Looking Back: Fireworks, flying saucers and miniskirts

Elizabeth Leonard, a member of the Board of Selectmen and part of Ridgefield political service for three decades, was planning to officially resign the following week due to poor health, the Press reported on July 2, 1992.

“Mrs. Leonard announced her decision in a telephone interview from her room in Danbury Hospital. She was hospitalized June 18 with a collapsed lung and has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

“‘It was fun and I will miss it,’ she said.”

A letter was sent in to the editor asking for the brand new Ridgebury Elementary School sign to be returned after it was stolen by parties unknown. “It was a source of pride for the children who attended this school…Please, whoever has this sign, return it to the lawn near the school. Let these children come back to school the same way they left it in June.”

A health piece warned of the dangers of fireworks ahead of Fourth of July celebrations. A few important guidelines were given, including:

“Children should never be allowed to handle or ignite explosive fireworks; Do not put firecrackers in bottles, tin cans or under clay pots, as these objects can shatter and shoot fragments into the eye; in case of injury, do not press, rub, or touch the eye. Seek immediate care at a hospital emergency room.”

50 years ago

Ridgefield might not be Area 51, but in 1967 two women claimed to have seen unidentified flying objects.

“It was a flying saucer,” Mrs. Dallas Cline said. “It started as a small light with a white glow surrounding it. It grew until it looked like an oval moon surrounded by a white pulsating glow.”

Mrs. Andrew Vena spotted a cigar shaped object in the sky elsewhere in Ridgefield.

“Along its side, it had lights which flashed off and on…It gave me a funny feeling knowing that while I was watching they were probably watching me.”

Cline put out a request, “If anyone else saw this I wish they’d call me so we can compare notes.”

Vena attempted to contact the police, “They listened very politely and after all I know what I had seen.”

Ridgefield High School celebrated its 117 graduates, the largest class it had ever seen.

Robert Heyward Davis gave the class speech, discussing the dangers of superficiality.

He ended with this assertion: “But what is even more important is that we are entering into this newness, not as a stereotyped group or a classified percentage, but we are entering into this newness, as individuals.”

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower made the commencement speech at the Shipley School for Girls in Pennsylvania. He had a great deal to say about current female fashion.

He voiced a “judgment on the miniskirt which he objects to on the grounds that ‘ankles are nearly always neat and good-looking but knees are nearly always not.’”

Yet, as the reporter noted, “No man has bothered to look at a girl’s ankle since about 1910.”

In anticipation of the Fourth of July celebrations, an ad was placed in the paper. Massive font read, “‘Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.’ — Thomas Paine — July marks the 191st anniversary of our freedom. For freedom to survive, men and women must be willing to vote, to serve, to support.”