Ridgefield happenings: Historical Society preserves WWII stories, MOMs Club seeks new members

Ridgefield Historical Society hopes to raise money for 2023 Fairfield County Giving Day

Fairfield County Giving Day is Feb. 23, when organizations throughout the area will be asking for support. The Ridgefield Historical Society hopes to raise $4,100 that day to preserve and make more available the stories of 41 Ridgefielders who served their country in the military or in the defense industry during World War II.

Here’s a sample:

"I saw this thing and I said, ‘That thing will never float.’ Heck, I [had] never seen anything bigger than rowboats in Lake Mamanasco. I never saw nothing that big in my life. They had 3,000 men on there, three football fields long. It was a big ship."

That’s a story Jim Principi (1925-2006) told friends and family many times. He was describing his first view of the U.S.S. Intrepid, the ship on which he served as a Marine, starting as a 17-year-old recruit who skipped his senior year at Ridgefield High School to enter military service following Pearl Harbor. 

Jim Principi’s voice and those of many others can still be heard, thanks to an oral history project recorded by Betsy Reid [now Ridgefield Historical Society’s Collection Manager] starting nearly 20 years ago. His recording is one of nearly three dozen in a collection focused on World War II service that the Ridgefield Historical Society would like to have professionally transcribed, both as another way of preserving these personal histories as well as to make these accounts more easily searchable by future historians.

With transcriptions (electronic files and paper copies) as well as the digital recordings, the aim is to ensure the life of these stories, shared by the Greatest Generation. Like all material collected by the Ridgefield Historical Society, they will be securely stored in the climate-controlled vault at the Scott House headquarters and made accessible to researchers through our Past Perfect collections management system.

At the very heart of the Ridgefield Historical Society is our Collection. Vast and varied, it ranges from Revolutionary-era cannonballs to suffragist attire to oral histories to COVID-19 materials and everything in between. In 2023, we're asking for your help and support to make the best use of our World War II oral history collection. Professional transcription will cost about $100 per interview and we are hoping to raise $4,100 on Giving Day.

A challenge to night owls who love history:
Help us win a bonus prize on Feb. 23. From night owls, we ask for midnight donations (Feb. 23 at 12 a.m.). If the Ridgefield Historical Society is among the first 10 organizations to receive 25 individual donations of $25 or more, we’ll win $1,000. To give, visit www.fcgives.org/organizations/ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.

Interior décor and gardening classes available through Ridgefield Continuing Education  

"Starting Plants from Seed inside under Lights" with long-term gardening instructor and gardening expert Eileen Burton provides many tips on how to use correctly a plant light to start vegetables and flowers to save money and get a head start in your garden. Eileen Burton is a former Horticultural Manager for a large non-profit and had a garden design business. This class meets on March 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School.  

In the "Decorating for Less and Design Trends for 2023" workshop, participants will learn how to improve and update rooms using designer tips and discuss ways to decorate on a budget. There will be many images of rooms (including small) that illustrate attractive ways designers have decorated rooms for less, show where you can save money and see how to update with key pieces and accessories. We will also discuss top designers' trends for 2023 from the most popular design magazines, Pinterest, Instagram and so forth; view make-over ideas; and review tips on decorating stylishly for less money. Linda Keefer has taught interior design for over 20 years, has 44,000 followers on her Pinterest design boards and has renovated many area rental homes. This lively, fun and interactive design workshop will be brimming with design inspiration and ideas for your home. This class meets March 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. on Zoom.  

Cost is $31 for either class. Ridgefield seniors age 62 and older and disabled pay $25 per class. Advanced registration is required.  

Visit www.ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

eBay, Cyber Secuirty and Advanced Excel classes available through Ridgefield Continuing Education

eBay, Cyber Security, and Advanced Excel classes are available in March through Ridgefield Continuing Education.  These classes are small to allow for Q&A. 

Do you have stuff you would like to sell? Take "How to Sell Items on eBay," a two-hour Zoom workshop where tech author, journalist, instructor and eBay seller Lance Whitney will show you the tricks and techniques for successful selling on eBay. He covers setting up eBay and PayPal accounts, pricing, and preparing the right items for sale as well as how to list your items to increase your chances of a sale, working with buyers, shipping items, and dealing with any problems that arise. This workshop is March 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. The cost $40 per person.

Take "Cyber Security: How to Protect Yourself on the Internet," an interactive Zoom workshop on March 22 from 1 to 3 p.m. The cost is $40 per person. Lance Whitney will teach you about specific precautions you can take to protect yourself, including how to better safeguard your identity, your personal information, your computer, and your mobile devices when going online.  

Excel Advanced (March 1 and March 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Annex), which covers pivot tables and Excel database features, is also available. The cost is $80 per person.

