Milford Living Autumn 2021

Page 1

Autumn 2021 Vol. 18 Issue 3 $5.99


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TABLE OF CONTENTS Feature

36

42

Legacy Homes of Milford By Cindy Papish Gerber

Where is It?

A collection of Milford landmarks and icons hidden in plain site.

Departments 4 6 8 10 14 18 20 24 30 48 52 56 60 62 66 70 72

Publisher’s Letter Readers’ Letters At Home Business Milford Wellness Book Nook Jr. Art and Artisans Milford Morsels Destination Downtown At Your Service Education Notebook Historical Perspective Legends and Lore Milford Attic Expressions Greetings from Milford Where is It?

About the cover: A view of the flag at Signal Rock and the Woodmont shoreline. The image was captured by Milford photographer Steven Franko. You can follow Steven’s work at https://stevenfranko.smugmug.com

2021 • Milford Living 1


AUTUMN 2021 VOLUME 18 • ISSUE 3

YOUR LOCAL MILFORD REAL ESTATE CONNECTION! REAL ESTATE | SALES | LEASING | PROPERTY SERVICES

Publisher/President Suzanne Cahill Suzanne@milfordliving.com

Editorial Director Ann McGuire

Art Director Ryan Swanson

Associate Publisher Susan Carroll-Dwyer

Advertising Director Joy Haines

Dawn Puchala and the entire Key Realty team welcome

Account Executive

Tracy Labbe, Realtor and Meg Villano, Realtor

Mary Jo Downs

Contributing Photographers

Visit us at our new location at 163 Broad Street on Milford Green! 203.301.4419 | www.KeyRealtyCT.com

Bill Canfield, Susan Carroll Dwyer, Steven Franko, Shaileen Kelly Landsberg, Sherry Lynn Johnson, Maryalice Manning

Contributing Editors

Tracy Farricker, McKenzie Granata

Contributing Writers

Sophia Avitabile, Suzanne Cahill, Cheryl Cappiali, Susan Carroll Dwyer, Susan Glennon, Shaileen Kelly Landsberg, Lillian Finch, Marilyn May, Ann McGuire, Gerry McGuire, Cindy Papish Gerber, Makayla Silva

Production Assistance Kevin Maher, Wendy Macomber, Todd Manning, Tamara Simpson

Surprisingly great rates right around the corner.

Web Design Mario Recupido

Interns

Anna Downs, Bridget Dwyer, Maryalice Manning

What we write gets read.

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2 Milford Living • Autumn

Milford Living Magazine 162 Bridgeport Avenue Milford CT 06460 203-283-5290 http://www.milfordliving.com

Milford Living Magazine (ISSN 1547-4429) is distributed quarterly by Red Mat Publishing. P.O. Box 2387 Milford, CT 06460. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the Publisher. Subscription Rates: U.S. $23.96. Newsstand: $5.99. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Milford Living Magazine P.O. Box 2387, Milford, CT 06460. Please allow six to eight weeks for subscription processing. Copyright 2003-2021 Red Mat Publishing.www.redmatpublishing.com Opinions expressed in Milford Living Magazine articles and advertisements are those of the authors and advertisers, respectively, and should not be considered as expressions of management or official policies of Milford Living Magazine. www.redmatpublishing.com

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"intimate experiences in the arts since 1972"

Winter Shows 10/31 Gypsy Swing Jazz Brunch w/Doug Munro & La Pompe Attack

11/6 Moipei Triplets / 8pm classically trained, modern & hip

11/13 Empire Wild / 8pm

musical genre-bending, crossover trio

1/8 DeadGrass / 7pm & 9pm back by popular demand

publisher’s letter Dear friends,

As the days grow cooler, we reach for our sweaters and head out into the crisp autumn air. We shuffle through the fallen leaves as we make our way about town, all the while enjoying the colorful palette that nature has painted for us. How fortunate we are to be here together in this community. During this season of thanksgiving let us reflect on the lessons we have learned, how we can spread happiness and joy to those we meet, and work together to be kind to one another, even

*note: two show times

when we don’t feel like it.

2/4-20 One Small Hitch / 8pm

We hope you enjoy this

eastbound theatre production

issue as we offer up a bit of

*matinees at 2pm

festive fun and events for

Tickets: milfordarts.org

all ages. Learn about local

Milford Arts Council / 40 Railroad Ave / Milford CT

legacies and history. Cook up a few of our favorite recipes

AWARDED BEST SOUPS, BEST SERVICE AND “INTERNATIONAL AWARD WINNING” MUSSEL CHOWDER!

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for your next feast. Discover the stories behind unique businesses in town and learn more about our growing downtown. Enhance your autumn garden with tips from one of our local master gardeners. This is the time of year we process our annual holiday gift subscription orders so tucked between the pages you’ll find a subscription card to complete and send our way. A subscription to Milford Living makes a perfect gift for anyone on your list. It’s a gift that lasts the whole year through. Please be sure to send these holiday orders now to ensure your gift recipient receives a personalized gift card

DELIVERY: MON - SAT 11AM - 2PM (AVAILABLE WITH $20 MIN. ORDER) WE ACCEPT ALL CREDIT CARDS PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE

announcing their subscription in time for the holidays.

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Wishing you a harvest of health and happiness,

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CORNER OF NEW HAVEN AVE. MILFORD, CT.

Visit bobettes.com for full menu & awesome variety 4 Milford Living • Autumn

As always, we welcome your comments and story ideas,

Suzanne



readers’ letters I run a Grief Support Group at the VFW in Stratford and would like your help advertising it. It’s an 8-week program to help manage grief after the loss of a loved one. We cover the stages of grief and strategies to help you work through it. The support group meets every Monday from 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm at 100 Veterans Boulevard, Stratford. Call Bob Johnson for more information: 203-641-4278 —Robert Johnson, Hamden, CT Bob, we are happy to help publicize your group. We have all been touched by grief and having a place to gather with others who are feeling a similar loss is an important part of the healing process.

As a relative newcomer to Milford (only 20 years) you have helped me discover so many wonderful stories, and restaurants! —Florence Gambino, Milford, CT

nostalgic features mean so much to those of us that were born and raised here and continue to live in the “small city with a big heart.” —Louise Crocco, Milford, CT

I enjoy reading the articles, they are interesting and even after living in Milford for 60 years, I still learn something. —Joan Griffin, Milford, CT

I always look forward to the mail when Milford Living is there. I grew up in Milford and love reading the local history and local stories you tell. —Al Kulenski, Fort Collins, CO

That’s the beauty of Milford; no matter how long you’ve been here, there is always something to discover! Glad we could help.

Thank you so much to all of our readers—near and far—who take the time to tell us how much the magazine, and Milford, means to them. We know this is a special place; that’s why each issue is truly a labor of love for the entire Milford Living team.

Milford Living continues to be an exceptional publication with interesting articles. The

Drop us a line…

Please send your comments, contributions, suggestions, and questions to Milford Living Magazine P.O. Box 2387, Milford, CT 06460 or email our publisher at: suzanne@milfordliving.com

Y

E COMM T A R UN EB L IT E C

We’ll help plan your holiday party! Come see our extensive selection of personalized gifts, exceptional wines, spirits & beer, and meet knowledgeable staff.

FAMILY OWNED AND PROUDLY SERVING MILFORD SINCE 2005

ORDER ONLINE OR CALL TO SCHEDULE A DELIVERY. WinesAndMoreMilford.com | 203.876.1600 | 242 Boston Post Road, Milford (Next to Big Y) 6 Milford Living • Autumn


Milford’s #1 Real Estate Office in Listings Sold

For More Than a Decade

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Ken Hawkins

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(203) 878-7424 • www.coldwellbankerhomes.com • 171 N. Broad Street *Based on SmartMLS data for single family/condo listing closed in Milford 2001-2020


at home

Perennial Beauty

W

Part of the beauty of perennials is that as they grow, they can be divided, thinned, and replanted in other areas of your garden or shared with friends.

SUZANNE CAHILL (3)

e all have areas of our landscape that we feel need bolstering to provide continuous color, height, or contrast during the growing season. With so many gorgeous perennials that thrive in Milford, now is the perfect time to select perennials that will provide years of pleasure.

When you choose perennials that are

Perennials offer beauty year after year as well as

native to our region, they are providing

providing myriad benefits to local and migrating

more than just beauty, pollen, and nectar.

pollinating birds, bees, and butterflies.

SUZANNE CAHILL

Many native plants have co-evolved with native insects to provide specific host food

spring comes, having your soil tested at the CT

for caterpillars and larvae. It’s not just about

Agricultural Experiment Station will greatly

monarchs! Work to replace non-native plants

improve your chances for success. It is a free

whenever possible with those from our

service to all CT residents.(information can be

eco-region.

found at https://portal.ct.gov/CAES/Soil-Office/

Whether you are planning a fall planting or preparing your soil to be ready when

New-Haven/Soil-Testing-Office- InstructionsNew-Haven)

LOOKING FOR IDEAS ON WHAT TO PLANT? HERE ARE SOME OF FAVORITES: SPRING: Hellebore, daffodil, bleeding heart, Columbine, fern, native

anemone, Solomon’s seal, iris, leopard’s bane, camassia, amsonia, baptisia, primrose, foxglove

SUMMER: Tall garden phlox, coneflower, liatris, bee balm, milkweed, Joe Pye weed, black-eyed Susan, globe thistle, penstemon, hosta, lilies, salvia,

8 Milford Living • Autumn

peony, yarrow, anise hyssop, shasta daisy, mountain mint, obedient plant, culver’s root, balloon flower, lavender, heuchera

LATE SUMMER-FALL: Coreopsis, japanese anemone, aster, goldenrod, chrysanthemum, stonecrop (sedum), Montauk daisy, russian sage, turtlehead (chelone)


• New holes should be twice the width of the

HERE ARE SOME TIPS WHEN IT COMES TO DIVIDING YOUR PERENNIALS:

root ball.

