Click on the box below that says "Please Sign Our Guest Book" to add news, messages or comments.

To see who has signed up on our class website, go to the "Classmates" page on the menu at left
.

Due to text limitations, we have added a new menu page called "Author Submissions" where you can add longer postings such as books, chapters, paragraphs, etc. in a PDF or Word format. Use the "Contact Us" page to let us know and we will email you back.

 



 
  Carolyn Starr
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
The other day, I came across the obituary of Claude Dixon. He was our 6th grade teacher in 1960-61, the year that some of the 6th graders bound for Middlesex were sent to 3 classrooms on the end of a wing of Mather. Claude J. Dixon Jr. (1925 - 2018). http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/claude-dixon-obituary?pid=1000000187814699
 

 
 
  Lisa Coulter Hogan
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Looking forward to seeing you all on Friday and Saturday. Do any of you enjoy pickleball? There are courts at Weed Beach so I will be bringing my paddle, etc. Hope there are some more players. Lisa
 
 
  Pat Lillis
Thursday, August 3, 2017

Byllie Ann Magnant asked to have this message posted:


Dear DHS Class of 1967,

Congratulations to all of us! I am so looking forward to seeing everyone. It will seem very different to attend a DHS function without Larry, my best friend and forever love. But I was so blessed to have had him by my side for 50 years. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of our first date (when we attended a party at Patty Cusack’s) several months before he died so suddenly.  I know he will be attending “in spirit”. We started four businesses together, had two incredible daughters (both graduated from DHS) and I treasure my two son-in-laws and my four Grandchildren.  

The second chapter of my life began when the widower of a dear friend of mine convinced me to change from “best friends” to “life partners”. He will be attending the reunion with me. His name is Frank Faykes. He is a retired, Air Force 2-Star General and spend the later part of his career at the Pentagon in charge of the Air Force budget. Larry and I knew Frank and Kathy for nine years, we all love the game of golf and live in the same community in Williamsburg, VA known as Governor’s Land at Two Rivers. And as they say, “life goes on”!   

Hope to see lots of our classmates at our reunion. Safe travels to you all.  

Hugs & smiles,
Byllie Ann (Hill) Magnant


 
 
 
  Pat Lillis
Thursday, January 19, 2017

We have a request from Maureen Wilks, the widow of Don Wilks: 

I am writing as the widow of Donald K. Wilks (DHS class of 1967 and Harvard 1971). Don died peacefully at home in 2004 in the home we built with Jay Condon's expertise on Hollow Tree Ridge Road. Our son, Patrick D. Wilks, attended Ox Ridge, Middlesex and Wooster Academy before Portsmouth Abbey, RI. Patrick is currently a 2nd year student at College of the Holy Cross in MA and plans to be a teacher. If anyone has any happy memories of Don to share with Patrick it would be gratefully forwarded or send directly to him.

Maureen: fitzey@optonline.net  Patrick: pdwilk19@g.holycross.edu 
 
 
  Sharon Duffield
Monday, May 9, 2016
Hi Everyone. We are trying to track down all who have signed up on this website. There are some that may have since changed their email address but forgot to update their profile with that new email address. Since many of us have kept in touch over the years, you may know of a friend that has changed their email address since originally signing up. If so, please let me know by emailing me at tedlake14@gmail.com .
 
 
  sharon duffield
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Hello everyone. I am happy to tell you that I will be coordinating the 2017 reunion. I will start contacting people with details when they arise, date, venue, hotel, activities. Always trying to find more people, so if you know of anyone that has not been added, I would love that information. I also set up a "private" facebook page. I have recently contacted people who I know are on facebook and invited them to join our group. It's a great way to stay in touch and keep up on news and pictures. All for now. I will be in touch.  Sharon Duffield
 
 
  Joseph Bohrer
Monday, August 4, 2014
Hello to everybody in the class of 67. I stumbled on to this site while surfing the web, and what a surprise. The class of 67 is sure spread out. So I thought give a shout out.  Hope all is well with you all .   Bye for now
 
 
  the toe
Thursday, May 22, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: CREATE SPACE PUBLISHER A DIVISON OF AMAZON.COM.
 
