Sunday, November 04, 2007

Ridgefield In Peace

Squash is dead. Not the sport. Not the vegetable. The dude. If you lived or worked in Ridgefield, Connecticut between the beginning of time and today, you know that "Ridgefield News Store" is really "Squash's."

It was such a staple of the town, I just assumed, as a little kid, that every town's newsstand-type shop was called "Squash's." After middle school, me, Pat, Mike Lep, and Suff would sometimes head over there to buy Panini baseball stickers, and then go trespass in some building and sit and put them in our albums. Man, I was the king of "nerdy trespassing." Me and my friends would sneak into places, only to do completely innocent things, like play board games and stuff. In fact, I recommend this to you young people. You get the thrill of breaking and entering, but when you get caught, the people see you're not really doing anything wrong, and let you off easy.

What's the lesson here? Squash is dead, dude! I'm proud to say I represented his store in two different seasons of youth baseball. Once in Little League, "triple-A." That was the year I got my black eye. And once in Pony League--when me, the aforementioned Mike Lep, and Fran Trejo were told we were gonna have to "tow the load," as the rest of the team kinda stunk. Our coach that season is actually quoted in the above obituary. It makes sense that dude would talk about scoring chicks in an obit.

While looking at the other Ridgefield obituaries, I saw one person who graduated RHS a year after I did. William Perron--died in a car crash. I remember the name, but can't come up with any memories of him. I found a pic of him online, and he was wearing a Sox hat and a Bad Religion T-shirt. Nice job, guy. Hopefully Squash has opened up a new place in whatever dimension you're both in, so you can get Panini stickers or whatever.

Thinking of these dead people makes the "extra hour" we just got seem a little unfair, doesn't it? Ah well, they'll get the last laugh when we lose the hour next spring. But we'll get it back again. But then we'll lose it again. And so on, and so on, until we're all dead. Except for me. I plan to live forever. Could happen. My girlfriend says "you wouldn't want to be alive after a certain point." Eff that, I'm Papa Smurfin' it--when you die, you're done forever, so I say keep rollin' 'til the wheels fall off. And then get prosthetic wheels. Re-sign Lowell!

I LIKE those last two words!!
Wow, he was a nice man. Did you see the guy that owned Emilio's died too? Depressing reading those obits.
Didn't see that, but I see it's a tailor shop. I don't even remember it.
Further advice to "young people" compliments of Jere's Mom:
Yes, people at the Hilton won't get huffy when you're playing board games in their lobby at midnight, but they draw the line when you decide to test the waters of their pool. Then your mother will get a call from Hilton security and will not be thrilled.
Hey - is the Scott Mason quoted there the round guy with the glasses or the skinny guy with the beard? It has to be one of those guys.

I think I always got my baseball stickers from Yesteryear's Collectibles or that place near the Pepperidge Farm store on Route 7.
Mason--round, glasses.

Oh my lord, I can't believe you know about Yesteryear's Collectibles. Just down the hill from the 116/35 intersection. We would get those scratch-off cards there, where you'd get a player with a bunch of circles, and you'd set your lineup and scratch off a circle for the hitter, and see the result. Nothing was sweeter in life than seeing that "HR."

Where was the Pep. Farm store? I know later there was one in the Danbury Square Mall...
I loved Yesteryear's Collectibles. That guy that ran it was totally Comic Book Store Guy from the Simpsons.

Okay, there was (might still be) a building on Route 7 - just past Triangles Cafe - on the outskirts of Ridgefield that used to have a Pepperidge Farms. I think there was a card store in that building too at one point. There were lots of random businesses in there and they all seemed to fail - I think there was a dating service in there at one point and some random store that had something to do with Cub Scouts I think.

The best was when Stop and Shop used to carry those 51 card rack packs though - if I was good I could always convince my Mom to buy me one. No idea why they stopped carrying them - it seemed like they went like hotcakes.
I've been seeing those rack packs on ebay--always trying to get one with Gedman visible. (I have a cello pack with Nolan Ryan on the front and the back of Gedman's card showing on the back.)

How late was YYC open? It seems like it was gone when I was really young.

What I remember about that weird Triangles zone was the "Indian Trading Post," and across the street, a red house that was the only one along there, kinda near the firing range, with a "no turning around in driveway sign," and that we all knew as "the whorehouse." I kinda doubt it actually was one.
I think YYC was open until 1986, or maybe late 1985. I remember getting the diagonal text w/logo Topps cards there.

This building was past Triangles zone a bit, I think. Somehow I never put two and two together and figured out what Triangles was - I thought it was actually a cafe.
Funny how I knew about the "whorehouse" in elementary school but it was at least high school when I found out what Triangles was.

Card shops I remember:


That one in that plaza in Danbury--on Padanarum Rd. Where the movie theater that got replaced by Super Food Mart was, and also there was an Amazing Stores, and a Burlington Coat Factory. Was there in like 94, I remember.

The one on Mill Plain Rd in Danbury, right where a video store was (not Brown Video, and not the old Ultimate location, a different one)--if you come out of 7-Eleven and go left, it would be right there on the right, before Windmill Diner. Was there in 89 because I remember Score was new then, and they started in 88.

The one in Ridgefield, right in town there, kind of near Otto's. You had to go downstairs. Another early-90s deal.

There must've been more.....
I remember both the one in Ridgefield in town and the one by Windmill Diner. I think I traded a Punisher #1 for a Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck Rookie and a bunch of other stuff there in 1990 or 1991.

I think the Comic Book Store on Main Street in Danbury also carried cards.

Did you ever go to the Baseball Card Shows? I remember getting Yaz's autograph at one, Jody Reed's - I've got a book of those at home somewhere. I remember a few at Ethan Allen, one at the Danbury Fair Mall the year of the Billy Ripken card..
Almost mentioned the Griffey rookie in the original post. At one point, we "load-towers," along with everyone else, were in a slump. Mason said he's got a Griffey UD rookie for the next one of us to get a hit. Mike won. I know he still has it, and I was the card collector. But he'd still never give it up...

We always went to the Hilton ones. My friend Trevor got a Mickey Mantel insert card (3 of 7)--in an Upper Deck Pack. This was like 92. He sold it to a dealer at a Hilton show. The guy asked 25--Trevor got him up to 27. The next show, we went back, and there was the Mantle, on sale for $100. I learned about dealers that day.

I think those are the only ones w e went to. But they also used to have signings at Marcus Dairy--I got OJ Anderson's auto there. And Joe Klecko's--though that might have been at the mall.
Hi from more than 10 years in the futuuuuurrrre... It's kind of fitting that I spelled Mickey Mantle wrong one of the two times I mentioned him in that last comment, and obvious typo. Because Trevor, after getting that card initially, said something about getting a "Rickey Mantle" card. (He didn't grow up with baseball. I got him into it in the early 90s and I think he still coaches today.)
"An" obvious typo. Dammit! This reminds me, I noticed my mom made a typo ON the word "typo" on her website the other day. She said she might leave it like that for ironic purposes.

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