• Most perennials will benefit from division

• Prepare new holes before dividing the

every 3-4 years.

mother plant so that roots don’t remain

• Spring blooming perennials may be divided

exposed to the air and/or sun longer than

in the very early spring, after flowering, or in

necessary.

the fall.

• Perennials may be cut back to 6 inches prior

also be divided in the early spring or after

• Use a spade or a sharp knife to divide clumps

• Perennials that bloom later in the season can SUZANNE CAHILL

to division.

flowering.

• Plants do best if they are divided when

the weather is cool and wet to lessen the amount of stress on the plant.

Although prickly, butterflies love thistle.

immediately after replanting and then

• Plants should be divided six weeks before the

• Newly divided plants should be watered receive at least 1-inch of water per week until the ground freezes.

or separate rhizomes.

• Make sure that the crown of the plant is

placed at the same depth in the soil as it was prior to division.

• A 1 or 2-inch layer of mulch will help the soil to retain moisture.

ground freezes to give the plant time to set new roots.

—Cheryl B. Cappiali, UConn Ext. Master Gardener

Dawn Sullivan, Realtor Dawn.Sullivan@cbmoves.com | 203.257.6289

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2021 • Milford Living 9


business

What’s in a Name?

“W

hat is in a name?” asks Juliet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This question is echoed by business owners as they develop the perfect name to describe the service, restaurant, shop, factory, or other company they’re building. From literal to metaphorical, indicating type of business or location, Milford business owners are creative in naming their companies!

Room 17 Math Tutoring - The two owners

Artfish42 - Owner Meg Giannotti shared that

Weirdo Wonderland is a mind-blowing shop full

“what we do is art, and we recognize that

of fun and fright fronted by a rad dude who owns

just as a single fish by itself can be beautiful,

his wierdness.

when it is in a school, it is amazing.” The 42 is

originally met many years ago when Monica

from the shop’s previous address next door to

my whole life and this is my way of making it

Cavender’s son Zach was a student in Sara

its current location on Naugatuck Avenue.

work for me.”

Weirdo Wonderland - This eclectic shop

Bobette’s Takeout Bistro - This retail deli,

where they first connected was a perfect choice

Dude” Eric Bruce. In choosing a name, Bruce

owner Bobette Moore. As co-owner Gary Caulfield

for a name.

said it was simple. “I’ve been called a weirdo

shared, “Bobette’s sounds better than Gary’s!”

Kaminski’s 4th grade class, held in Room 17 at Live Oaks School. When they began the company, they knew a nod to that classroom

was founded by its “Top Muchacho/Rad

famous for its delicious soups, was named after co-

(Left) Room 17 Math Tutoring keeps kids up on their schoolwork; (right) Bobettes offers some of the best soup in town.

10 Milford Living • Autumn


The Canvas Patch - Marti Reed has owned this downtown Milford fixture since its

founding in 1977. She chose the name as a play on words since she first focused on canvas products and repairs. “We used patches for repairs and since patch can also be a place, The Canvas Patch was perfect.”

Bin 100 Restaurant - Bin 100’s owner Elena

(Left) CappuGino’s keeps customers going;

Fusco chose the restaurant’s name based on its

(Above) Flipside creates epic burgers.

extensive wine list. “Since traditionally wine is stored in numbered bins, I chose to use that

Flipside Burgers and Bar - Flipside’s owner

in part of the name. The numbered part comes

the name of the young man who dreamed

from our address, 100 Landsdale Avenue.”

up the business, CappuGino’s got its moniker

upscale restaurant serving burgers and more.

from Gino Esposito. Esposito came up with the

In its original Fairfield location, he would give

concept and wrote the original business plan

directions by saying “it’s on the flip side of the

for this family-owned business.

gas station,” and the name stuck.

CappuGino’s Coffee and Shakes - A

combination of a type of coffee beverage and

Mike Baffa used a location in naming his

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business Gilded Lily Gallery - “We took the name

who retired in 2017 after 48 years of cutting hair

from the old phrase, ‘gilding the lily,” explains

in Milford.

owner Rosemary Celon about her shop’s moni-

Stonebridge Restaurant - Stonebridge’s

ker. “It means that something may already be beautiful, but you make it more so, and that’s

proximity to Milford’s unique Memorial Bridge

what we do here.”

7 Seas Restaurant & Pub - “The name has

led owner Richard Conine to give a nod to the The 7 Seas has offered some of the best fish and

city’s history in the restaurant’s name. Guests

chips around for more than 50 years.

can view the bridge from the restaurant’s patio,

a simple history,” says 7 Seas owner Richard

decks, and windows.

Smith, “My brothers Tom, Neil, and I were all in

deliberation—and input from his wife—chose

the Navy, and wherever we went, there was a

to name it after the Dungeons and Dragons

bar named 7 Seas and it seemed like a natural

character he had been playing for many years.

fit for this one.”

“Albion Hawkwood was his name,” he shared.

ated when two prior companies merged. “It was

“It was perfect.”

a neutral one, named after a ball joint product

Hawkwood Game Café - Owner Ryan

McConnell wanted this tabletop gaming café to have a unique and meaningful name, and after

12 Milford Living • Autumn

Rocky’s Barbershop - This popular barbershop was named after Rocco “Rocky” Fraioli,

Alinabal - According to co-owner Samuel

Bergami, Jr., Alinabal is a combination name cre-

manufactured by the company,” he shared. “And for pronunciation, since many get it wrong, we tell people to imagine a line and a ball.”


Bohemian High - “We like the Bohemian,

Beth-El Center - “Beth-El started its life as an

who owns this shop with her husband, Richard.

homeless in Milford,” shared Dennis Brown,

“So, we used that for part of the name. The

who was a member of the Combined Parishes

‘high’ part is a wink to the head shop portion of

Action Committee group that created the center.

the business.”

When a name change was decided upon, Beth-

free-spirited lifestyle,” explained Gloria Krouch,

idea from local churches to fill a need for the

El, which means “house of God” in Hebrew, was

Pop’s Family Restaurant - According to

chosen to maintain the original philosophy.

Virginia Kikis, daughter of restaurant owner Gus Grigoriadis, when Pop’s was founded 30

The Sock Hop is the coolest, cleanest place to do

years ago her uncle was part of the business.

your laundry daddy-o.

zanno shared that when naming her lingerie

“Everyone called my uncle Pops, so that’s how the name came about. Now my dad is Pops.”

Whispers from Lady Olga - Owner Lori Vazshop, she wanted to play off the products sold.

like a kinder, simpler time, and I fell in love

Since intimate apparel is private, whispers

with the whole scene. As far as the name is

are used to discuss it. In addition, “Lady Olga’s

concerned, I wanted something that would

in Hamden is our partner. Lady Olga herself

Gerry Casey loved movies and television

convey that feeling, with a clean, safe, happy,

founded that company around 35 years ago.”

shows that took place in the 1950s. “It seemed

family friendly environment.”

Sock Hop Coin Laundry - As a child, owner

—Shaileen Kelly Landsberg

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milford wellness Tiny Forest provides many opportunites for a community of women to connect and grow. weekend retreats (the next taking place October 1-3). Calcote says her favorite activity to date has

Local Retreat

been the Camp Out. “Usually, I’m the hostess

f you’re looking for a welcoming space to find serenity, personal growth, or simply explore a new hobby, the perfect place may be just around the corner. Tiny Forest is a retreat center in Milford, CT serving women ages 45 and up, providing not only a wide array of classes and activities, but also a strong and diverse community. Since its opening in March 2018, Tiny Forest has become a sanctuary for women who wish to further develop and share their talents and experiences with others.

dedicated instructors who are well regarded

I

meditation, and body health.

are transitioning into new phases of their

However, there is a huge variety of

lives,” says owner Ella Calcote. “It can be a

events and classes for creativity and

very lonely and scary time as grown children

fun such as jewelry making, camp

and grandchildren move away and are busy

outs, art and cooking classes, movie

with their own lives, while we may be taking

nights, book clubs, and film reviews.

care of aging parents as well as children and

There are also events to include

grandchildren. Many women are retiring,

partners and family—just about

losing partners through divorce or death, and

anything you could think of!”

Tiny Forest is home to experienced, in their expertise, which include yoga, massage, nutrition and dietetics, the arts, reiki, and more. “I’m really proud of the

Can’t find a class that suits your

have difficulty finding community again: a

needs or have a proposal of your

community of women who are going through

own? No problem! Tiny Forest loves

similar experiences who understand, accept,

to hear suggestions and encourages

and support her. As research has proven,

community members to submit

friendships are important for our physical,

their ideas. “I love it when those

mental, emotional and spiritual health

emails come to me because it is an

especially as we get older!”

indication that women are speaking

Located in the Burnt Plains neighborhood,

for me to enjoy too!”

the healing arts such as yoga,

(45+) have felt the loss of community as they

find themselves starting over. Women may

women come together, but the Camp Out was

PROVIDED BY TINY FOREST

“I have found that women in this age group

with the mostest and get great joy in watching

up and asking for what they need,”

the beautiful forest and garden backdrop

says Calcote. There is a space on their

makes Tiny Forest the perfect place to relieve

website for idea submissions. Classes

stress and practice self-expression. As Calcote

are typically 60-90 minutes along

A welcoming atmosphere greets women who come to

explains, “Services are predominantly in

with 2-hour workshops and annual

learn and share in community at Tiny Forest.

14 Milford Living • Autumn


caliber of instructors who are drawn to Tiny Forest,” says Calcote. Classes may be experienced outside or in either of their two indoor spaces. “The Nest Studio is a cozy, charming 500 sq. ft flexible space which can be used for art classes or small art gallery, meetings, meditation, or office space. It is complete with a smart TV as well as a separate working art studio for our resident artist.” The second is “set up with plenty of open space for different types of events with different configurations. It also has a comfortable living room with a fireplace and small kitchen. We have had 26+ attendees for class. The room opens up to a covered

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milford wellness patio that is great for small, intimate

into her later years with joy and

conversations. A water feature, comfy

support toward having the life she

seating, and potted plants make this a

deserves.”

favorite spot.”

