Author: GaryMark (page 1 of 4)

Moscow Nights : the Van Cliburn Story : How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War by Nigel Cliff

Gripping narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic story of a remarkable young Texan pianist, Van Cliburn, who played his way through the wall of fear built by the Cold War, won the hearts of the American and Russian people, and eased tensions between two superpowers on the brink of nuclear war.

In 1958, an unheralded twenty-three-year-old piano prodigy from Texas named Van Cliburn traveled to Moscow to compete in the First International Tchaikovsky Competition. The Soviets had no intention of bestowing their coveted prize on an unknown American; a Russian pianist had already been chosen to win. Yet when the gangly Texan with the shy grin took the stage and began to play, he instantly captivated an entire nation.

The Soviet people were charmed by Van Cliburn’s extraordinary talent, passion, and fresh-faced innocence, but it was his palpable love for the music that earned their devotion; for many, he played more like a Russian than their own musicians. As enraptured crowds mobbed Cliburn’s performances, pressure mounted to award him the competition prize. “Is he the best?” Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev demanded of the judges. “In that case . . . give him the prize!”

Adored by millions in the USSR, Cliburn returned to a thunderous hero’s welcome in the USA and became, for a time, an ambassador of hope for two dangerously hostile superpowers. In this thrilling, impeccably researched account, Nigel Cliff recreates the drama and tension of the Cold War era, and brings into focus the gifted musician and deeply compelling figure whose music would temporarily bridge the divide between two dangerously hostile powers.

 

Recommended by Gary Banks

James Baker Obituary, November 18, 2017

James M. Baker, husband of Katharin Harvey Baker passed away Saturday November 18th at Atria Assisted/Senior Living in Darien. Born on December 12, 1921 in New York City, he was the son of James A. and Lavinia Baker.

Jim is survived by his wife, four children and their spouses, Heidi Scheckler husband Thomas of Norwalk, Eric Baker and his wife Mary of Minnesota, Duncan Baker and his wife Lupe of Nebraska and Lorna Young and her husband Todd of Norwalk. James has 5 grandchildren, Samuel and Roger Scheckler, Drayton Baker, A.J. and Jessica Hernandez, Peter and Lila Young and one great-grand son, Gracyn Hernandez.
Jim attended Kings School in Stamford and the Gunnery Prep School in Washington, Connecticut where he enjoyed playing tennis and hockey.

During World War II, James served his country in the Navy with the rank of First Class Petty Officer, performing the duties of a sonar technician from 1942-1945.
In preparation for a life long career in architecture, James attended the Pratt Institute and Columbia University. As an architect, Jim was employed by William H. Hall Associates in New York, as well as other firms in New York and Fairfield County.

Jim married his wife Katharin in 1953. They were active members of St. Bartholomew’s Church and the Community House Club. After the birth of their third child in 1960, the family moved to Darien where the fourth child was born.

James was an active member of St. Luke’s Church and one of his many contributions was as an architectural consultant for construction and renovation projects there. Jim was an avid sailor and enjoyed sailing several sloops through the years with his family and friends. Jim was a Power Squadron instructor. He was a member of both Norwalk and Ischoda Yacht clubs. Hockey was another sport Jim had a passion for, coaching his two sons in their youth then playing for the Darien Winter Club where he was known as “Animal”. He also played in a few of Charles Shultz’s senior hockey tournaments in California. Jim volunteered for “Meals on Wheels” for years delivering meals to seniors in Stamford.
The family would like to thank those who cared for Jim with such great patience at Atria in his final days. A special thanks goes out Nicole Martin Smith.

Visiting hours are on Thursday, January 11, 2018 from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at Edward Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road in Darien. A memorial service and celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Friday, January 12, 2018 at 11:00 AM at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1864 Post Road in Darien.
Contributions may be made in his name to “Person to Person”, 1864 Post Road, Darien, CT 06820 or Meals on Wheels” of Stamford, 945 Summer Street, Stamford, CT 06905.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of James Baker, please visit our Tribute Store.

NYC Christmas Light Walking Tour, Dec 12, 2017

Christmas Lights Walking Tour New York City
Taylor Strubinger will lead a walking tour of New York City’s world-famous Christmas trees and department store windows,  Tuesday, December 12, 2017.