2013 BEST AUTHOR, GRAND STRAND HAPPENING PENS NEW MURDER MYSTERY.
 
 
 
  the toe
Thursday, May 22, 2014

Go to this facebook account and see the Interview with Darin and Anita Online Radio Show.   http://DarinandAnita@facebook.com
 
 
 
  Jerry Holway
Saturday, June 15, 2013
 
 
Check this out re our classmate, George Harlow!
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/science/in-glittering-gems-reading-earths-story.html?ref=science
 
 
 
 
  thetoe
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
 
Hello everyone. I have a new book out!

AND THE BANDS PLAYED ON
THE HISTORY OF BEACH MUSIC
By Howie Thompson


I have posted my press release on the Author Submission page of the class website.

My book can be purchased at Xlibris.com, Barnes&Noble.com, Amazon and Booksamillion.com. Call me if you want a signed copy.
  
Click on link below to see youtube video of the book.
http://youtu.be/TEUiI7vvSEQ <http://youtu.be/TEUiI7vvSEQ>
 
 
 
 
  Howie Thompson
Monday, December 24, 2012

The reunion was worth the trip.  I was so glad that you all got to meet Cheryl, we are now engaged.  I found it completely wonderful to sit down with Chuck, Mark and Bill to watch a Yankee game.  Talk about de ja vu all over again.

Seeing everyone and the fact that non of us have aged a bit (writers priviledge) was amazing.  I think there is a great book being held captive deep inside the secrets of this wonderful class.  But I digress. 

I would love to have ya'll come down to Myrtle Beach anytime and come out with me to our local Clubs (free) and hear some really great music.  It truly is Paradise down here.

I'm in for 50, just let me know when and where.  Dayum, we will all be 68-69.  Hopefully we can rent walkers.  Although, I don't think Zane will need one, he rode in the back of my HHR crossed leg for 20 minutes.  If I did that?  I wouldn't have been to unfold for days.

Howie (still the toe)
 
 
  1967 Class Update
Monday, November 5, 2012

Please add any photos you may have taken during the reunion weekend to the Photo Album titled "45th Reunion / Add your photos here." We all would love to see them!


 
 
  Bill Morrison
Monday, November 5, 2012

Hello Everyone.

Well, the 45th is history with pictures to prove it!  Check out the Photo Album section. Get a chance to see how everyone is getting younger!

Also, for you Facebook fans, Sharon Duffield has set up a FB group-Darien High School Class of 1967.  She's posted many of her great photos and you can see comments from many of our classmates.

Fun time was had by all that attended, but as always there didn't seem to be enough time to really catch up.  Interest was high for a 50th so stay tuned.  We'll have a poll shortly on this site to see how many are truly interested after the alcohol has left the system.

Post any comments on Facebook or in this What's New section.  We plan on putting names on as many historical photos as we can so we'll need some help.  Also, pass along any info you can on missing classmates.

Peace,
Bill

 
 
  Beverly Madden-Bishop
Tuesday, October 2, 2012


For anyone interested, I have written and copyrighted a memoir of growing up in Darien in the 1950's.  I think it will strike a chord for most of you.  I plan to publish it but thought I would share it on the website since the reunion is so close.

You will find it under "Author Submissions".

See you at the reunion!

Beverly Madden-Bishop



 
 
  Diane Pelosi
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Sorry, I can't make the reunion. I will be in the area from Sept. 30th 'til Oct 8th. Between Northport, New York and Darien, CT. I can be reached at 760-420-0238. Have fun, Diane Sturner
 
 
  Howie Thompson
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
OK DHS Class of '67, We have more missing then we do attending.  We are the Class that invented skip day, we are the Class that invented the Senior Prank, we are the football team that came back and won 5 straight, and we are and have always been the closest class ever.  SIGN UP TODAY!  I missed the 40th and I am looking forward to seeing everyone.

GO BLUE WAVE!!!!!!!!
 
 
  Nancy Condon
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Lynda McIntyre ('66) is trying to locate John Wheat and others who worked on the DHS literary magazine.
Does anyone have contact with John Wheat?
 
 
  Logan Rogers
Thursday, May 31, 2012


I’ve been working on a book for a few months and it just became available on Amazon’s self-publishing website called Createspace.

Here is the link: www.createspace.com/3768626

Out Of His Mouth!

Out Of His Mouth!
A Love Letter From Fred Williams As Told By Logan Rogers
Authored by Robert Logan Rogers

This book is about a man and his ministry. From the time I met Fred Williams to the present, I documented many aspects of this unusual man. Miracles, signs and wonders in a biblical understanding of the supernatural is the focus of the book. The time we are living in as a culture, church history and many theological positions are discussed.