Even through COVID-19, the Tiny

Whether inside or out, Tiny

Forest community has continued to

Forest offers women a comforting

grow, following all Connecticut state

environment for them to explore their

protocols to keep everyone safe. To

talents, connect with others, or simply

learn more about the retreat center and

find peace and relaxation.

their services, visit www.tinyforestct. com or follow their social media sites:

working at Tiny Forest is hearing

Facebook: @neighborhoodclassroom;

women’s stories. “We are strong,

Instagram: @tinyforest_ct

resilient, and have so much to celebrate,” she says. Women considering visiting Tiny Forest can expect to find a safe space to “grow

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Calcote says the best part of

—Sophia Avitable Learning, laughter, friendship, and fun abound in the Tiny Forest.

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Milford Living 17


book nook jr.

Monstrously Fun T he concept of monsters has been around since humans began to walk upright and draw on cave walls. Medusa, Cerberus, and banshees plagued ancient Rome, Greece, and the Celts. Over the past 200 or so years, new monsters have appeared in literature, coming to life in print…allegedly…

Halloween masks. So, the book is a fun, kid-friendly reading of these classic works. My hope, of course, is that it will serve as a primer of sorts and encourage kids to seek out and read the real books. They’re

Local author Hal Johnson grew up with a fascination of monsters. “When I was a kid, everyone loved monsters. It was just the done thing,” recalls Johnson. “There was a series of monster books in the school library filled with black and white stills from the Universal monster movies—Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man—movies we’d never seen—and my friends were obsessed with them. We’d rotate who would check them out, and there wouldn’t be enough to go around,” Johnson says. “I just never outgrew the obsession.” Johnson has penned two books about monsters specifically for young people. “The great thing about writing for kids is that you can still blow their minds. Adults are so jaded that any big idea just sounds annoying and stupid, but kids can still get excited by it,” he says. “Maybe Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde isn’t scary to you because you already know the trick, but somewhere there’s a kid just finding out Hyde’s terrible secret and they are flipping their lid.” Johnson’s first book was Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods. “It is a collection of short, spooky Twilight-Zonish stories about American folklore monsters,” he explains. “Most people say it’s their favorite among my books.” The Big Book of Monsters, as Johnson puts it, “is a book about classic monsters from classic literature. Most of our favorite monsters came from 19th century gothic

18 Milford Living • Autumn

novels—they were literary characters long

all public domain, so you can get them for

before they were movie stars or iconic

free!”


Johnson gives a rundown on some of the creatures in his book:

resemble Lugosi in the

your favorite fantasies:

least. In 1897 the fact that

running wild and free, not

nothing makes sense must

being responsible for your

FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER: “This is

have been part of what

actions, and eating your

the one that started it all. Mary Shelley’s

made the villain SCARY.

neighbors,” he says with a

teenage horror story has been called the

You can’t think rationally

grin. Johnson quotes the 1941

first science fiction novel, and it’s certainly

about Count Dracula!”

film classic: “’Even a man who

the first modern monster yarn. The monster

is pure in heart and says his

of the book has very little to do with the

DR. JEKYLL &

monster as we know him, with the clunky

MR. HYDE: “It’s

boots, the neck bolts, the flat top, the ‘Fire…

supposed to be a mystery and yet

bad..’ monotone. Shelley’s monster is

everyone goes in already knowing the twist.

like looking at the full moon, but it’s never

eloquent and misunderstood, as well as

Robert Louis Stevenson is a real favorite of

made me go crazy and grow fangs.”

being murderous.”

mine, and this book is a lot of fun; Stevenson

prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.’ I

Hal Johnson’s The Big Book of Monsters

hints a lot that Hyde does nebulous bad

and Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods

DRACULA: “You can’t hear Dracula’s

things—things Stevenson never bothers to

are available at Weirdo Wonderland in

voice without hearing Bela Lugosi’s 1931

enumerate in detail.”

Devon. There is also a companion blog to

performance—I mean, just try reading the book Dracula without it, even though Bram Stoker’s description of the Count does not

the book: https://thebigbookofmonsters. Johnson’s favorite monster? “Were-

wordpress.com/blog-feed/

wolves let you experience vicariously all

—Susan Carroll Dwyer

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arts + artisans

Charlandism

W

hen it comes to art, what is seen by the eye—versus the heart and mind—are often quite different. Robert DeMatteo’s art is arresting. What appears as bleak is also powerfully emotional and empathetic. A lone figure shivering on a deserted winter beach; an old woman cradling a chicken in front of a trailer; a desolate Charles Island in deep winter. DeMatteo’s thought-provoking work embodies the axiom, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”

DeMatteo’s ode to Doris Gagnon, the folkloric Milford “Chicken Lady,” is based on his experience with her as a child. DeMatteo calls Charlandism a “geographical site-based art style,” that evokes themes that include the tombolo, burying things, reverence for manitous

DeMatteo lives in a sparse house near the

(life force or spirits in Native American

beach in Bayview, his studio housed in a back

culture), drumming, beach parking lot

bedroom. The home has been in his family

lust, hurricanes, smallpox, and finding

for years so he’s been visiting Milford since

redemption in a sunrise gathering. Anyone

childhood, finally uprooting from Southbury

familiar with Milford history will recognize

and settling permanently in 2006. He trained

the Charlandian references. They are steeped

as an artist with noted Connecticut illustrator

in the fabric of the town and its people, and

Jane Kingsley and worked in graphic arts for

DeMatteo is inexorably drawn to them.

years. Eventually he moved into art therapy,

“Every day I’ll go out there—to Charles

supporting mental health and recovery

Island—and walk it when I can. I look at

patients through the therapeutic use of art and

it and meditate. I find it so beautiful, but

the creative process.

it also has a lot of anguish to it…it’s very

DeMatteo describes his style as a

bittersweet.” DeMatteo references the native

combination of expressionism (where the

Wepawaug selling the island, Charles Deal’s

image is distorted to reflect the artist’s inner

failed attempt to raise tobacco, Captain

feelings or ideas) and realism (the artist’s

The artist’s unique artistic perspective of Milford

Kidd’s pirate legacy—“stealing stuff from

attempt to represent a subject without

is deeply inspired the town’s long history.

people,”—hurricanes, failed businesses.

artificiality). As “isms” go, those are standard

Bad karma is what he calls it. “They call

artworld vernacular. But DeMatteo’s recent

he calls Charlandism—and it is decidedly

it the Island of Bad Luck. People have

work has given birth to another “ism”—what

Milford inspired.

been ripped off, land has been taken over,

20 Milford Living • Autumn


there’s a karma to it that’s made it a bit of a

menagerie were a thorn in the side of state

negative; Doris Gagnon on the beach—again

and local officials for years with her refusal

someone’s taking land…”

to leave Silver Sands, living in a trailer on

DeMatteo’s depiction of Gagnon is

the property until her death in 1994. “My

immediately recognizable to long-time

mother always felt compassion for her,”

Milford residents. “My mother used to drive

says DeMatteo. “Years later when I came to

me down from Southbury to Silver Sands

live here it came back to my consciousness.

and we’d go see her,” he says of the famous

So that childhood memory was a big

Milford “Chicken Lady.” Gagnon became a

inspiration for me to paint that picture.”

local folk hero for refusing to leave her home after it was seized by eminent domain in the late 1960s and eventually torn down. “I don’t remember her as the chicken lady,” says DeMatteo. “I remember her with a

It’s time and place that fires DeMatteo’s creativity. It was another walk on the

Milford Yacht Club beach that led him to the story of Captain

Steven Stow and the 200 smallpox prisoners

deserted on a Milford beach by the British in

huge goose. And when the goose died my

“Not your grandfather’s club” In “Anxiety Dream Caught on Charles Island,” the 1777. He thought, “Wow, they left the people

mother got truly upset.” Gagnon and her

heron represents wisdom.

here on this beach.”

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arts + artisans

DeMatteo saw a distinct correlation between what happened 243 years earlier and what was occurring during the early days of Covid with people being dropped at hospitals and separated from loved ones. “It reminded me of Captain Stow,” says DeMatteo, who originally planned to

DeMatteo’s haunting depiction of a 1777 tragedy captures the isolation of illness that lingers today.

paint the 46 prisoners who died. “I did the drawing, and then Café Atlantique called

squarely on the bare shoulders of the

and said, ‘We’re opening up, can you put

individual and the viewers’ ability to focus

particularly those canvases which feature

All of DeMatteo’s work is deeply personal,

some work in for January 1st, New Year’s

on his pain. He still plans to paint the 46

the object of his “ism”—Charles Island—a

Day?’ So, I erased most of the people and

along with a sister piece that will feature

prominent part of the paintings he created

painted them over and left one person.” In

“the 46 ghosts drumming like the drum

over the last 18 month that he calls his Covid

the end DeMatteo knew it was the right

circle they do on Gulf Beach that’s very

series. “Anxiety Dream Caught on Charles

choice. The poignancy of the piece centers

popular now.”

Island” is autobiographical. “You know,

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wonder if the monastery that was built in the 1930s was welcome there or not.” The work of the artist is to confront preconception. An initial glimpse of DeMatteo’s Charles Island may reveal a barren, timber-strewn vision reminiscent of Dali or Hieronymus Bosch. But reflection tells a deeper story, one of strength and fierce Themes of Charlandism include native spiritualism, folklore, and hurricanes, all of which are represent-

survival, of respect for nature and caution of

ed in (left) “Manitous and the Arch,” and (right) DeMatteo’s view of Charles Island after a storm.

human nature. DeMatteo’s artistic expression of the Milford we know and love is unique; his

‘What am I going to do with my life?’ I had

and The Arch” juxtaposes the remains of the

perspective challenging. In sharing his vision,

some health issues at the time, so you’ll see

old Dominican retreat with Native American

he shares himself. “I go look at the island,” he

a bird up there representing the wisdom to

beliefs. “Manitous is an Algonquin term for

says. “But when I come back, I paint what’s in

know what to do. That’s the herons that are

all the energy that runs through all living

my head.”

on the island.” Another piece, “Manitous

things,” he explains. “You can’t help but

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milford morsels

Favorite Thanksgiving recipes from the staff of Milford Living

From Our Family to Yours

T

he annual dreams of Thanksgiving begin with the first rush of fall: the tang of apple cider, the snap of a chilly morning, the orgy of pumpkin-flavored everything. As the days and year grow shorter, we look to our singularly American feast day, where the meal upon which we judge all others is just an excuse to gather and share time with those we love. Every family has their own traditions

and sweets that enliven our annual tables

and favorite recipes revisited year after

no matter if the bird is store bought,

year. So, the Milford Living family would

organic, or tofurkey.

like to share some of our favorites—sides

Give them a try…and give thanks!

