[Click any image to enlarge. Note: Barb passed away in 2003. ]
“Barb” … full of fun … easy to get along with … Barb and Glo … would like to see the world … future undecided.
Died: 6-Nov-2003 Fairfield, CT
[Notice provided by John Ottinger. ]
[From the Westport News (CT) Date: November 12, 2003. (c) 2003 Westport News. All rights reserved.]
Barbara Hartley Curran of Fairfield, died Nov. 6 in Cambridge Manor. She was 66. Born and raised in the Green’s Farms section of Westport, she attended Staples High school and moved to Fairfield in 1958. She is survived by her former husband, John Curran, of Fairfield; five children, Jack Curran and his wife, Lynn, of Fairfield, Amy Hudgens and her husband, Jay, of NC, David Curran and his wife, Gentra, of Fairfield, Thomas Curran and his wife, Stacey, of Fairfield, William Curran of Fairfield; [and] eight grandchildren.
By George (Cliff) Clifford… I am writing this now (years after I first heard of her 2003 death) about Barb because: a) I’ve always felt badly about an accident that I caused in which she was injured, and b) in a small, anecdotal way it reflects how—in the short span of our lifetime—we have lost some of the homegrown, everyday, garden variety civility and decency that American parents once upon a time taught their American kids…
It was graduation time at Greens Farms Elementary; the year must have been 1949. We had just concluded graduation ceremonies, I believe. Everyone was gussied up—parents, teachers, school boys and girls: suits, ties, dresses, white gloves, patent leather shoes (in those days dresses weren’t optional boys’ wear).
At the northern end of the school facing the Post Road was a covered entryway with a slate floor. In this smallish, crowded enclosure, doting parents and teachers stood chatting away while schoolchildren looked on. To liven up this staid tableau, one or two of us mindless, 11-year-old schoolboys hit upon the clever idea of running through the crowd, whooping it up. Tearing through a group of adults, I suddenly came upon young Barbara Hartley standing in a small group of adults.
It was the hat that caught my attention…
Seized by some 11-year-old impulse, I reached out to yank the thing off her head. Unfortunately, it (a bonnet?) was tied under her chin. Down she went, backward, cracking her head on the slate floor.
With that one mindless act I had given Barb a concussion, or the nearest thing to it.
I don’t recall what happened next. No doubt it was not pleasant because my dad was right there, I believe, witness to the entire event. (Hence the amnesia.)
The next thing I remember happened days or weeks later, after Barb had recovered. I was standing on the front porch of Barb’s house in Greens Farms (I think it was on South Turkey Hill Rd., not far from where I lived). I remember standing there—dressed properly for the occasion—knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell, the purpose of which visit was to deliver a heartfelt, formal apology (arranged beforehand, of course, by Mrs. Leary, the principal, and my mother) for having caused Barb such pain. I might have been holding flowers or a box of chocolates—maybe even a new bonnet; I do not recall, but that’s the kind of thing my mother would have insisted on. I have a vague recollection of a gracious acceptance of my apology from Barb and her mother: After all it wasn’t intentional; it was just an unfortunate accident…
The incident that I had mindlessly caused a few days or weeks before came to a close on that porch sometime in June, 1949.
But not in my mind.
Barb and I were never close; just two elementary school kids in the same car on a rail journey to somewhere, drifting into different cars in junior and senior high. However, even from this half-century distance, I can recall her quick, throaty, mischievous laughter (mostly when giggling it up with girlfriends). If I’m not wrong, Barb was a sweet, gentle, trusting girl who only wished the best for everyone. I am sorry that I never pulled her aside in high school (not by her hat!) to ask if she had ever suffered any after-effects from that long ago injury that I caused…
(Whaddya think? Do they have internet access up there…?)