 
 
  Jan-Mark Pozdena
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I have not seen anyone since 1967 and have been to college from Florida to England and have lived in the UK, Australia, France, Vanuatu and all over the south pacific and now back in Richmond VA following an incident in Brasil, Chile and finally the Solomon Islands. But I am still alive.
 
 
  Nancy Condon
Thursday, April 12, 2012
We have had a request to find the where abouts of Don (Doc) Robbins. Does anyone know where he is or how to get in touch with him?
 
 
  Howie thompson
Sunday, April 8, 2012


FORMER SOCCER COACH WRITES HISTORIC BOOK
 
Howie Thompson, “Coach Howie” is a well known soccer coach in the Triangle area. He coached Soccer for Southern High School Boys, DSA High School Boys and Middle School Girls, Durham Chapel Hill Strikers and Triangle Futbol Club before moving to South Carolina in 2006. Thompson won 3 consecutive NSCAA/Adidas Regional Coach of the Year and in 2002 won the NSCAA/Adidas National Coach of the year. 
 
Since leaving Durham, he penned his 3rd books, Overtime, the Legend of Trey Shooter Parrish (2nd printing out soon). Overtime has a screen play written for a movie by Alan King of Darien, Ct. Now, Thompson has entered the world of Shag Dancing and has written the biography of Harold Bessent, aka Fat Harold. The book is the only authorized biography of this Legendary King of Shag. 
 
Xlibris Publishing has published this historic book, now on the shelves and online at all the major chain outlets.
 
“It was a revelation writing this book, and Harold is the most positive man I have ever met. The world of Shag Dancing is a large group of “Baby Boomers” and more. They are people who get together and just want to have a good time. I feel privileged to have been chosen to write this historic book as I know that so many people have been waiting for it.”
 
Thompson’s other books deal with sports. The Complete Book of Youth Soccer is a how to coach novel, A Game for All Seasons is a fictional book about a young girls soccer team, and Overtime is again a fictional novel about a young man who grows up in Indiana and is all that as a basketball player.
 
“I know now why writers like Grisham and Clancy only write fiction. Biographies take a long time to write and research. You can’t just make up stuff about a man’s life. I interviewed over 30 people for the book and another 75 gave me comments. It was a labor of love though. I learned so much about the North Myrtle Beach area and how the Shag Dance evolved here in the 50’s. It was a wild time down here.”
 
                                    PREFACE
 
When you walk into Fat Harold’s Beach Club, you realize that you are in a special place. After parking your car in the concrete parking lot, if you are lucky enough to get a space, you traverse the traffic, hordes of people coming and going from the one set of glass doors on the front of the building. You pause for a moment to read the plethora of information that abound adorn the entrance to “OZ.”
 
Make no mistake about it, you are about to leave Main St. in North Myrtle Beach, and enter into a place straight out of a Rod Serling Twilight Zone script: 
 
“Notice if you will the lights just up ahead, the neon sign that catches your attention, the laughter and music that pours out of every crevice of the building onto the parking lot and rolls out to the street like lava pouring from an erupting volcano. The entrance beckons you like the Sirens of ancient mariner lore as you feel yourself being pulled closer and closer to the door. There it , the door opens for you and you enter ‘The Shagging Zone.”
 
Shag is the only dance allowed in Fat Harold’s Beach Club. Just ask the “locals that frequent this historic landmark on a weekly basis. But it is much more then the dance as you will learn as you make your way through this biography of a man known affectionately as Fat Harold, whose real name is Harold M. Bessent. You will find out that this self made man, self made entrepeneur,the undisputed King of Shag dance, is a man who has a heart the size of all outdoors and a man, much like Will Rogers, “never met a man he didn’t like.” At least not one he would tell you about.
 
Harold M. Bessent was born on 6-13-33 in Little River, SC. Harold was given to an aunt to be raised when his mother died after child birth. He lived with 5 different families growing up as his father gave him away 5 different times. Despite this tragedy in his life, Harold managed to make amends with his dad before he passed. To this day Harold speaks glowingly of his 5 foster parents and feels that these were the character building events in his life that made him what he is today. One of the most successful entrepreneurs in the State of South Carolina and the most loved individual in all of the Grand Strand.
 