RYAN’S FROSTED APPLE COCKTAIL Ryan Swanson

RYAN SWANSON

INGREDIENTS: 11/2 oz. Yukon Jack Jacapple 11/2 oz. Dekuyper Schnapps Buttershots 11/2 oz. Half and Half Cinnamon

24 Milford Living • Autumn

DIRECTIONS: In a shaker, shake until frothy. Pour into a tumbler with ice cubes. Garnish with a pinch of cinnamon

SUSAN CARROLL DWYER

“The turkey. The sweet potatoes. The stuffing. The pumpkin pie. Is there anything else we all can agree so vehemently about? I don’t think so.” —Nora Ephron

AUNTIE ARLENE’S ROASTED CAULIFLOWER Susan Carroll Dwyer

INGREDIENTS: 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets Breadcrumbs Olive Oil Salt, Pepper, Parsley Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese DIRECTIONS: Easy, delicious, and versatile, this recipe can be tailored to your tastes. Cut cauliflower florets and place in a bowl with olive oil. Toss in the oil. Put breadcrumbs in a gallon bag; add garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. You can use any spice you prefer. Put the florets in the bag and shake. Spray olive oil on baking pan and place cauliflower evenly in the pan. Roast in a 450 degree oven, smaller florets for 15-20 minutes, larger ones for 20-30 minutes. Cover with fresh grated parmesan 5 minutes prior to completion of cooking for a tasty topping.


CHEESY BAKED MASHED POTATOES Ann McGuire

INGREDIENTS: 5 lbs Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled and quartered 8 oz. cream cheese softened 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1 cup shredded gruyere 1 /2 cup butter softened

/4 cup sour cream 21/2 tsp. kosher salt 1 /2 tsp black pepper 1 /2 tsp garlic powder 1 egg 3

DIRECTIONS: Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Boil potatoes, drain, and return to pot or mixing bowl. Use a hand masher to add butter, cream cheese, sour cream, 1/2 cup of cheddar, 3/4 cup of gruyere, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and egg. Beat potatoes with a mixer until all ingredients are combined and potatoes are creamy. Spread into pan, sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40-45 minutes until heated through.

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milford morsels

CRANBERRY WALNUT STUFFING Bill Canfield

INGREDIENTS: 3 Tbs. butter 1-1/2 cups walnuts 8 ounces loose sweet sausage 2 celery stalks chopped 1 medium onion chopped Salt & freshly ground black pepper 1 cup dried cranberries

PUMPKIN BREAD Cindy Papish Gerber

INGREDIENTS: 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (1 can) 1 /2 cup 120 ml vegetable oil (I used canola oil) 3 large eggs 11/4 cups granulated sugar 11/2 tsp. baking powder 3 /4 tsp. baking soda 3 /4 tsp. fine sea or table salt

/4 tsp. ground cinnamon /4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg 1 /4 tsp. ground ginger 21/4 cups all-purpose flour 3 1

FOR TOPPING 1 Tbs. granulated sugar 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 350°F. Oil a 9’’ x 5’’ loaf pan. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, and sugar until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger over batter and whisk until well-combined. Add flour and stir with a spoon, just until mixed. Pour the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. In a small dish or empty measuring cup, stir sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over top of batter. Bake bread for 65 to 75 minutes until a tester poked into the center of cake comes out batterfree, turning the cake once during the baking time for even coloring. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan, or cool it completely in pan.

26 Milford Living • Autumn

1 14 oz. package cornbread stuffing mix 1 Tbs. finely chopped sage 2 tsp. finely chopped thyme 2 cups chicken stock 1 large egg lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a 2–3-quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Toast the walnuts in a dry sauté pan on medium heat for 5 minutes. Cool and chop. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon, until brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add celery, onion & 1 /2 tsp. of salt, stirring occasionally until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in cranberries to just slightly plump them, about 1 minute, and remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl, add the stuffing mix, herbs, and walnuts. In a separate bowl mix together the chicken stock and egg. Add to sausage vegetable mixture. Add 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper and stir gently to combine thoroughly. Transfer mixture to buttered baking dish & bake until hot & golden brown, 30-40 mins.


SWEET POTATO DISCS WITH MISO-MAPLE BLACK BEANS Shaileen Landsberg

/4 1 2 1 1 1

cup chicken stock Tbs. miso tsp. maple syrup Tbs. lemon juice small jalapeno, chopped (optional) Salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potato discs in olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper and place in single layer on baking sheet. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, flip carefully with spatula, then roast for 15 minutes more. While sweet potatoes are cooking, combine beans, chicken stock, miso, maple syrup, lemon juice, and (optional) jalapeno in medium pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, mashing some of the beans, until mixture thickens. Serve sweet potato discs with dollop of bean mixture on each. Delicious with a drizzle of plain yogurt over the top. Serves 6 as appetizer, 2 as main course.

SHAILEEN KELLY LANDSBERG

INGREDIENTS: 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick discs 2 tsp. olive oil 1 /8 tsp. dried thyme 1 cup black beans, canned, or already cooked, if using dried beans

2021 • Milford Living 27


milford morsels

BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CRISPY BACON, TOASTED PECAN & BALSAMIC REDUCTION Makayla Silva

INGREDIENTS: 1 lb. thick-cut bacon 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved through the stem 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp. kosher salt 1 /2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 3 Tbs. unsalted butter 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans 1 Tbs. lightly packed light brown sugar 1 tsp. garlic salt 1 cup balsamic vinegar

VIRGINIA HOAGLAND’S CRANBERRY RELISH Marilyn May

INGREDIENTS: 6 oz. can of V8 1 lb. cranberries 1 can crushed pineapple 1 tablespoon orange rind cut into small pieces

1 orange peeled and cut into small pieces 2 cups sugar 1 cup of nut 1 teaspoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS: Dissolve sugar in V8 juice. Add cranberries until the mixture simmers. Add and mix the rest of the ingredients.

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the bacon slices on 1 or 2 separate baking sheets. Bake until crispy, about 20 minutes. Line another baking sheet with paper towels and transfer the bacon to the paper towels to drain. Chop crosswise and set aside. Meanwhile, toss the Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet cut sides down. Roast until browned and the edges are crisp, about 30 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. In a large sauté pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pecans, brown sugar, and garlic salt and cook, stirring frequently, until toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a large serving bowl. Drizzle balsamic reduction over the top and sprinkle with the pecans and bacon. Makes 6 servings. BALSAMIC DIRECTIONS: To make balsamic reduction: in a small saucepan, bring the balsamic to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until reduced to 4 tablespoons, about 30 minutes. Pay attention as the reduction gets closer to the targeted amount, as it can go quickly toward the end and will burn if it gets too low. Remove from the heat and let cool. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature if using on the same day it’s made, or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using to make it easier to drizzle.

28 Milford Living • Autumn


AUNT RITA’S CRUMB CAKE Suzanne Cahill

INGREDIENTS: 1 box yellow cake. (Follow recipe on the box) 2 /3 cup of brown sugar 2 /3 cup of granulated sugar

4 3 1 1

cups of flour sticks of butter Tbs. vanilla Tbs. of cinnamon

SUZANNE CAHILL

No celebration in my family would be complete without this traditional family favorite classic crumb cake. Make 2, one for the day and another for guests to slice up and take a sweet memory home with them.

DIRECTIONS: Bake yellow box cake in a 9x13 pan. Be careful not to overcook; bake until fork comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and leave oven at baking temperature. Let cake rest while you prepare the crumb topping. In one bowl combine sugars and flour. Mix ingredients with a spoon and set aside. In a second bowl combine melted butter, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix together by hand. Work from the bottom of the bowl to the top to create a crumbly mess. Press crumbs into the yellow cake and spread evenly. Return cake with crumb topping mixture into the oven for 15-20 minutes. Let cake cool and sprinkle with confection’s sugar.

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destination downtown Family friendly events in Milford this fall include fun-filled Hall-OWeekend activities. downtown transitions, and I’m pretty darned excited about the future of downtown. I’m excited that Milford Pharmacy has followed in the footsteps of the land-

Always a Reason to Return I When I turned 16, I landed

two years at the Milford Regional

my very first job downtown at

Chamber of Commerce, and now

H. Mangels Confectioner rolling

I serve as executive director of

chocolate truffles by hand. It was

the Downtown Milford Business

arguably the best job I’ll ever

Association. I’ve spent nearly

have—getting to sample all the

my whole life downtown. And I

“Best of Connecticut” chocolate I

wouldn’t have it any other way.

could stomach. Later, I worked at

Over the last three decades

Rainbow Gardens for seven years,

I’ve seen and been a part of many

30 Milford Living • Autumn

not only prescriptions delivered right to your door, but also a space for local vendors to showcase their businesses—like Livy Lou flower bouquets or custom wood signs from JLWoodworking. I’m excited about Scratch opening once a month for Scratch After Dark with an exclusive nighttime menu, perfect for a picnicking on the Green. I’m excited about the partnership with the City of Milford and Fleurescent to beautify downtown by lining the sidewalks with seasonal flower planters. And I’m really jazzed

DIOWNTOWN MILFORD BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

’ve got this thing for downtown Milford. I always have. Growing up under the shadow of my aunt, Nell Moll, I spent a lot of my early childhood on River Street. Between building my pog collection and playing pinball, I was a terrific “helper” at my aunt’s convenience store, Issie’s Big News, then the hub for coffee and conversation downtown. It was here that I made friends with Marty Reed at Canvas Patch and Bobby Shea at Flagg’s Music (who now teaches my 10-year-old guitar out of the back of Café Atlantique). I’d trade slammers and stories with all the regulars and take lunch out to our Adopt-a-Spot Garden alongside Stonebridge (then the Capitol Theater.) With my aunt’s big move across the street to the Taylor Building to work for the Milford Chamber of Commerce, I quickly learned the power of making connections and, more importantly, the power of community. This community.

