THE BEST 34 YEARS OF MY LIFE
Have you ever had one of those days where you just felt like spending a few minutes in your past? One of those days when the car just veers off the highway into some old neighborhoods that suddenly assume their look of decades gone by and flush you with memories of what was and what came to be?
Yesterday was one of those days for me, my car, almost with a mind of it’s own, taking me off I-84 into Manchester, to a house on North Elm street where the parents of my high school best friend, John Marvin, became second parents to me, his kid brothers, Chris and Tom, like kid brothers of my own. I drove by the house on Harlan Street where my high school buddy “Bird” and I lived when we were both single and “Bird” still lives today, and the house on Henry Street where we played poker on Friday night’s in Gary Heard’s rec room, Gary’s kid brother Peter, today a Travelers executive and the man behind the Connecticut Cycling Festival, occasionally peeking down the stairs to see what all the yelling was about.
There was the house on Green Road where my friend since high school, Randy Smith, created some of the greatest columns ever to grace the Connecticut sports world. My car took me along the route over which I walked Paula Ingersoll home from high school and past the house on Crosby Street where my Aunt Lois and Uncle John threw the greatest Christmas parties ever.
I slowed down to take a second look going by the house on Sanford Road where “Bird” and “Pill” and “Goeys” grew up. After driving by the house where a garage band called the Rivals practiced I continued up the hill to the house where Mark Kravitz lived. The owner of the Colony in Vernon, Mark, in many ways, including financially, was one of the great supporters of the New England, then, Hartford Whalers and the father of my friend Pete, today a Washington lobbyist, with whom I spent many a night playing pool in his rec room.
I drove by my friend “Hooch”‘s old house on Pitkin Street. We all had nicknames in those days, mine was “Bluffer”, earned over one of those Friday night poker games, but, be honest, how many of you had a friend in high school with a nickname as cool as “Hooch”?
I drove past the apartment building on Eldridge Street where if Laurel Palmer hadn’t turned the radio dial past 1080 just at the precise moment I mentioned her brother-in-law’s name on the air for the only time in my career we would never have met, and I drove through Millbridge Hollow, the Condo complex where Laurel and I lived the first two years we were married.
I needed to spend those moments with myself yesterday before I could write this commentary this morning. This morning, after 34 years at the greatest radio station in the country, for me, the gold standard of radio since those days of my youth, I am announcing my retirement.
I have been blessed to spend all of my 43 year career serving the wonderful people of this market, first at WINF in Manchester, then at WPOP in Newington during it’s “all news” days, during which I also had the privelege of being the voice of UCONN football and men’s basketball for the Connecticut Radio Network.
These last 34 years have been the best of my life, they brought me Bob Steele, Arnold Dean, Bob Downes, Ross Miller, Ray Dunaway, Angela Dias, John Elliott, Dana Whalen and the most professional broadcast staff a man could ever have the honor of working with.
They brought me Laurel and Abby and a life I can enjoy in retirement.
And the last 43 years have brought me you, a radio audience it has been a privelege to serve. You’ve all become my neighbors and friends. I will miss you all very much. Next Friday will be my last day at WTIC.
I will spend the next week basking in your glow. No comment today, just a thank you, sincerely, from me, Scott Gray.