Harold attended Little River Elementary School, Wampee Jr. High School and Wampee HS before going on to Clemson for one year. He played Club Basketball for Clemson and when the Football Coach saw his size he said:
 
“Son have you ever played football?”
 
“Yes sir”
                                      1
“Then Son you need to report to my office immediately.”
 
“Yes sir.”
 
And that was Harold’s introduction to College Football. However, Uncle Sam came calling and Harold was drafted into the Korean Conflict .
 
Throughout this book you will learn about Harold Bessent the man, Fat Harold the Legend and you will see how North Myrtle Beach, Ocean Drive and the world of Shag Dancing were influenced by this humanitarian individual, who has given far more to the community then the community has given him. But he won’t tell you that.
 
Harold is a humble man from truly humble beginnings. He will tell those that sit down with him at “His Spot” at the end of the bar, all about how this person and that person have been so wonderful to him and how if it wasn’t for the community and the way they embraced his beloved Harold’s Beach Club, he wouldn’t be the success he is today. Truth be told, Harold has raised millions of dollars for Camp Kemo, helped out people in the community who truly need help, both financially and physically, and created a world where people from all walks of life, young and old, rich and poor, black, white, brown or whatever can come and enjoy a dance that he has promoted for over 50 years.
 
Harold M. Bessent, aka Fat Harold has been the most influential man in the entire Grand Strand from 1955 to present. His Legend is only second to his generosity and that pales in comparison for what this man has done for North Myrtle Beach, Ocean Drive and the entire Shag Dancing World. As you read this book, please remember that this man is the most influential man of our time here in South Carolina. He can pick up the phone and move mountains, and he can reach out and help the neediest of people. The great people that have come along in our life always seem to be remembered by the simplest of phrases or words. 
 
Jackie Gleason; “And away we go.”
 
George Burns; “Say good night Gracie.”
 
Jim Valvano; “never Give up.”
 
Japanese Commander After Pearl Harbor Attack; ,”We’ve awakened a sleeping giant.”
 
Harry S. Truman: “The Buck Stops Here”
                                     
                                                2
 Harold Bessent will be always remembered by one simple phrase.; “He always made it happen.”
 
Making it happen is Harold’s trade mark. Whether it be opening up the Pad when he and Buddy sold the Spanish Galleon, or opening Fat Harold’s On the Beach (HOTO’s) and Fat Harold’s Beach Club when the pad and Harold’s Across the street were torn down. He also made it happen for so many young and old people here in North Myrtle Beach and all over the Shag world. Harold is not only a wise and wonderful business man, he is generous to a fault. He makes sure that people who cannot pay their hospital bill get the money to do so, and makes sure that those people who need the “life lines” have them as well. He has helped numerous musicians from Jim Quick and Butch Barnes to Craig Woolard get a start, get a restart, and made sure their personal issues in life were taken care of. Harold Bessent would be my choice for the Medal of Freedom Award. That is the highest honor the government can give to a civilian.
 
I think you will find this book interesting and very informative on this man’s life who has become an icon in our time. As I collected interviews and heard all the stories of how Harold fell into a septic tank, how he and Buddy ad Poo would “tear it up” at the old Spanish Galleon, and how he and Harold Worley, despite the gossip that abounds along the beach, are really good friends and great business partners. I think you will also come to realize, as I have, that this man that so many people call “Mr. Harold” out of respect, has touched so many lives, saved an entire world culture called Shag Dancing, and through it all is one of the most genuine people you or I have ever met.
 
I hope that you love this book as much as I loved writing it. Being just a small part of this world was great for me before I got introduced to Harold. Now, as they say down here, I’m in. Or as Jim Quick put it; “Your cool brother.” I was honored with Jim’s approval, “even if he is a fat sissy” I have tried to chronicle this man’s life in several ways. Harold Bessent the cop, postal worker and life guard who worked his ass off for years and finally came back to Myrtle Beach to help Pappy and Buddy Owens. Harold Bessent the gambler who rolled the dice on several bars and beach clubs before settling down at Fat Harold’s on O.D. Drive. Harold Bessent the humanitarian who ran for the House of Representatives, has raised over 2 million dollars for Camp Kemo and is always ready to help someone in need. Harold Bessent the lover of Shag dancing who single handedly helped preserve the Shag dance here in North Myrtle Beach. And lastly there is Harold Bessent the man. Harold is a man’s man in every sense of the word and someone who will be your friend for life.
 
