Also featuring photos from our monthly supplement...

Oakwood Manor 'Grand Dame'
of the city

Catching the Metro North train from New York’s Grand Central Station to Green’s Farm, Connecticut is a character-building experience for an Oakwood resident. Every time you enter the grand plaza you must stop, gawk, and thank Jackie Kennedy for saving the magnificent old building from demolition…low those many years ago. Track 26 was easily found, and the three Oakwoodites enjoyed an hour’s ride through the snow-covered country through Stamford, and North Port, and …there was Cathy Cassel Talmadge standing on the platform!  So now there were four Oakwoodites together in Conn.  Son David Findley was in the foursome. David lives in Washington and was spending a few days in NYC with his parents.  

Cathy gave her guests a quick tour of the area – she’s just been elected a County Commissioner after a tough campaign last November.  How’s that for a Ridgeway Road girl who’s only lived in CT for twenty years!  “That’s Phil Donahue’s house over there,” said Cathy (Phil was once a Daytonian). Paul Newman lives across the road. “He’s done so much for our local theatre group,” added Cathy.

We pulled into Cathy and Tom’s driveway – and there was another Oakwoodite – Dr. William G. Cassel – Cathy’s Dad.  Many hugs later two more guests arrived – Barbara Iams and husband Jim.  Cathy and Barb have been best friends since high school – and still are!  The two couples have just survived a five-day camping trek up the back way into Macchu Picchu, Peru.

“Now we’re off to brunch at the Hunt Club,” said Cathy.  Whatta super spot.  They even had a local horse show going on in the arena! At least three hours of yacking barely covered  what everyone was up to. Barb’s the ‘costume designer’ for an off-Broadway production near their building on Central Park South…Tom told of his ‘wine business’…David mentioned lecturing in ‘Seasonal Adjustments’ in Luxembourg for the Bureau of Statistics...Jim explained the real estate situation in NYC…Bill Cassel is leaving on Monday for Florida to visit sister Carol Badgley… the two Oakwood-ites just listened – open mouthed!

The on-and-off theatre scene in NYC is exciting. “August: Osage County” is a bone-chilling, rib-cracking depiction of the dysfunctional family. It’s every bit as powerful as the recent novel: ‘Glass Castle.” And then there’s the ‘Hitch-cock-and-bull’ production “The 39 Steps”. But…the best, most jarring, lose-a-night’s-sleep-over – Off Off Broadway – in Soho - is..”BETRAYED” directed by George Packer of The New Yorker  magazine!  “In Jan. of ’07 I made my 6th trip to Iraq since the start of the war. My assignment was to write about the Iraqis who’d gone to work for the Americans as interpreters, drivers, secretaries and were being hunted down by insurgents and militias for the crime of being ‘spies’. I found the U.S. government was treating these Iraqis as a bureaucratic nuisance. I hope this play will bring American audiences into the twilight world of those Iraqis who risked the most and lost the most.”  It surely did!

The late 18th century homestead of Alexander Hamilton was mentioned in the New York Times. It’s no longer a country estate…it’s on 145th St. in Harlem crammed between a large church and an apartment building. Fortunately there are plans to move the old mansion to the front grounds of a nearby private school. Several hours and many bus transfers later – the sad derelict was found. A small sign and a huge statue of Hamilton stood on the sidewalk. A most attractive area resident was showing his young son the historic house and he gave the Ohio gawkers lots of info about his neighborhood and other sites we must visit.  See, there are always so many things to do in what’s the ‘capital of the world’.

On a recent ski trip to Zermatt, Switzerland, led by Penny Pitou, winner of two Olympic gold medals, Nevin Wagner was introduced to fellow Oakwoodite Cathy Black, who knew his mother Shirley from LeClub. The following week at Val Disare, France, the group was joined by George Shaw of Denver, Colo., who had grown up in Oakwood just two blocks from Nevin on Ridgeway Road in the Georgian Colonial house once owned by the late NCR president S.C. Allyn, and which has been replaced by John Gray’s home and farm. Small world! Good snow, sun and food made for a great time.




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February 26, 2008
Volume 17, No. 9

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