DOWNTOWN MILFORD BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

mark Howe’s Drug Store, offering

Holidays are always happening in Milford, with many beloved traditions to look forward to each and every year.


able downtown to its harborside

there are a couple of potential

locale and historic New England

new favorites this season.

roots, and its beloved by lifers COURTESY OF DON RENE TAQUERIA

like me. Join me here for a little taste

At first glance, your mind might register “deli” when you see the space at 50 Broad Street—

of what’s happening in our

for years the home of Park Lane

downtown community.

Deli. But Don Rene Taqueria,

Welcoming New Eateries

which opened this summer, has transformed the former space as much as the food served within.

Opening its doors in the former Park Lane Deli, Don Rene Taqueria has quickly

From River Street to Broad Street,

The interior is wrapped in bright

become a downtown lunchtime favorite.

downtown is teeming with

white shiplap and outfitted with

unrivaled culinary treasures.

rustic wood tables and metal

While many tried and true spots

bistro chairs for inside dining.

about the reopening of the Taylor

Year round, Milford is beloved

Building as the community hub it

by visitors for its innumerable

like Stonebridge and Colony Grill

always was.

charms, from its vibrant walk-

continue to draw in the masses,

The menu features a collection of small plates that include

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tostones in tomato aioli, shrimp

a slice of their homemade tres

ceviche, and a crowd-pleasing

leches cake.) Don Rene tacos are

guacamole. While Don Rene

the kind of thing weekday lunch

dishes up quesadillas and a hand-

dreams are made of.

ful of salads, the draw is the tacos, which come in nine varieties. From the perfectly smoky

COURTESY OF NATE’’S PLATE

destination downtown

Because all too often a decent fresh meal can be hard to come by, two Milford moms banded

Nate’s Plates serves up the most delicious, fresh, locally-sourced meals from

pork pastor tacos topped with

together to create a waterside

their harborside cafe’ on Schooner Lane.

roasted pineapple pico to and

café, “where fresh feeds families.”

the chicken adobado marinated

Serving up fresh, locally sourced

Caitlin) will peek out and gather

opened their doors over the

in adobo and topped by crema

meals six days a week, Nate’s

your order. A handful of little

last year, expanding the ever-

and queso fresco, these tacos

Plates opened its doors in July on

tables line the far side of the café,

evolving downtown restaurant

are just plain delicious. My

Schooner Lane. The harborfront

happily overlooking Milford’s

scene. Committed to providing

personal favorite is the roasted

eatery offers a simple takeout

marina.

fresh, local, organic, healthy, and

cauliflower in smoked tomato

counter where a friendly face

sauce and pepitas (followed with

(likely one of the owners Rachel or

Over on River Street, two

seasonal juices to our com-

equally delicious restaurants

munity, Sprout Juicery debuted

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32 Milford Living • Autumn


early summer. Stop in and visit Anderson and leave with a better understanding of bio-hacking (we’ll let her explain) and eating raw, local and simply, delicious. In the former Los Cabos

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just under the railroad tracks in

its annual Downtown Annual Wine Trail in September, to the beloved Lamplight Stroll the first Friday night in December. On the last weekend of October, the focus will be on the annual Hall-O-

The Milford Green is transformed for Hall-O-Weekend festivities.

space, Strega offers freshly

Weekend, which invites families and children make memories and

made, wholesome Italian cuisine

style pizza for the signature

Last season we saw the Oyster

enjoy some not-so-scary fun in

prepared by owner and award-

Strega experience.

Festival and the Pop Shop, Pirates’

charming downtown Milford.

winning chef, Danilo Mongillo.

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Whether you’re looking for

An expert in Italian wines and

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beverages, Danilo’s unwavering

After a seemingly endless stretch

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of quiet, we are finally able to wel-

Year’s there is no shortage of fes-

Walk, downtown has a celebra-

in a deeply authentic Italian

come back many of our beloved

tivals or activities downtown. The

tion around every corner.

meal. Try an original Neapolitan-

events and traditions downtown.

DMBA hosts events all year, from

Nights. We couldn’t be happier. From September through New

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TAKE ME HOME

T

B Y

C I N D Y

P A P I S H

G E R B E R

The Trio

at least 300 years,” he says.

Richard Platt’s single story

The farmland was owned by

inheritance or circumstance, they’re living in a legacy

ranch house on 132 Platt Lane

Platt’s grandfather, who died

home—a cherished childhood home that’s been

was built by his parents in

in 1935 at age 59, and prompted

passed down through generations. If the walls could

1954, “on property that has

his grandmother to sell the

been in family ownership for

orchards and farm. “My father

o a certain group of Milfordites, the expression, “You can’t go home again” doesn’t apply. Whether by

COURTESY OF RICHARD PLATT

talk, what stories would they tell?

Richard and Jane Platt’s home shortly after they installed solar panels in 2015.

36 Milford Living • Autumn


sold two one-acre lots (136 and

that is pretty much as it was is

124 Platt Lane) and with the

the kitchen.”

what was left: about 1.75 acres.” After the death of his parents

Although Platt’s home “is still a gathering place for extended family,” attendance

(1979-1980), Richard and

has decreased due to the loss

his wife Jane purchased the

of some older relatives and the

house. “This was the area that

relocation of younger family

I considered home,” he says.

members. Despite that, Richard

“It was natural that I wanted

and Jane Platt hold firm to their

to live there. ” They embarked

home’s legacy and “intend to

on a series of renovations, the

pass it on to our boys.”

first of which entailed raising

As it turns out, the two proper-

the roof and adding a second

ties that were sold by Platt’s

story. “We knocked out the

grandmother are also legacy

wall between the living room

homes. Paul and Violet Austin,

and one of the downstairs

who have lived at 136 Platt Lane

bedrooms and made the latter

for six decades, are planning for

into our dining room. The

their son Bob to take ownership

opening between the two

of their house. Tom Hassenmeyer

rooms was framed by beams

inherited 124 from his parents

from the old barn that had

Skip (Walter) and Ruth, “who

(Above) 124 Platt Lane; (Right from top) A postcard view of the Wilcox Country Club; Ruth Nolan preparing a meal in her kitchen at 80 Overhill Rd in 1956; the breezeway kichen under construction; 80 Overhill today.

MARYALICE MANNING (2)

proceeds, built his house on

The Cape

of the G.I. Bill allowed Nolan’s

The 1952 cape on 80 Overhill

parents to assume the mortgage

built the house; I was 9 when we

Road that Irene Nolan inherited

from the home’s previous

room and the third became

moved in.” While Tom and his

from her parents was once part

owners.

our office/den. We made four

wife Morgan feel “overwhelmed

of the Wilcox Country Club &

Nolan recounts how her

bedrooms upstairs, including

being surrounded by so many

Golf Course. “Veggo F. Larsen

parents replaced the hot air

a large master bedroom and

memories,” they’re inspired by

was the developer/builder of

heating with hot water in the

another bathroom. The attic is

“this beautiful property” to put

this land, which became known

1960s, added a dormer in the

much as it was before, just up

their own stamp upon their new

as Old Field Acres,” says Nolan.

late 1970s, but never finished

one story. The only room now

“old” home.

In 1956, favorable lending terms

the attic. “After I inherited

been at the head of Platt Lane.

were both in their 90s when they

Another downstairs bedroom

passed in 2020,” he says. “Skip

became my wife’s sewing

2021 • Milford Living 37


the house, I took my parent’s

2001 to make it accessible for our

home and made it my own,”

father, Richard, who had polio.

she says. Fortunately, she was

During COVID it served as the

able to repurpose much of the

refuge for our elderly mother,

original lumber for a six-month

Emilie, who has just passed

renovation project in 2005.

away. “ COURTESY OF KATIE MURPHY

She replaced every window and door, installed central air, moved walls to create a master bedroom suite, added a back screened porch, and moved the washer upstairs. Additionally, “The kitchen moved to the

Five generations of family have enjoyed life at 40 Beach Avenue in Woodmont.

old breezeway, allowing for a

The In-Law

“Yours, Mine & Ours” is a fitting title for life at Libby Ditchkus’ home in Devon’s Rivercliff neighborhood. That’s largely due to the in-law set up that Ditchkus, her son, and his wife created

dining area. The only part of the

style by New Haven brewer

and in 1927 sold the house to

about eight years ago. “We each

house left untouched was the

Charles Nicklas in 1909-11. Jane

Esidor Derecktor, our great-

have a separate entrance and

interior of the hall closet.”

Schwartz Maisel expands on

grandfather,” she says. “Five

respect each other’s privacy, yet

her unique home’s history:

generations of the family have

we share the entire 1939 New

“During Prohibition he decided

delighted in the use of the house,

England Dutch Colonial. And

40 Beach Avenue, in Woodmont,

to scale back on his cost of living

winterizing it (more or less) in

it works out well.” Like many

was built in the Arts and Crafts

rather than become a bootlegger

the ’50s and renovating it in

other waterfront homes, “there’s

The Beach House

COURTESEY OF JANE SCHWARTZ MAISEL

40 Beach Avenue in Woodmont today.

38 Milford Living • Autumn


The Dunbar Cottage over the COURTESY OF NANCY DUNBAR

decades: (Far left) in 1923, (above) 1930, and (left) 1993. permits and receipts for that construction, including “a framed Milford building permit in the basement. “

ongoing maintenance, but our

here our entire lives, with too

last major overhaul involved

many special memories to

scribe Katie Murphy, “In

putting in a new kitchen and

count,” says Mark, adding, “and

the 1960s, Milford renamed

finishing the basement.”

we’re still making them.”

several streets that had identi-

As real estate prices rise and

Harkening back to Milford’s

According to Woodmont

The Will Nell

cal names.” Central Avenue,

baby boomers look to age in

rural past, the property still

The Dunbar Cottage has

which went down the hill to

place, Ditchkus recommends

thrives as one of the last re-

hosted four generations for

the trolley stop, became Dunbar

her family’s living arrangement

maining area farms. “This was

an astonishing 112 summers.