 
 
 
  1967 Class Update
Thursday, March 15, 2012

Our class just got a new web site domain name that is easier to remember.
Both the old and the new web addresses will still work.

darien1967
http://www.darien1967.com 



 
 
  Joan Brakeley
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Hey,  I moved to San Francisco area last April....on my own again...(there's a song in there somewhere) making my art and writing that book I always said I would...and loving riding my bike on the sunny everydays...not sure if I am back east or not then...will come last minute if I can.  Not sure I can do that without Lamm...Ta ta and may the winds be at your backs...Joan  
 
 
  1967 Class Reunion Update
Saturday, March 10, 2012

Our 45th Reunion that will be held on Saturday evening, October 13, 2012.


There will also be an informal get together at The Goose on Friday evening, October 12 — the same location as the 40th.

Please go to Reunion Details for more information, and RSVP!

If you did not receive an email announcement on March 4, please let us know using the "Contact Us" at left or this page.

Also, help us keep our website current by updating your profile information on the "Classmates" page at left.

We hope to see everyone this October!



 



 
 
  Alan W. King
Monday, September 28, 2009

Class of ’67’s Thompson goes into ‘OverTime’

By Alan W. King
Special to The Darien Times
April 9, 2009
Book Review


Overtime by Howie Thompson: Book Cover
 
    Powerful. Masterful. Engaging. Howie Thompson’s novel “OverTime” is his latest book about a subject he knows all too well about.

    This veteran coach and seasoned writer was born and raised in Darien, and is a 1967 graduate of Darien High School. Thompson was also the former kicker on the Darien High School football team and was affectionately known as “Howie, the Toe” for setting the first kicking record.

    “I am always proudest of the fact that I graduated from Darien High School and played for John Maher and Vic Crump,” he says, “and grew up in a time that was exciting in Darien.”

    While attending the University of Tampa, Thompson’s place-kicking career suddenly came to an end when he was injured by another player. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Tampa, and a master’s degree in recreation and leisure education from Southern Connecticut State University,Thompson continues to coach youth sports, including basketball, football, baseball, softball,
lacrosse and soccer.

    In addition to being a certified North Carolina high school soccer referee, he is an athletic trainer certified by the National Athletic Trainers’ association and has been chosen by Who’s Who Among American Teachers.

    The author cleverly portrays his protagonist’s struggles in OverTime as he faces and overcomes his past demons in an attempt to turn his life around. Thompson skillfully draws upon his many years of coaching, counseling and mediation experience. The author has an innate ability to put the reader there in the moment with skillfully rendered dialogues and narration that allows the emotions involved to rely on the pace of the narrative. This surreal and engaging novel is a dramatic sports story filled with conflict, deceit and misplaced trust. It is also a story about lost love and a world few of us are seldom privy to or perhaps have never imagined.

    The plot unfolds in a small mid-western town high school gymnasium during the final 17 seconds of a basketball game. Coach Jones directs his players in what he believes will be the winning play and culmination of his 25-year coaching career. It would also be his 19th straight state high school boys’ class 4A title.

    Jones carefully lays-out a detailed play for his talented senior star  and shooting guard, Trey “Shooter” Parrish, who is now dripping with sweat. As the players gather around one last time, the aged and revered coach tells his team, “Men, you are the best group of players I have ever coached. Whatever happens now, I will never forget you. Thank you.”

    Trey Parrish becomes haunted by the memory of that fateful night at South Willow High School. As the story progresses, we soon learn how this one high school basketball game would become the turning point in this young boy’s life, and the role it would continue to play in the years ahead.

    Parrish is troubled and preoccupied by the memories of his past, and the lingering guilt he feels about his older brother whose dreams have been shattered. He also struggles with resentment toward an overbearing father whose former success as a basketball player and high school coach continues to create much strife and unsettling feelings between them. Perhaps, it is not surprising that Trey feels he will never measure-up.

    For example, in this early scene we see the tension build between father and son: “Listen, Trey, for years while you played for Coach Jones, neither you nor he would listen to me about the team concept. It was alwaysabout you and getting you the ball — you, you, you, and you.”

    The author skillfully brings the reader into Trey “Shooter” Parrish’s world and creates multidimensional and believable characters as the plot moves along like a locomotive down a rickety old track — only to be derailed when we least expect it. Thompson understands explicitly the need for pacing, and the rise and fall of various scenes are skillfully interwoven as he masterfully adjusts gears before turning or accelerating around the next corner.

