Given my insistence that time has come to sign off on “Connections” — at least as a weekly obligation — various family members have started sending suggestions for special, quirky, or interesting columns from the past that they think I might revisit. My husband, Chris, thinks I should collate the most memorable into a book. My daughter thinks I should spend the month of May excerpting early writings as a snapshot of East End days gone by.
Among the notable clippings from my long history at The Star, she unearthed what appears to be my very first print byline: a review dated July 27, 1967, of an adaptation for the children’s stage of the story of “Rip Van Winkle” at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater. I seem to have been thoroughly affronted that the playwright for the Kay Rockefeller Travelling Playhouse had turned that charming loafer Rip into the hen-pecked antihero of a “romantic musical unsuitable for either children or adults.” Ouch!
Given my general lack of interest in musical theater (and my own admitted intellectual snobbery), I probably was never cut out to be a reviewer of children’s theater. I guess the paper’s then-editor, my first husband, Everett, realized as much: By the following winter I was opining instead about the views of Congressman Otis Pike on the Vietnam War.
It is entertaining indeed to peruse the old issues of the newspaper from decades past.
The front page of The Star for that 1967 issue featured a story about a young woman named Jurate Kazickas and her reporting from Vietnam, under the amazing headline “Girl Reporting War.”
I am amused to be reminded that, even in 1967, people were arguing over the future of East Hampton Airport and its governance. Also on the front page was news of a slew of young men issued summonses for “violating the ordinance against surfing at Ditch Plain without a permit”! (Does anyone remember this surfing-permit business?)
Among the Letters to the Editor in that issue were a handful applauding an editorial Everett Rattray had published the week before decrying the war in Vietnam and calling on our politicians to “admit our mistake.” He was, we believe, one of the first newspaper editors in the country to take that stance publicly. Those days have not been forgotten, and, indeed, we are still proud of what The Star did then.