Looking Back: The case against sandwiches

Ridgefield was officially the best town in Connecticut, this week in 1992 — at least according to a study conducted annually by Connecticut Magazine.

“They’re not telling us anything we didn’t already know,” First Selectman Sue Manning told The Press with a smile.

“Those of us who live here have always felt that way.”

Connecticut Magazine ranked 32 towns and cities with populations between 20,000 and 50,000 persons. Five different criteria were used: quality of public schools, crime rate, local economy, cost of living, and availability of leisure and culture activities.

Ridgefield’s education — called “superb” by the report — was an especial boon to the town’s rating, with 86% of RHS seniors continuing their studies at a four-year university, an “extremely high” percentage, Principal Joseph Ellis said.

Yet, ever-ambitious, the district was still trying to improve its literally top-in-the-state academics, implementing a few last changes before September — and the start of first semester — rolled around.

“East Ridge Middle School will offer a new advanced math course for sixth-graders — pre-algebra,” The Press reported. Only the highest performing students, about 25% of the class, were selected to participate in the new course.

At RHS, a new “Big Brother-Big Sister program” was launched, where 50 upperclassmen each began serving as mentors for five freshmen, in an attempt to help RHS’s newest students complete the tricky transition to the larger institution.

Yet not everyone was looking forward to the first day.

“Three words are written everywhere around this time — stores, newspapers, and TV commercials, enthusiastically promote them without realizing how miserable they can make a student feel. These words are ‘Back to School,’” an RHS junior wrote glumly.

50 years ago

Two break-ins spurred concern about lurking miscreants, this week 50 years ago. In the first — at Digitech Inc., $70 in cash was taken. In the second — at Ridgefield Supply, $170 was stolen. The money is equivalent to approximately $500 and $1,200 today.

A few young boys found a wandering “misty grey” pony roaming the village. The youths brought the foal to the town lost-and-found at the police station, where it was eventually claimed by its owner.

The Press also published a strangely impassioned column, featuring a vitriolic diatribe against none other than the common sandwich.

“An appalling, indigestible, unappetising refuge of the lazy housewife that has haunted the lunchboxes of millions of downtrodden working men and defenseless children,” the author berated the bread-encased lunch.

“The all-time favorite sandwich in our family is made from four large slices of store-bought white bread and a medium-size can of tuna,” he continued.

“Soak the tuna … and leave outdoors to drain overnight. Remove the crusts from the bread … and roll firmly into balls the size of a walnut.”

A final slap in the face to the sandwich followed.

“In the morning, feed the tuna fish to the cat and use bread to remove spots from the wall paper.”