    Although I found Thompson’s plot convincing for the most part, there were a few scenes that just did not seem to hold true. For example, in one scene we see Trey going to his local bank to withdraw an extremely large amount of cash from his ATM. Still, the author’s novel is full of memorable, touching and gut wrenching scenes that will tug at most readers’ hearts, and leave one with mixed feelings. Moreover, perhaps, the ending will surely raise many unanswerable questions in the reader’s mind too.

Trey “Shooter” Parrish is fighting all the way and it is this resistance that gives this novel its special power. Whether you are a sports enthusiast or prefer to sit on the sidelines and watch, you will find Thompson’s novel a memorable and worthwhile read.

    Howie Thompson has written two other books: “The Complete Book of Youth Soccer,” published in 2001, and “A Game For All Seasons,” published in 2005. He lives with his wife in Little River, S.C., where he is helping create a soccer club at Long Bay Soccer Club, and is a tournament director there too. Thompson is on the faculty at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, N.C., and can be reached at ncoachhta@msn.com

Alan W. King, M.F.A., M.A., is a freelance writer, long-time Darien resident, and also a graduate of Darien High School, Class of 1967.  He is currently writing a screenplay for “OverTime” and may be reached at: Writer042002@Yahoo.com.


 
 
  Alan W. King
Monday, September 28, 2009
GARRETT M. BROWN'S 'AMERICANA'
 
Takes you back to 1958 New England

By Alan W. King
Special to The Darien Times
September 24, 2009
Play Review


"Darien native Garrett M. Brown's one-act-play, "Americana," was performed for the first time this spring.  In this scene, Mr. Self, the encyclopedia salesman played by Chris Ceraso, looks on with the Dad (Michael Cullen) as they gaze at the son, Garry's (Miles Bergner) sketchbook of drawings of his models -- the various Playmates of the Month, from Playboy Magazine."

Very seductive are the first steps from the town into the woods,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote,” but the end is want and madness.”

This analogy perhaps best epitomizes “Americana,” a one-act play by Darien native Garrett M. Brown, performed at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City this past spring, from May 22 to June 19. If you are a baby boomer or one who appreciates nostalgia as I do, you too might very well have enjoyed this play. Although I didn’t have an opportunity to see Brown’s live production, I did read this talented playwright’s script recently, and was captivated by his unique and unconventional approach to story telling.

Brown, a 1967 Darien High School graduate known for his “ear to ear smile” is not only a playwright but a stage and screen actor, director, novelist, poet and painter, and has written 11 short plays that include “Ambulance Men,” about three ambulance men who picked up Marilyn Monroe’s body the night she died, and three full-length plays too.

After graduating from Amherst College with a bachelor of arts degree, this former DHS thespian and member of the school’s Theatre 308 pursued an acting career that eventually landed him a role on “Sisters,” a television drama that aired on NBC for six seasons, from 1991 to 1996, and received eight Emmy Award nominations.

“Americana” is a fascinating and compelling family drama that is both a heart warming and gut wrenching account about the protagonist, Gary, a precocious, bright and highly sensitive 10 year-old boy who is struggling with his adolescence in this suburban middle-class, small New England town.

Gary sent out coupons from magazines in hopes of getting mail when on this pitch black, cold November night in 1958, Mr. Self, an Encyclopedia salesman dressed-up in a suit and tie shows-up unannounced at the Brown’s front door. Self brings with him more than just knowledge and the likes of Norman Rockwell and Hugh Hefner, whom we discover inspires this talented young artist.

It isn’t long before Gary, his dad and mom, and Mr. Self become engaged and entangled in conversation that takes us on an emotional and unpredictable evening’s journey as the actors crisscross back and forth between two worlds that gradually merge into one.

Brown knows all too well how to skillfully develop his characters through the use of dialogue and mannerisms in a setting that is reminiscent of the times. In this one scene we see Gary’s mom defending her son’s manhood as she speaks to the audience: “Brownie, my husband, thinks he might be, y’know — a little funny. I mean, Gary is funny, has a wonderful sense of humor. But I mean, you know... (whispers) ho-mo-sexual. But he’s not. And even if he were, what of it?”

As she continues to fill us in, we learn more about her son’s dreams and aspirations, his future, past, and present.