More sections, plus Excel Intro., PowerPoint, Google Docs, iPhone and Windows classes, are available. Photoshop Elements, iPad, LinkedIn, Word, Publisher and Access tutorials are available. There is a discount available for Ridgefield seniors age 62 and older. For more information, visit www.ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

In-person, Zoom yoga classes available through Ridgefield Continuing Education

Yoga classes, offered in person and via Zoom in Ridgefield Continuing Education help participants develop a practice for core strength and flexibility; build bone density and strength; improve posture and sense of balance, and relieve stress. You’ll do a variety of postures (poses) each week with some variations and breath work and end with meditation and relaxation. All instructors are certified and experienced teachers. 

Vinyasa Flow Yoga on Zoom with Emma Tenley combines a gentle flow Vinyasa with slow and meditative yin yoga. New classes start Feb. 27 and March 2 from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Yoga with Miriam Zernis, who studied in India to become an internationally certified Sivananda Yoga Master, is available on Mondays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and Wednesdays from 8:45 to 9:55 a.m.

You will need a mat, blocks, blanket or towel, and a water bottle. Classes are 7 to 8 sessions and cost $88 to $100. There is a discount available for Ridgefield seniors age 62 and older and for disabled individuals.

Cardio Workouts and Tai Chi are also available. Advanced registration is required. For Winter Spring brochure and more information, visit www.ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 to register.

Line dance classes offered through Ridgefield Continuing Education

"Line Dance for Fun and Exercise" classes in Ridgefield Continuing Education will be starting soon.  

If you know your right from your left and can count to 8, you can line dance and burn fat and calories in the process. 

Instructor Ellen Russow says, “We’ll start with the basics and build from there.  If you’ve been to this course before, come on back, we have new dances lined up for this course.”  

Steve Parker and Ellen Russow have been Line dancing for over 25 years and have taught for 15 years.  

This class meets March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, and on April 8 from 7 to 8 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School. Cost is $75; Ridgefield seniors (age 62 and up) pay $64.  

Students should bring a water bottle and wear leather or suede soled shoes.  Advanced registration is required.  

Cardio Combo, Total Body Reset, Ballroom/Swing, Full Body Workout, Tai Chi, and Yoga are available as well.  

For more information, visit www.ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

MOMs Club of Ridgefield welcomes new members

The MOMs Club of Ridgefield is always welcoming new moms with children of all ages to join a supportive network of local moms and offering a variety of ways to connect with other families in town. The Ridgefield chapter started over 20 years ago and has been a constant source of activities, support and fosters the ability to connect with local moms and their families. 

Member benefits include playgroups for the children by birth year, Moms Night Out events, couples night out and family events, book club, regular programming for the children including arts and crafts, outings to local eateries and shops and so on. In addition, the club focuses on ways to give back to the community and support moms in times of need.

In February, the MOMs Club is hosting a private "Galentines Wine Tasting" with local sommelier Jillian Fontana on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. Limited spots are still available for members.

Local mom and president Laura Holdgrafer says, "When I moved here in 2018, as a clueless first time mom, the MOMs Club introduced me to a whole group of fabulous women and their families as well as endless opportunities to connect with others in the community. I am forever grateful for the impact that this Club has made on my and my family's life."

For more information, please visit our website at www.momsclubofridgefieldct.com/ or shoot us an e-mail at momsclubofridgefield@gmail.com.

Bridge at Ridgefield Station Senior Living

As more active and former Bridge players join our Ridgefield Station community, the game is rising in popularity.

Nationally recognized Bridge player Mike Hess has been teaching the game to our residents every Saturday for the past several months. He alternates the focus of his instruction between experienced and learning players each week while meaningfully engaging anyone who attends. For some, it’s teaching more strategies and techniques, for others it’s a chance to relearn a game they used to love.

Informal bridge games have begun popping up in the community, and resident Warren Elliott has organized a formal game on Sundays, open to all, that is now a recurring part of our activities calendar. EnrichedLIFE Director Scott Schulte says it’s another great indicator of how our community is growing and maturing.

Ridgefield Parks & Recreation offers adult ballroom lessons, 'Good Citizen' classes for puppies and dogs

Enjoy a night out together with a significant other or maybe get ready for wedding season with Ridgefield Parks & Recreation’s Adult Ballroom Lessons. This five-week program starts on March 9 and ends on April 27. Beginner/Advanced Beginner level students will learn the basics of the most popular social and club style dances. They will meet from 7 to 8 p.m. If you are ready to go to the next level, sign up for Intermediate classes that will meet from 8 to 9 p.m. You may register even if you do not have a partner. 

We can all use some etiquette tips, even your dog. Join Sally Bovino for our “Good Citizen” classes for puppies and dogs that will have your four-legged best friend well behaved and ready for the world. Dog Obedience classes start on March 20 and run until May 8. Beginners meet from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and Puppy Kindergarten (for dogs ages three to five months old) meet from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Classes are held inside the Recreation Center or outdoors, weather permitting.

For more details, please visit www.ridgefieldparksandrec.org or call 203-431-2755.