“We will take the 8:36 a.m. train from Darien and the 8:39 a.m.train from Noroton Heights,” said Taylor. “We usually try to sit in the forward railroad cars.

“At Grand Central Station, we will gather at the information desk underneath the clock before starting out,” he said. “No reservations are necessary. If the weather is inclement, we will not go.”

Contact: Taylor Strubinger at tstrubinger@snet.net or phone (203) 952-6423.
The Christmas trees include Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, April 11, 2018

The mysterious Jay Gatsby uses his fabulous wealth to create an enchanted world fit for his former love, Daisy Buchanan, now married to Tom. Daisy, though, is a romanticised figment of his own imagination, and the extraordinary world that he creates is equally illusory. He gives lavish, legendary parties where the guests and gate-crashers enjoy free-flowing champagne and cocktails and carefree hospitality. But a more sinister reality begins to break through, as idealized romantic figures prove to have human frailties and selfish motivations, and the grandiose world of Gatsby’s creation crumbles and disillusion turns to tragedy.

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick, March 14, 2018

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, and Brendan Gleeson, and directed by Ron Howard.The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents-including a long-lost account written by the ship’s cabin boy-and penetrating details about whaling and the Nantucket community to reveal the chilling events surrounding this epic maritime disaster. An intense and mesmerizing listen, In the Heart of the Sea is a monumental work of history forever placing the Essex tragedy in the American historical canon.

 

Companion read:  Moby Dick

Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West by Christopher Knowlton, February 14, 2018

A revolutionary new appraisal of the Old West and the America it made

The open range cattle era lasted barely a quarter-century, but it left America irrevocably changed. These few decades following the Civil War brought America its greatest boom-and-bust cycle until the Depression, the invention of the assembly line, and the dawn of the conservation movement. It inspired legends, such as that icon of rugged individualism, the cowboy. Yet this extraordinary time and its import have remained unexamined for decades.

Cattle Kingdom reveals the truth of how the West rose and fell, and how its legacy defines us today. The tale takes us from dust-choked cattle drives to the unlikely splendors of boomtowns like Abilene, Kansas, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. We venture from the Texas Panhandle to the Dakota Badlands to the Chicago stockyards. We meet a diverse array of players—from the expert cowboy Teddy Blue to the failed rancher and future president Teddy Roosevelt. Knowlton shows us how they and others like them could achieve so many outsized feats: killing millions of bison in a decade, building the first opera house on the open range, driving cattle by the thousand, and much more. Cattle Kingdom is a revelatory new view of the Old West.

“Hiking” Greenwich Point Park, Friday, December 8, 2017 at 10.30am

We will be walking Greenwich Point Park on Friday December 8 at 10.30 am. Note that this is half an hour later than our usual start time of 10.00 am.

Greenwich Point is a beautiful peninsula surrounded on three sides by Long Island Sound. The walking trail is completely flat and does not require any special skills other than a desire to walk amid some pretty spectacular scenery. We will be doing the full circuit of about 3 miles in about 1 1⁄2 hours.

Following the walk we will have lunch at the Italian Restaurant Applausi Osteria Toscana( 199
Sound Beach Road). Last year this restaurant was a hit with our group.

Directions: Google Greenwich Point for the best directions.
Take Exit 5 off the South bound I-95. At the end of the exit ramp make a sharp right onto Rt 1 and then at the first traffic light make another right onto Sound Beach Road. Continue on Sound Beach for 1.8 miles, then at the T junction make a right on Shore Road which becomes Tods Driftway after 1.3 miles. You enter Greenwich Point Park through a somewhat obscure stone gateway and park in the first parking lot on the right where we will meet.

This park is open only for Greenwich Residents during the season, but this being off-season anyone can enter. Leashed dogs are allowed after Dec 1.

Clothing: It is usually quite windy at Greenwich Point and will probably be chilly
as well. Be appropriately clad. Walking will warm you up and it should be
invigorating and fun. All are welcome. ( Last year our group numbered 18 ).