Brown’s play is masterfully and cleverly written with an unconventional style that is skillfully executed using minimal stage setting which consists of two wicker chairs, a preset mahogany coffee table, and a baby blue sofa that is brought-on stage as the men deliver their speeches. He also uses simple props like pillows and magazines carried-on by Gary and his mom.

This minimal stage setting allows for little distraction as the audience is able to immediately focus on the true nature of each character, their interactions with each other, and often humorous conversation that shows us the range of Brown’s writing ability. He is a master of satire.

What makes this play work so well is not only a strong plot and subplot, but the playwright’s simple and well crafted dialogue that carries the story line along effortlessly from beginning to end, and skillfully rendered monologues directed at an unsuspecting audience. It is during this time that we experience the emotional highs and lows fraught with disappointments and regrets by a sometimes demanding and overbearing father who is struggling with his own demons, and a mother who is desperately trying to keep this fragmented family from falling apart.

But, it is during those moments of tenderness between father and son, and the humor that is cleverly interwoven throughout that catches us off guard, and makes this play such a worthwhile experience. It is a time when perhaps life seemed tame in comparison to a world that has seemingly gone awry.

What I also found most appealing about “Americana” was the way Brown cleverly used back-story and foreshadowing as the actors engaged the audience in personal anecdotes about their every day lives, struggles and dreams, and those underlying demons that continue to fester and threaten to tear this family apart.

Not surprisingly, alcoholism and depression are at the root of this family’s misfortune, and the conflict gradually builds and culminates into the unthinkable. Brown cleverly fills-in the gaps through the use of various writing techniques like back-story, and the use of monologues directed at the audience that brings us into the past and future while still engaged in the present.

As I placed the script down on my desk while enjoying my morning cup of coffee, I couldn’t help but think of the immortal words of Don Hewitt who would often say, “Tell me a story!” I knew Brown had done just that. My only disappointment with this one-act play was that it was just that — one-act. Because now I realized that I wasn’t ready to step out of the woods.

Alan W. King, M.F.A., M.A., is a freelance writer, long-time Darien resident, and also a 1967 graduate of Darien High School. He is currently writing a screenplay, book reviews and feature stories, and may be reached at Writer042002@yahoo.com.



 
 
  Howie Thompson
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What a class we all have become,

Painter,Actors, Teachers and Sellers et al.

We've grown through the years and all of the tears

So here we all stand and we're all standing tall.

Do you all remember when , and what we all did,

When our childhood antics took place .

Well here are some memories of the times in the past,

That no amount of years can ever errase.

Senior skip day at the beach, with beer in the sand,

Late night trips back from Porchester never paying that toll.

The Oaks and the Suds and all the wannabees,

Saturday afternoon games watching the Blue Wave roll.

The senior prank that's legend still today,

Robin Risque walking across the stage as we practiced how to graduate.

Watching Butch and Bob keep the oponents at bay,

Walking in as a class from the beach "ooops we are late."

Beard Day, was there any doubt Larry would win,

The first Class to graduate from a new DHS.

Mather vs Middlesex then DHS as one,

Anything and everything they we could do to excess.

All of these memories bring back times of pain and joy,

Some of us remember them all in our own special way.

But here we are some 40 years later remembering that young girl and boy,

We have accomplished some amazing things and have all had our day.

"GO DHS...Party On Dudes"


Howie Thompson 12/2/08

 

 
 
  Mike Johnson
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
AFTER THE PARTY My wife Francie and I got back to my Mom's place around 1AM Sunday morning. The kids were asleep our big air bed, set up in the living room. Needless to say it was almost impossible to fall asleep for a long while. All those faces. All the conversations and smiles. In the morning the kids (ages 7 and 9 1/2) wanted to hear all about it. Grandma served up pancakes and Eva, my oldest got the ball rolling, "Did you guys dance?" "Yep, we danced." "What dances did you do? What were the names of the dances?...Did you guys really dance?" "Yep, we really danced. We danced to some of the old stuff I used to listen to in High School. We did the Twist, the Mashed Potatoes, The Shing-a-Ling, the LocoMotion. I don't know, sometimes we just moved around out on the floor. It was really fun." There may be nothing sweeter than these kinds of questions (the kids looking up at us then looking at each other and kind of snickering very quietl. I just wanted to say (having never gone to a reunion before) that I so much enjoyed those very brief moments of conversation with so many old classmates and '66ers, too. I wound up wishing there were more time to visit and talk. We really loved rocking out on the dance floor, too. Mike