Looking Back: Boredom and no TV

Stephen Handy’s farmhouse, that he had spent the last six years renovating, burned to the ground 25 years ago this week. More was lost in the fire than just a farmhouse.

“Among Mr. Handy’s fire losses are collections – antiques, architectural engravings, oriental rugs and African art... ‘I would have sat and looked at them, and every once in awhile remembered when I got them,’” he said.

However, Handy was optimistic about the large task of rebuilding.

“‘You can’t really own a house,’ he said. ‘You buy it, you own the right to live in it. But it’s part of a community. If I rebuild it, and do a good job, it’ll be part of the community — maybe next time for a hundred years.’”

The Ridgefield High School Class of 1992, 240 people in all, graduated. “This class can be called, academically, the finest class to graduate from Ridgefield High School,” Principal Joseph Ellis said. “‘Enjoy the next four years because it’ll be over before you know it,’ a stern adult intones, looking very much like he’s forgotten entirely how to enjoy anything.” Along with them, the class celebrated the life of Nicholas De Rosa, killed their freshman year when he was struck by a car, but remembered in their thoughts and in a scholarship made in his name.

First Selectman Sue Manning and Finance Director Robert Stout were accused by Attorney William Laviano, representing ex-data processing manager Paul Maresca, of “‘papering’ his client’s personnel file to justify his dismissal,” stuffing it with “complaints and negative assessments.” First Selectman Manning was questioned about contradicting complaints that had been filed, and Laviano was planning to call more witnesses to testify about the nature of the complaints and documents in the file.

Laura Sandler, a nine-year-old Ridgefield resident, had some advice to fight summer boredom. “Laura says kids can catch frogs, go on a picnic, make a pretend store, make an Indian village, play circus, play college, make paper bag puppets, or dress up in parents’ clothes (ask permission first!), or put on a play.”

50 years ago

A New Rochelle, N.Y., man was “charged in federal court in New York on June 8 with attempting to break up by violence the marriage of a Danbury couple.” He refused to stop his advances on the wife. The violence included threatening that the husband would “be killed and your body never found, just like the Cosa Nostra in Lakewood (N.J.).” He also sent “goons” after the wife, where they “threatened to ‘wipe out’ the whole family, [her husband’s parents and her four children from a previous marriage], if [she] did not come away with them. She refused to go.”

RHS student Jeff Brooks collided with fellow student Pamela Bennett’s car in the RHS parking lot. Reportedly, Brooks had been eating an apple. It was confirmed by police that a partly eaten apple was seen near the crash.

One opinion piece discussed the effects of a TV-oriented society after news that TV reception would be temporarily interrupted by the building of the World Trade Center in New York City.

“Fairfield County people have become accustomed to a selection of eight television stations... [Without TV], many families may soon have to return to those antediluvian, pre-Marconi days when people entertained themselves. A few families might even get to know each other. Books, long left collecting dust in some decorative bookcase, may lead some, especially the youngsters, to realize that all stories don’t need pictures to be enjoyable.” Sound familiar?