Contact: Sunil Saksena 203-561-8601 ; ssaksena44@gmail.com

Paul E. Harmeier passes away

Paul E. Harmeier, a retired chemical engineer, of Darien, CT and Barbados, West Indies, died peacefully on October 24th, his 87th birthday, after a brief illness, with family members at his side. His wife, Shealeagh, predeceased him in 2012.

He is survived by his daughters, Nancy and Janice, his son-in-law Christopher Day, and three grandchildren, May, Connor and Claire Karaffa, all of Greenwich. He is also survived by his sister, Veronica Lind of Pittsburgh, PA.

He was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1930. After graduating from Penn State, he served as an engineering officer aboard the battleship USS Wisconsin during the Korean War. Following discharge from the US Navy, he was employed by Mobil Oil Corporation in various engineering and lube analyst positions for 30 years until his retirement at age 55.

He thoroughly enjoyed his retirement. He spent the winter months in Barbados where he was a visiting member of the Barbados Yacht Club and a member of the Rockley Golf Club. He was a member of the Middlesex Club in Darien and the GOBs a senior men’s interclub tennis group in Fairfield County. He was also a member of the Silvermine Golf Club in Norwalk for more than 50 years where he shot his only hole in one.

He was a voracious reader and he spent many happy hours at the Darien Library where he was appreciative of the staff’s efforts to obtain obscure books for him. His membership in the Darien Men’s Association provided fellowship, interesting lectures, and field trips to local areas of interest. He was a member of the Apostrophe Protection Society whose mission is to prevent the misuse of apostrophes. He enjoyed riding his bicycle to the Convent of St. Birgitta in Darien where enjoyed visiting the nuns in their lovely setting and where he and his family have celebrated Christmas Eve for many years.

Funeral services and interment are private.

An American Family by Khizer Khan

Khan’s aspirational memoir reminds us all why Americans should welcome newcomers from all lands.”₇–was In this urgent and timeless immigrant story, we learn that Khizr Khan has been many things. He was the oldest of ten children born to farmers in Pakistan, and a curious and thoughtful boy who listened rapt as his grandfather recited Rumi beneath the moonlight. He was a university student who read the Declaration of Independence and was awestruck by what might be possible in life. He was a hopeful suitor, awkwardly but earnestly trying to win the heart of a woman far out of his league. He was a brilliant and diligent young family man who worked two jobs to save enough money to put himself through Harvard Law School. He was a loving father who, having instilled in his children the ideals that brought him and his wife to America₇the sense of shared dignity and mutual responsibility₇tragically lost his son, an Army captain killed while protecting his base camp in Iraq. He was and is a patriot, and a fierce advocate for the rights, dignities, and values enshrined in the American system.–₇Senator John McCain

 

Recommended by Gary Banks

Obituary: Hilary Peter Donegan

Hilary Peter DonPreview (opens in a new window)egan passed away peacefully at his home on November 18th 2017.

He was born in Farmingdale, New York on October 14, 1940 to Margaret Brady Donegan and Denis James Donegan.

He graduated from Farmingdale High School and C.W. Post College. He took great pride in his service in the United States Army. He began his career in wealth management at Banker’s Trust Company in 1964 and continued his career there until retiring as a Managing Director of Deutsche Bank in 2005.

He treasured his forty-six year membership at Winged Foot Golf Club where he proudly served on the Board of Governors from 1995 to 2000. His happiest moments were spending time with family and friends there. For him there was no more perfect place.

In recent years he thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Darien Men’s Association. The friendship and fellowships he strengthened there meant the world to him.

He was an active volunteer serving as the president of the STAR, Inc. Foundation which serves families affected by developmental & intellectual disabilities. His true purpose as a father came from being the voice and best friend of his son Brian.

He is survived by his beloved family, Carol his wife of forty-two years and his sons Denis, Brian and Colin. He is also survived by his brothers Denis and Dick and his sister Cissy Moffatt.

Calling hours will be at Lawrence Funeral Home in Darien on Sunday November 26, from 3 to 6 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Saint Thomas More Church in Darien on Monday November 27th at 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow with Full Military Honors at Spring Grove Cemetery in Darien.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial gifts be made in Hilary’s memory to the STAR Foundation, http://www.starct.org/donate or at 182 Wolfpit Ave., Norwalk, CT 06851 or to Camp Horizons, http://www.horizonsct.org or at PO Box 323, South Windham, CT 06266.

