Falls Villagers tell their stories
FALLS VILLAGE — Documentary filmmaker Eric Veden’s latest installment of his series on Falls Village begins with Warren Blass recalling his childhood.
Blass says he spent a lot of time fishing on the Housatonic River as a youth.
He also apologizes to Bill Beebe “for ruining his bike.”
On a more somber note, Blass speaks of his time serving in the Vietnam War, which was, he reminds the viewer, not a war, but a “conflict.”
Officially Blass was a “wheeled vehicle mechanic.” As there were not many vehicles where he was stationed, he spent most of his time patrolling the perimeter of the base.
It was dangerous.
“Nobody really wanted to know you” because casualties were high, Blass says.
“I was lucky. “
Next up is a visit with Richard and Mary Lanier at Grassy Hill.
A ride within the property reveals an abundance of walnut trees.
Veden’s camera winds up at a small cabin, where the Laniers bring out deck chairs and reminisce.
Veden almost always keeps his presence as filmmaker to the bare minimum, but he can’t help exclaiming, “Oh, what a view!”
Veden visits John Robshaw and the textile shop.
Robshaw explains how he became interested in block printing and natural indigo dye and successfully brought what he found in India to New York City and, eventually, Falls Village.
Included here is footage of Robshaw shot in India, as he takes a leisurely journey through an unnamed town. The trip includes stopping for a shave, and winds up with Robshaw taking the bedding he has brought along on his bicycle and settling in for a nap.
The viewer also gets a tour of the Robshaw barn, which contains some really unusual furniture.
Robshaw Is a natural storyteller with an easy, conversational style.
Veden checks in with Gloria Parker and Howard Platt, who probably hold the record of most times moving to and from Falls Village.
The two met in California, and both have extensive show business backgrounds.
They have lived as far afield as Mexico and Wisconsin but somehow they always return to Falls Village, which Platt calls “a little place with big ideas.”
Their first home in town was 92 Main St.
Then they built a home at 162 Belden St.
Then they went to Mexico.
And so on.
Parker jokes that they have owned so many homes in town, they are responsible for a lot of plumbing improvements.
Episode 28 of the Falls Village series concludes in Chuck Lewis’ living room, where he succinctly tells his story, which runs from New Jersey to Guatemala to Tulane University to the Connecticut Department of Corrections to the old Town Hall in Falls Village.
Lewis says his career experience in corrections helped when he was first selectman.
As the town approached the millennium, “it was a very divided and contentious place.”
A major source of contention was a big school building project.
There was also the problem of the renovation of the Senior Center. Lewis recalls how, on his first day as first selectman, he was informed that the plans for the renovation could not be implemented.
Lewis says “I had to mend fences, talk to people and be decisive” when the time came.
The video is available for sale or borrowing at the David M. Hunt Library. Veden also has a YouTube channel titled “Eric Veden.”