Road, in honor of the longest

to everybody. “It’s great to have

all farm country at one time,”

The one-story wood cottage,

living residents of the street—

extended family here, not only

notes daughter-in-law Jackie

built on Woodmont’s Central

Nancy Dunbar’s parents. “Our

because having loved ones

Allen. “Amazingly, my father-

Avenue in 1909 by William H.

neighbor was instrumental in

around adds safety and security,

in-law raised eight children

and Nellie Adam’s Dunbar of

getting the street renamed,”

but knowing your home will be

who still live on the property

Bristol, CT, was named ‘Will

says Nancy.

passed down in the future.”

in separate homes.” Other than

Nell’ before street numbers

replacing the old shed barn

were designated.

The Farm

formerly used to store silage

Nancy Dunbar (third genera-

“In 1994, we tore down that house and completely rebuilt a winterized version with a

Filanowski Farms on Wheelers

with new greenhouses, the

tion), who resides most of the

similar design,” she continues,

Farm Road, “has been in my

main two-story 1928 farmhouse

year in Northern CA, points

“with 2 stories and 3 bedrooms,

family since the turn of the

on 42 acres with a large closed-

out that her father (William

an expanded kitchen, skylight,

century,” says 90-year-old Mark

in front porch is original, says

A. Dunbar, second generation)

and redesigned side porch.

Filanowki, whose grandparents

Filanowski. What most endears

replaced “the old cottage in

Recently, we re-shingled the

arrived from Poland and

this house to everyone here is,

the 1920’s with a winterized

exterior in cedar to replace the

purchased the land and barn.

“all the family memories, in the

version.” Her husband, George

asbestos ones.”

“Five generations have lived

past and still to come.”

Peacock refers to intact building

Dunbar acknowledges that,

2021 • Milford Living 39


generation Dunbar (their son

to him through the King of

Scott), who continues to visit

England, it took him two years to

their Woodmont home.

cut down the trees and use them

MARYALICE MANNING

The Ancestor

The 1908 cottage at 200 Third Avenue in Laurel Beach.

in the house, which was then passed by inheritance to Captain

Living in a legacy home that’s

Jehiel Bryan in the 18th century,”

also listed on the National

explains the current owner.

Registry of Historic Homes

“Bryan was a carpenter by trade

allows you the privilege of

who extensively rebuilt it. In

living inside a tangible link

1929, my father-in-law Merritt

to our nation’s history. “I like

Clark—a direct descendant

connecting to those historical

of Thomas Buckingham through

traditions,” affirms Elsie-Marie

his mother Anna Platt Clark—

Clark, who proudly resides in

became the new master of 61

the Thomas Buckingham House

North St. That’s how the house

“Although I only lived in Wood-

lived next door.” She doesn’t

with her daughter Lindsey-Ann.

passed from the Buckinghams,

mont in the summer, I had such

recollect meeting 6 /2 year old

This landmark on 61 North

to the Bryans and then Clarks

good times as child in the ‘50s

George Peacock when she was

Street dates back to 1639 (those

through the generations.”

playing at the beach…especially

2, but the fates would conspire

metal numbers are still affixed

walking to Potato Rock at the

to have them meet again as

to the main chimney). “Built by

authentic New England colonial

Point with my playmates who

adults, marry, and raise a fourth

Buckingham on land allotted

surround a central stone

MARYALICE MANNING

1

The Thomas Buckingham House at 61 North Street dates to 1639 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Homes.

40 Milford Living • Autumn

The wooden walls of this


fireplace. “There’s original cedar

owners: “It’s kind of fun that

mother’s brother and his family,

including two separate

clapboards on the home’s famed

we’re living in the ancestors’

who came to Laurel Beach via

kitchen remodels, a family

red (repainted) exterior, the attic

shadows, from one generation

Switzerland.

room addition, a front porch

still has original wooden pegs,

to the next.”

some windows have old leaded

In 1962, Bernie and his wife

enclosure, enlarging the master

Sandra got married and moved

bedroom/bath, converting

in, “renting from my parents

the attic into a living space,

Bernie Bruder’s Laurel Beach

from 1962 until 1970,” before

replacing windows, installing

fireplaces cross-ventilate;

home was “built in 1908 by my

purchasing the home. “We

baseboard heating, and adding

keeping us cool in summer and

uncle’s in-laws as a summer

decided to live here because

an energy-efficient furnace

warm in winter.” In 1929, the

cottage and was subsequently

we loved the area. The Laurel

and gas fireplace. “The original

Clarks put in a new kitchen

purchased by my uncle,” he

Beach Association was an

woodwork is still on the first

wing, considered “the most

says. During the 1940s, Bruder’s

ideal place to raise a family,

floor,” Bruder notes.

modern part of the house. And

parents acquired it and he lived

with the beach, private tennis

where there once was a well,

there every July throughout

courts, and Club House—also

birthday party for the house.

we’re connected to city water.”

his childhood. Years later, “my

known as ‘The Casino’—which

“We raised our family here,”

glass, and two bathrooms are original,” she says. “Our three

Most notably, the house

The Cottage

In 2008, they held a 100-year

parents converted it to a year-

was a place for the children to

says Bruder, “two boys who

has never been sold. Clark

round home by installing a

hang-out in the afternoon and

now live with their families in

intends to keep it that way by

furnace to heat the first floor.”

evening. It is just a fantastic

South Carolina and Georgia.”

passing it on to her children.

Bruder’s brother and wife

neighborhood.”

But, he says, they “both love to

She aptly sums up the feelings

were the home’s first full-time

of all the Milford legacy house

inhabitants, followed by his

From 1971-2018 the Bruder’s made numerous renovations,

visit and recall the fun days and walk the beach.”

DITCHKUS REAL ESTATE CO. Shore and Residential Sales & Rentals Since 1965 555 NAUGATUCK AVE. MILFORD (Devon Section) CT

203-878-4674

www.DitchkusRealEstate.com 2021 • Milford Living 41


Hidden in Plain Sight

1

T

he Where is It? department has been a favorite section with our readers for more than 15 years. In each issue, local photographers find unique subjects around town and challenge our readers to identify theits location. In celebration of this tradition, we’ve put together a roundup of some of the obscure Where is It? subjects we’ve featured over the years. Some have gone and some remain; we leave it to you to see how many you can discover. Issues and photo credits are listed in the sidebars and an answer key can be found on page 46. 1. Issue: Spring 2007 - Mary Hegarty Neschke 2. Issue: Winter 2008 - Ann McGuire 3. Summer 2008 - Ann McGuire 4. Summer 2009 - Dick Platt 5. Autumn 2009 - Nell Moll 6. Winter 2010 - Paul Hromjak 7. Summer 2011 - Margeaux Settineri 8. Summer 2012 - Jesse Thompson 42 Milford Living • Autumn

2


3

4

5 6

7

8 2021 • Milford Living 43


9 11 10

44 Milford Living • Autumn


12

13

14

15

9. Summer 2013 - Susan Carroll Dwyer 10. Autumn 2014 - Chris Carveth 11. Spring 2015 - Chris Carveth 12. Spring 2016 - Ann McGuire 13. Autumn 2016 - Derek Jones 14. Spring 2017 - Derek Jones 15. Summer 2018 - Anna Downs 2021 • Milford Living 45


ANSWER KEY:

16

1. The dragon shaped light fixture is located on the Taylor Memorial Library in downtown Milford. 2. Two dog statues that “guard” the lawn of the Milford Historical Society.

17

3. The Peace Pole at Lisman Landing. 4. The manufacturer’s plate fastened to the old Gulf Street bridge. 5. The South of Green historic district sign on High Street.

16. Winter 2019 - Chris Carveth 17. Spring 2020 - Bill Canfield

6. The iron mailbox at the Taylor Memorial Library in downtown Milford.

7. The gilded railing surrounding the duck pond behind Milford City Hall. 8. An owl statue atop the River Street shops across from Milford Photo. 9. The mural at 29 Roselle Street. 10. The cupola sits atop the Devon Post Office on Naugatuck Avenue. 11. The bell at the United Church of Christ in Devon. 12. The chalked landscape of a historical depiction of downtown Milford in Stonebridge Restaurant.

13. The relief found on the Wilbur Cross Pkwy Parkway connector overpass bridge. 14. Stone depiction of Chief Ansantawae on the Centennial Tower. 15. The tree sculpture atop the façade at Walnut Beach Creamery. 16. The elephant weathervane can be found atop of Riverview Plaza on River Street. 17. The cupola that sits atop of the Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point.

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at your service Harborside Middle School custodian Frank Dwyer makes sure windows are clean inside and out.