Saxon Woods Hike Friday, Nov 17, 2017 10.00am

We will be hiking at Saxon Woods Park in Scarsdale, NY on Friday Nov 17 at 10 am. This is a 700 acre county park and contains an 18 hole golf course, tennis courts, a huge swimming pool, soccer fields and several miles of hiking trails in the woods. We will be hiking the part of the
park that is south of the Hutchinson Parkway off exit 22. The trails here are wide, well maintained and well marked and largely devoid of treacherous roots and rocks. We will hike a loop of about 3.5 miles which will take us 2-2.5 hours. This promises to be a most enjoyable
hike and we welcome our regular hikers as well as newcomers. Spouses and significant others will find this hike fun.

After the hike, at around 12.30pm we will have lunch(optional) at the nearby Red Plum Restaurant, a highly regarded and popular place serving mouth-watering Asian dishes at reasonable luncheon prices. ( Located at 251 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck).

Directions
Head South on the Merritt Parkway into Westchester. Take Exit 22 off the Hutch and make a left turn at the top of exit ramp onto Mamaroneck Road. Proceed about 200 yards and then make a left into the parking lot of the Weinberg Nature Center, marked by an easy to miss sign.

Address: 455 Mamaroneck Road, Scarsdale.
Meeting Time at parking lot: 10.00am
Contact: Sunil Saksena, 203-561- 8601, ssaksena44@gmail.com

Obituary: Edward Carabillo, 90, of Darien and Misquamicut, RI

Edward Carabillo, 90, of Darien and Misquamicut, RI, husband of the late Nancy (Berry) Carabillo, died Sunday October 15, 2017 in a motor vehicle accident.

The son of Antonio and Laura (Pallanga) Carabillo, Ed was born and raised in Hartford and graduated from Weaver High School. After discharge from the U.S. Army, he attended Willimantic State Teachers College, where he met and married his beloved Nancy. Ed and Nancy were married for 50 years before she passed away from ALS in 2001.

A licensed hairdresser and gifted salesman, Ed worked many years for Clairol, finishing as a corporate executive in their NYC headquarters. Ed then bought a beauty supply business, The Brownie Company, in New Haven, where he employed a number of family members, including his 3 daughters and his nephew Rodney Carabillo. In his later years, Ed continued working in the beauty supply industry, most recently at CosmoPro in Norwalk, CT.

Ed is survived by three daughters and their husbands, Caroline and William Wall of Wallingford, Antonia and Richard Conti of Coventry, and Henrica and Aaron Holden of Granby, as well as grandchildren, Brian Wall and partner Jenny Macintosh, Peter and his wife Deanna Wall, Timothy and his wife Tina Wall, Kevin Wall and his girlfriend Amy Reno, Nicholas Holden, Christopher Holden, Faith Conti and Nancy Conti, several nieces and nephews, and his significant other, Natalie Einson of Westport.

Ed was predeceased by brothers Frank, Jim and Dom, and grandson Daniel.

Ed was very active in St. Thomas More Church in Darien where he served as a Eucharist Minister and usher, formerly organized the Children’s Mass, and managed the Count Team. He also volunteered his time in the Darien community and for several charitable events.

Ed’s biggest joy was “keeping the family together.” He loved sharing stories with family and friends. Grandpop, as he was affectionately called by family for his final 34 years, was an avid fan of the New York Giants, the Boston Red Sox, UConn and local restaurants. He devoured the New York Times, the Daily News, and 3 local papers, and Ed would gladly talk about national and local politics and events with anyone he met.

Bishop Emeritus Paul S. Loverde of Arlington, VA will celebrate a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Dunstan Church, 1345 Manchester Road, Glastonbury, CT on Saturday November 11, 2017 at 10 a.m., with interment at Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield. There will be no calling hours.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the ALS Association of CT, 4 Oxford Road, Unit D-4, Milford, CT 06460, Americares, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

The Holmes-Watkins Funeral Home, 400 Main Street, Manchester has care of arrangements. To leave a message for his family, please visit www.holmeswatkins.com.

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