BRISTOL BITS: Here's hoping for some humor from a civic busy bee

Published on Sunday, 14 May 2017 21:11
Written by Bob Montgomery

Staff Writer

I thought I’d start off today’s column with a little humor. The picture here is of Mike Saman as a senior at Bristol Eastern in 1962. As you know, the Superior Electric retiree is currently the president of the Bristol Historical Society, as well as busy with other civic-minded organizations. Good man with a good sense of humor…...I hope.

Recalling Dr. Vail

I spoke with 1952 Bristol High graduate Don Padlo last week with regards to the late Dr. John Vail, Bristol’s veterinarian decades ago. John worked for Dr. Vail after school for four years and has many memories, as do many readers who frequented his place of business at 177 North St. in the vicinity of where the new Walgreen’s is located today.

“He was very busy,” Padlo said. “He worked six days a week, starting in the morning in going to farms to treat animals, take tests Saturdays on milk-giving animals, cows and goats, and then opening his shop at 4 p.m. He would stay there until nine, 10 or midnight, even until 2 a.m., if he had to operate. It was the same everyday, Monday through Saturday.

“He did everything in his practice and he was cheap. He was a good, hardworking guy.”

Padlo added that Dr. Vail’s father, John, started the business and the two worked together before the son took over. He was single, from a good family, and his sister, Dorothy Vail, was a well-known teacher in town.

“He was shy as h***,” Padlo said. “Pretty girls would come in and flirt with him and his face would turn red.”

My memories of Dr. Vail as a kid are good. I’d be there with my father, and each and everyone in the waiting room seemed to have a fondness for the kind-hearted man.

Doug Devnew

I enjoyed Sunday’s story on Doug Devnew. Not sure if he knows me, but I recall him from years ago. His sister, Lynn, was a classmate of mine at both Stafford and Bristol Eastern High schools. Lynn was very good academically, so it must run in the family. At the time, I only saw Doug from a distance as Lynn’s little brother. Now……!

Shout out

To Beverly Foote - not Jim (heh, heh)..


This plate was seen on a gray Hyundai Elantra in town the other day. Hopefully, I’ll see a plate something similar to YANKS this week.

American Flag

I received a call from an anonymous lady who told me that the American Flag near the site of the future Secret Guerilla Unit Monument on Downs Street was no longer there. I don’t recall if there was one, but if any of our veterans know there was supposed to be one, Timmy Gamache, for example, I assume it will be replaced.

Bristol Bits rewind 2002 (15 years ago)

City of Bristol employee Mark Bencivengo is nicknamed “Pizza” for his love of the Italian pie. In talking with him the other day, he told me that he’s seen the license plate PIZZA on a vehicle in the area, and otherwise would have liked to have it himself. I suggested he get something like PEETZA or PEETSA.

The Federal Hill gazebo

The gazebo on the Federal Hill Green was the Eagle Scout project of James Coscina 15 years ago. He had a number of folks who helped and those I recall were his father, Jeffrey, his brother, Joe, and his grandfather Leo Roberge. There had been an original gazebo on the Federal Hill Green many years ago and having a new one built was definitely a good thing.

Joe Tavera

I didn’t know or know of Joe Tavera until he joined the Bristol Tramps Committee a few years back. But since, I’ve seen first hand what an active contributor he is to the organization. He’s our treasurer and has his hands in a lot of the goings-on with the Tramps. Plus, he’s got a great positive attitude and pleasant personality. Proud to know you, Joe.

Great quote

When John Lodovico was recently awarded the St. Joseph Medal of Honor by the Archdiocese of Hartford, he gave Kristen Gloss of The Bristol Press a great quote. It really said it all: “I think everybody should have some particular purpose. Mine, in general, is that to always try to do the right thing and what’s good for the community.”

Write to Bob Montgomery, ℅ The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Call 860-973-1808, or email:

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General News on Sunday, 14 May 2017 21:11. Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2017 21:13.