: RowaytonKids.com 1940s, 1950s, 1960s

from Crick – This important history was recovered because the clippings below washed up in a bottle at Bayley Beach recently :-)

Spring 1960: Three RowaytonKids are in this picture – Johnny Wrigley, Mike Newman, and me. Mike Newman, who played number one that year, took Sue Emrich to the 1960 prom. Bob Hodge moved over to Brian McMahon the following year and had to play me at number one; sadly he became the victim of the famous ‘malt shot’ :-) (explained below the picture) – the invention of Coach Alcock who was also a Biology teacher.

“Then there was the ‘malt shot’. The tennis coach had created the ‘malt shot’ to get us to hit the opposition between the legs when they dared to come to the net. If we achieved this questionable accomplishment, we earned a free ‘malt’ at the nearest soda counter. So Brian McMahon HS, in their first year of existence, came to NHS with their tall number one, Bob Hodge, with a very big head that was a better target than his you know what. I nailed him, though, and received a free malt. The problem with the coach’s method of teaching was that we all developed fear of playing at the net … for life, because of the dreaded malt shot.”

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