KAATHY BONETTI/MILFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The day of a school custodian typically

Unsung Heroes

W

hen students and staff race out the doors on the last day of school in June, it’s

begins well before the first students arrive and they are always the last to leave the building. Custodians on the day shift are generally responsible for assisting with arrival and dismissal, accepting deliveries of supplies, grounds maintenance, setting up and breaking down the lunch waves, emergency cleanups and any other tasks deemed necessary by the school principal. The night crew is responsible for deep cleaning all the classrooms, offices, lavatories, and other common areas. They share grounds maintenance responsibilities with the day crew and support the use of the buildings by the school PTA/PTO organizations

the cue for custodial and maintenance workers to roll up their sleeves and get down to serious business. For them, the summer break means the time

for deep cleaning of buildings from top to bottom, stripping and waxing every floor, painting, restorative maintenance, and a long list of additional projects that cannot be completed while school is in session. They remain hard at work until the very last day of vacation as they ready the district’s facilities and grounds to ring in a new school year. And with the new beginning, they settle into their normal routines, ensuring students and staff have a clean and safe place in which to work and learn. the district’s office space at Parsons Complex.

campuses with 485 classrooms, 1,131,182 square

Several other support personnel perform

feet of floor space, and 179 acres of land. Sixty

clerical work and coordination of services.

custodians and 15 maintenance workers com-

KATHY BONETTI/MILFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Milford Public Schools is home to 14 school

Maintenance workers are tasked district-

prise the crew that keeps the facilities, grounds,

wide with keeping infrastructure systems

and equipment in tip-top shape. The custodians

properly maintained and in good working

are responsible for the day-to-day needs of the

order. This includes plumbing, electric, HVAC,

building they are assigned to; 11 at each high

security, and general repairs. They help

school, 3.5 to 4 at each of the 3 middle schools,

maintain the playscapes and grounds and man

and 3 at each of the 8 elementary schools. Staff

the plows for ice and snow removal in winter.

is split between a day and night shift. Addition-

All of this is overseen by the director and

ally, half-time custodians man the Academy,

assistant director of Facilities and a supervisor

Custodians Mike Radcliffe and Kristen Gourley

the district’s alternative high school, as well as

of Custodial Services.

get the Main Office ready at Jonathan Law.

48 Milford Living • Autumn


KATHY BONETTI/MILFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

and other community groups. In fact, parent volunteers consider the school custodian to be an integral part of the school community, and are often cited as being favorite staff members among the students. Amy Fino, president of the Pumpkin Delight PTA calls them the eyes and ears of the school. “Our custodians are always kind and friendly, greeting every student by

Don Aronson (left) and Tim Bradbury (right) provide district-wide support wherever it is needed.

name,” she says, noting their willingness to help and lend a hand with PTA activities even

“Ever since they saw David and his dad prac-

genuinely interested in the kids in school and

when they don’t have to.

ticing on the school field, they always take

outside of school,” she explains.

Parent Kristyn Liebelt agrees that the custo-

the time to ask about his game. Even when

Fostering those relationships with students

dians take a special interest in the children.

David tells them of a loss, they turn it around

and school families is not something you’ll see

She recalls the many times they ask her son

to make something positive of it. Baseball is

on the job description for a school custodian.

David how his baseball games are going.

an out-of-school activity, so it shows they are

But it is a vital contribution to the atmosphere

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at your service and to take on new cleaning routines.

Ray Swift makes sure the district’s equipment

Pat Bradbury, director of facilities for Milford

and machinery is kept in tip-top shape.

Public Schools, points to the important role of of a school and a key component that contrib-

the custodial and maintenance workers. “The

utes to student success.

goal of the entire facilities staff is to provide a

KATHY BONETTI/MILFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

And with the pandemic demanding a

safe, clean, orderly, and healthy environment

heightened need for cleanliness and sanitiza-

for our students, staff, parents, and the commu-

tion, the job of custodial and maintenance staff

nity. We take great pride in the work that we do

has taken on new importance as they play a

in support of our students and educators.” In-

pivotal role in keeping students and staff safe. As

deed, the contribution of these dedicated,

if their normal responsibilities didn’t keep them

hardworking individuals makes them some of

busy enough, new protocols requires them to

the unsung heroes of the district.

move desks and furniture to allow for physical

As Amy Fino sums it up, “Without the

distancing between students, to place signage

custodial team our schools would not run!”

and directional arrows throughout the buildings,

— Susan Glennon

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Keeping Our Families Happy and Healthy Meet Our Behavioral Health Providers: Julia Frank

Amanda Iwanski

Michael Petras

Julia Frank is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor. Julia began working in the mental health field in 2012 in psychiatric practice management. Julia received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Connecticut with Dean’s List honors. Julia received her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Southern Connecticut State University, where she was a member of Chi Sigma Iota, Counseling Academic & Professional Honor Society International. During her time at SCSU, Julia was also a coordinator for the CSP Diversity Committee. Julia received clinical training in college counseling and in community mental health. Julia has worked in a variety of clinical settings, including nonprofits, private practice, and intensive in-home counseling for children and families. Julia has experience working with adults, children and transitionalage youth in specialties including Adjustment Disorders, Anxiety and Depressive Disorders, as well as trauma and Substance Abuse.

Amanda Iwanski has been in the mental health field since 2014 and has been a licensed professional counselor since March 2019 in the state of Connecticut as well as a National Certified Counselor. Amanda did her undergraduate study at the University of Connecticut where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and received her Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Bridgeport where she was also a part of Chi Sigma Iota and served as their Vice President during her time there. Amanda has since had professional experience in public school settings, community/in home mental health and outpatient private practice. Amanda has experience in a multitude of therapeutic areas including specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Depressive Disorders, Anxiety, Adjustment Disorders and relationship conflicts.

Michael Petras is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist dedicated to providing empathic, therapeutic care to individuals, families, and couples while using a wholistic lens. His approach to the therapeutic process is to facilitate a safe environment, allowing for clients to be the expert in their life anxiety, depression, co-parenting, and relationship issues. Michael’s main goal is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for clients to share and express themselves freely while working through their healing process.

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education notebook

St. Mary School Turns 60

T

his September, children clad in navy and green, toting backpacks and smiles, headed back to 72 Gulf Street for the start of a brand-new school year. It’s been that way for 60 years; uniforms and pencil cases, laughter and prayer. St. Mary School (SMS) has built a legacy in Milford, offering academic rigor, spiritual development, character education, and limitless opportunities to grow and serve. And while the logo has evolved and lunch is now enjoyed in the gym, much has stayed the same at SMS over the last six decades, and that’s just how they like it. In 1960, the late Rev. Joseph F. Collonan,

building was raised and St. Mary School opened

For the last six decades, St. Mary School has been

pastor of St. Mary Parish, recognized the needs

its doors in September 1961 with 252 students

providing a nurturing environment for students

of his parish and initiated the construction of St.

enrolled in grades 1-3.

from pre-school through grade eight. The school

Mary School. Within a year, an 18-room school

Each succeeding year, additional classrooms

integrates Catholic beliefs with a strong academic curriculum. continued to fill until, in 1966, St. Mary was a fully functioning elementary school serving grades 1-8. It graduated its first class in June 1967. Later, the school would add a kindergarten class. Over the last six decades, St. Mary School

COURTESY OF ST. MARY SCHOOL(2)

has continued to develop, adding a part-time

52 Milford Living • Autumn

physical education teacher during the 1970s, an art and music teacher in the late 1980s, and a computer teacher in the 1990s. The early 2000s saw St. Mary School continuing to adapt and update its curriculum and programs to meet the needs of its students and community including the expansion of full-day


kindergarten, a state-of-the-art computer lab, and the addition of foreign language classes. Over six decades, school staffing transitioned from one completely operated by religious orders to, in 1995, a school staffed entirely by the

Students prepare for the sacraments and regularly participate in school masses and prayer services.

laity. Today, you’ll find classrooms outfitted with Smartboards and students equipped with iPads.

make sure the students succeed academically,

Mary School. Our new principal, Mr. Dominic

You’ll enjoy hot lunch with options like Subway

socially, and faithfully.

Corraro, has been working tirelessly to continue

or Jimmy’s Apizza. And you’ll count down the

Linda Crotta began her teaching career at SMS

days until the SMS carnival and come winter,

in January 1994. In her 27-year tenure, she has

the basketball tournament.

taught fourth, first, and second grades. “There

Sure, there have been plenty of changes in

to make St. Mary School a dynamic place to learn and work.” For Crotta, the strength of St. Mary School is

have been many retirements and teachers

two-fold: it’s a place where students can

the last 60 years. But it’s still the combination

moving on to other adventures in their lives,”

experience their Roman Catholic faith, and

of good old-fashioned Ticonderoga pencils,

Crotta says. “Our last principal, Mr. Lacerenza,

it provides students with dynamic learning

paper, and passionate, dedicated teachers who

retired. He was a steady guiding hand for St.

experiences and incorporating technology for

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education notebook

COURTESY OF ST. MARY SCHOOL(2)

students to explore their learning. “St. Mary School is a special place for our students. It provides them with a setting to grow in their faith and academic learning. For many, it is their ‘home away from home,’ where students are active learners and problem solvers,” she says. With the church located just across the

St. Mary School welcomed more than 100 new faces for the 2021-2022 school year.

parking lot, Crotta says her students can participate in school masses, prayer services,

Missy Dubin, the new assistant principal for

May crownings, and get to know the priests

the 2021-2022 school year, is a second-generation

actions,” Dubin says. “While many things have

that serve the community. “St. Mary’s is much

SMS family, having graduated in 1993. Her three

evolved since my own time as a student at

more than the building you see. It is a community

children now attend. “St. Mary’s is more than a

St. Mary, the importance of being respectful,

of students and staff working together to grow in

school. We are a community of educators and

hardworking, and kind to all continues to be the

faith, love, and knowledge,” she says.

families collaboratively guiding each child to

focus of our daily instruction.”

54 Milford Living • Autumn

live the message of Jesus through our daily


With 330 students enrolled for the 2021-2022 school year, St. Mary School will welcome more than 100 new faces from preschool through grade eight. Director of Marketing and Enrollment Management

Their “home away from home,” for eight years, graduating seniors go on to various area high schools.

April Bryant attributes the steady numbers to the school’s longstanding legacy and

Deacon Harold Hoffman became the Pastoral

its community. “Our families desire faith

Associate at Precious Blood Parish (which

Still going strong at 60, Hoffman and

integration in their education. And we serve

includes St. Mary and St. Agnes Churches)

the SMS community proudly celebrate the

not only Catholics but Christians, Muslims—a

in 2017. “St. Mary School provides a distinct

school’s legacy and it’s future. “St. Mary

lot of different faiths. It’s the foundation we

alternative as a faith-based, family-centered

School is blessed with exceptional staff and

provide here—teaching the Golden Rule to

school here in Milford. We can help connect

supportive families, who together make our

love your neighbor—that’s what families are

the students and their families to exceptional

school strong, vibrant, and well positioned

craving,” Bryant says.

learning experiences through a school that

into the future.”

