Looking Back: Sex, AIDS all the talk back in ’92

“‘There’s a lot of sex’: Kids talk about AIDS,” read a page one headline 25 years ago, in the March 5, 1992, Ridgefield Press.

“‘I don’t think it scares people in Ridgefield — it’s so sheltered. You think, ‘I’ll never get it,’ said one girl socializing in the high school cafeteria.

“‘Even if there are people in this school (with AIDS), I don’t think it would scare people into not having sex,’ another girl said.

That story was below another announcing, “Officials deny rumors of AIDS at high school.”

School Superintendent Jerry Marcus had announced he would resign and go to Atlanta, Ga., before the start of school the following September.

There was good news for trees.

“‘Counts done in January by Connecticut Agricultural Field Station found no gypsy moth eggs in the 50 places checked in Ridgefield,’ said deputy state entomologist Carol Lemmon. It is believed the gypsy moth killing fungus Entomophaga maimaiga has broken the cycle of caterpillar outbreaks that has plagued the state since the gypsy moth was first found here in 1905.’”

If rumors of AIDs at the high school weren’t enough, East Ridge Middle School Principal Mary Capwell wrote a letter to the editor denying reports (in the anonymous phone-in column ‘Sound Off’) of drugs and violence at what was then the town’s only middle school.

“Occasional fistfights, thefts, possession of dangerous objects, incidents of defiance and the use of profanity occur despite our best efforts to curtail them. … What we do not have here at East Ridge are arrests for the sale of crack, nor stabbings,” Capwell wrote.

50 Years Ago

“Zoners approve site plan for 300 apartment units,” screamed a page one headline in the March 9, 1967, Press. It eventually became Casagmo, 307 units.

Yoga! “Due the success of its first yoga class, and requests to have some more, the Ridgefield Park Commission has made arrangements for two additional classes …”

Republicans, then as now, knew how to raise money: “Pink elephants, sliced sirloin at GOP ball,” read the headline. And the story began: “Republicans danced as Lou Dilisio and his Sophisticates played and pink elephants gamboled on the walls at the sold-out annual Elephant Ball Saturday night.”

Mother Nature put on a winter show: “An ice storm this week coated Ridgefield in crystal for two days, bending birches to the ground and weighing power lines into graceful loops. Road crews worked overtime clearing small branches from the streets and putting over 800 cubic yards of sand on glazed road surfaces.”

The RHS boys basketball team was knocked out of the state (CIAC) tournament by Guilford, despite getting 17 points from Stan Engelhardt and eight from Tom Santini. “Lack of height told the story,” the sports page said.

Columnist Ted Trombla wrote about a national Gallup Poll that found “in a typical week of 1966 approximately 49 million adults attend church in the U.S. This is estimated to be 44% of the entire adult population.” Breakdown by denominations showed church attendance by 68% of Roman Catholics, with Protestants ranging from 43% for Lutherans to 31% for Episcopalians.

“These figures should not necessarily be interpreted to prove that Lutherans are more devout,” the columnist mused. “It is quite possible they are more sinful by nature than Episcopalians and thus are simply given to repentance in greater numbers.”