After more than four decades in education,

and their family,” Hoffman says.

fosters the faith development of the student

—Makayla Silva O’Keefe

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historical perspective

Hardware Hubs

I

n America, the idea of progress is often thought of as a positive movement, where the old, worn out, and obsolete are cast aside or torn down to make room for something new and improved, shinier, and more convenient. Often though, what is sold as an upgrade turns out to be a colder, less vibrant replacement of what came before. For the people living in areas being renovated, upgraded, or gentrified, what is gained in economic growth and value is usually overshadowed by the sense of loss when compared to what once was. Yet the wheels of progress roll on undeterred and for good or bad, times change. Just as windmills, buggy whips, and

hardware stores and then together at the New

ice boxes eventually became outmoded

Haven hardware store Lightbourn and Pond

and replaced, by the late 1970s the small,

Company, Charles W. Harrison and Alfred E.

independent, family-owned hardware store

Gould joined forces on their own business,

was becoming a thing of the past. By 2006,

concentrating on “good management, broad

the two hardware stores that had served the

inventory, fair prices, and personal service.”

people of Milford for generations were both

With two stories and a basement worth of

gone. But memories die hard and the fondness

room and outbuildings for lumber and farm

for the people and institutions that served the

supplies, Harrison and Gould’s business

community and helped it grow cannot be so

thrived in the heart of downtown Milford.

easily swept away.

It was not only a hardware store but also

Standing tall on its own plot on Broad

served as a general store that specialized in

Street, Harrison and Gould’s Hardware store

hunting and camping equipment, selling

opened in 1907. Having worked in separate

guns, ammunition, and archery equipment. Harrison’s and Diamond’s hardware stores offered everything you could possibly need from plungers to paint. In the 1920s they added a gas pump outside their store and started selling auto supplies, including an annex store in Devon. An advertisement from the 50’s described the business as selling “Hardware in All Its Branches” that included boat supplies, paints and varnishes, giftware, sporting goods, and kitchen utensils. In its early days, you could have your goods delivered by the Harrison and Gould delivery truck which displayed a myriad of

56 Milford Living • Autumn


products for sale including tools, hinges,

Long-time home improvement veteran

door knockers, chisels, and drill bits.

Tom Clark remembers Harrison’s fondly.

Over the years, Harrison’s claim to fame

“They had everything. I renovated my

was its wide-ranging inventory and its

cape, closed in my sunroom, turned a

employee’s encyclopedic knowledge of

bedroom into a dining room, and enlarged

where that inventory could be found. As

upstairs bedrooms pretty much with what

mentioned in its entry on the Milford Hall

I got from them,” Clark says. “If you were

of Fame website (milfordhalloffame.org),

looking for something, they had it. They

“Harrison’s is well remembered for its

had to; everybody fixed things themselves

large and eclectic inventory, wavy wood

back then, nothing was thrown away. If it

floors, and personal service. Try to match

didn’t work, you fixed it. If you couldn’t fix

a certain screw and a friendly employee

it, you used it for something else.”

would descend into the basement to find

Clark’s fond memories echo those so

its match, then charge the eight cents

many customers that walked the wooden

required. It was a retail model we will

Resident Tom Clark renovated his home with

never see again.”

supplies from Harrison’s.

floors of Harrisons. “The personal service was great, everybody knew everyone,”

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historical perspective he recalls, adding, “and there was always someone looking to help you.” Eventually Harrison’s became an

on their back wall. While Harrison’s occupied the center

Ace Hardware and in 2006, fire and the

of town, Diamond’s

subsequent water damage lead to the store’s

Hardware was the

closure. When the rotting façade of the old

hub of Naugatuck

building was demolished to allow Colony

Avenue in Walnut

Grill to rebuild on the footprint, people

Beach. Founded by

gathered on Facebook to mourn the loss of

Harry Diamond after

the local institution. Comments such as,

returning from World

“More memories just went into a pile of

War II, Diamond’s

rubble…so sad,” and “Downtown Milford

Hardware served the close-knit Walnut

Berube, whose father worked at Diamond’s

won’t be the same,” filled the page. The

and Myrtle Beach communities. Many of

part time in the 1950s, explains that

Colony Grill did, however, save the large

the memories captured in the book Sand in

“Diamond’s wasn’t just a hardware store; it

metal sign that hung outside the store for

Our Shoes recall Diamond’s being the center

was a place where people came to talk and

more than fifty years and proudly displays it

of activity in the Walnut Beach area. Art

see each other.” He praised Harry Diamond

58 Milford Living • Autumn

Sadly, the Diamond Hardware fire was the death knell for the store.


would give you the

nostalgia, and the idea that the past was

shirt off his back,”

better than the present, but was it really so

recalls Berube. “If they

wonderful to have a store right down the

didn’t have it, nobody

street that could service all your hardware,

had it.”

camping, and gifting needs? Was it great to

Sadly, Diamond’s

have a hardware store that would deliver to

Hardware was

your house? Was it really a big deal to have

destroyed by fire

a friendly neighbor who ran the local store

in 1983. The loss of

and would find you everything you needed

The Harrison’s sign still hangs on the same downtown property it once

Diamond’s seemed to

instead of chasing someone in an orange

occupied, only now it’s the backwall of Colony Grill.

be the last remnant of

vest at Home Depot asking where the high

the old Walnut Beach

temperature refractory mortar is? Yeah…that

and Harry’s wife for being helpful and kind.

neighborhood that served as a summer

“Every time I came in looking for something,

getaway spot and amusement park for so

she’d disappear and come back a minute

many years.

later with whatever I needed and Harry, he

It can be easy to get caught up in

actually sounds pretty great. My next do-it-yourself project: time machine. I’m going back. —Gerry McGuire

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legends & lore

Creatures of the Night

“I want you to believe…to believe in things you cannot.”—Bram Stoker

L

egends of vampires did not begin with the publication of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897. Ancient accounts of bloodthirsty nocturnal monsters were first documented 4,000 years ago by the Assyrians and Babylonians of Mesopotamia. Legend had it that the demon goddess Lamatsu would prey on young men and steal babies from their mothers, sucking their blood, and draining their life force. Lamastu (translated as “she who erases”) instilled fear in all. Pregnant women wore protective tokens to fend off her voracious appetite. As many centuries passed and

Frightened villagers exhumed suspected vampires to ensure they never rose again. of the illness, clusters of mysterious deaths

communications improved, stories of vampires

within families were still considered dubious.

from all corners of the globe came to light.

Unmarked graves in Milford were forgotten

Folklore in local hamlets across Europe seemed

over the centuries. Tombstones in the Old

to confirm the accounts from many villages.

Milford Cemetery expressing less than warm

These tales made their way to the New World

sentiments for family members who had

as pilgrims and adventure-seekers braved

passed remain. Could something nefarious

the Atlantic to make their home here in New

have caused their indifference to their kin?

England. Reports of vampirism in our area

While Van Helsing was a fictional vampire

followed as settlers colonized the region.

hunter, fearful locals throughout New England

During the 18th and 19th centuries,

took matters into their own hands. During the

outbreaks of tuberculosis cut a swath through

Colonial period and well into the 1800s, mass

the colonies. Milford, being a well-traveled

unmarked graves, although not uncommon,

town along the Old Post Road, had its share of

were certainly suspicious. Presumed vampires

infection…and death. Despite some knowledge

were buried with stakes placed at their chest,

60 Milford Living • Autumn


ensuring that if they rose from the grave, they

destroying the wicked nature of these beings.

would be dispatched…never to escape their

Archaeologists over the years have confirmed

tomb again. Townsfolk and family members

these legends as a reality, finding smashed

also aided in disinterring those who were

coffins with hearts and brains removed or

suspected of being undead and venturing out

burned in place. Bones were rearranged in

into the darkness, draining victims to satiate

patterns to further vex these vicious fiends.

their craving for blood. Those dubbed to be

Known as The Great New England Vampire

afflicted were dealt with in any number of

Panic, stories came from throughout the

ways. Clergy and citizens worked to destroy the

region regarding this peril. With thousands

possibility of any further nocturnal excursions.

of years of accounts and fables, could some

Newspapers occasionally documented the

of this be based on a genuine phenomenon?

“Van Helsings” of the region, and how they

During this season of witches, demons, ghouls,

dealt with these wicked creatures of the dark.

and goblins one can never be too careful. Take

With shovels, crucifixes, and holy water in

a moment to adorn windows and doors with

hand, brave citizens would excavate graves

garlic flowers and you may be spared the bane

and unearth coffins. The hearts and minds

Bram Stoker brought legend to life when he

of presumed monsters were dispatched,

authored the book “Dracula” in 1897.

that plagued our ancestors. —Susan Carroll Dwyer

2021 • Milford Living 61


milford’s attic

HARVEST OF THANKS

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62 Milford Living • Autumn


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expressions

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66 Milford Living • Autumn


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greetings from milford

Kramer’ s Kozy Kabins Her gown was floor length satin with lace sleeves; he

sported a dashing morning suit with black cutaway. After

the reception lunch, they jumped in the DeSoto and hit the

road to Honeymoon adventure. Albany to Boston, Boston to Newport (where Ken happy relived some of his Navy memories), then south

to New Haven and charming Milford where the road-weary Audrey found respite at Kramer’s Kabins (and presumably Ken’s arms.) He

dashed off a few lines the next day for the new in-laws and posted it from Queens as their adventure continued. Where to next honey?

—Ann McGuire

70 Milford Living • Autumn


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?

where is it? Answer to last issue’s quiz: The historial stone marker can be found at the corner of North St. and Governors Ave.

Know the answer to this issue’s Where is It? Send us your answer at: suzanne@milfordliving.com

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72 Milford Living • Autumn

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