BRISTOL BITS: A couple of Car Talk type guys come through in the clutch

Published on Sunday, 13 May 2018 21:20


My car wouldn’t start the other day until I turned the ignition key a dozen times or more. Later, it took one turn, sometimes five or six. With this, I dropped my car off at Hamelin & Sons to see what they could find, because I didn’t want to end up stranded somewhere down the road.

I called later that afternoon to see if they diagnosed what the problem was and Dave Hamelin, who is always squared away and the professional businessman, said, “You’re clutch has the Leslie Syndrome.” Upon hearing this, my blood pressure went up 40 notches and my mouth went dry. “What,” I said to myself, “I just had a new clutch put in last year?”

Dave, who must have been smirking while on the phone with me, went on to explain: “My daughter (Leslie) had the same problem. I call it the Leslie Syndrome, she wasn’t pushing her clutch all the way to the floor.”

Meaning that my car and some others with stick shifts won’t start unless the clutch is touching the floor and, apparently, the floor mat on my driver’s side slid up too far and prevented the clutch from reaching far enough. Now, imagine how silly I felt when I went over the garage to pick up my car. Embarrassed to say the least, I thought I’d joke somewhat with Dave to take the pressure off me by saying, “I don’t think I should ever apply for a mechanic’s job.”

He smiled and agreed and as I left the building with my keys in my hands and was walking toward my car I could only guess what he and his brother, Mike, must have thought about this mechanically challenged guy with the  black Mustang.

Bristol Press rewind 2006 (12 years ago)

Eleanor O’Rourke, longtime corresponding secretary of the organization, was named the Bristol Historical Society’s “Volunteer of the Year” at its annual dinner Thursday evening at Nuchies Restaurant in Forestville. She joins previous winners Helen Heffernan, Jeanne DiPietro, Beryl Josephson, Melanie Fletcher, Madeleine McKnight, Dorothy and Roger Manchester, Jack Winters, Marian and Peter Maronn, Edward Krawiecki Jr., Ralph Nestico, Laurie LaRue, Norm Taillon, Lidia Jasinski, Jean Bradley, Rick and Gil Leach, Steve Vastola, Frank Johnson, Henry Moore, Susan Gorski and Ty Mellon.

“She’s very capable and she knows history,” 1996 recipient Jean Bradley said. “She brought in in a lot of good things (historical items) to the society.’

Student demographics

The eighth grade kids from Bristol grammar schools in 1938 - that was 80 years ago - graduated in combined ceremonies held at the former Bristol High. To give you an idea of where Bristol citizens most lived, here are the schools and the number of eighth-graders from each that year:

Mary A. Callen (56), corner of Pine and Middle Streets and now office space; Sarah A. Reynolds (35), now the location of St. Matthew’s Church; Greene-Hills (28), same location as today on Pine Street; Farmington Avenue (10), now the home of the Dumont Agency; Fall Mountain (4), once located on Fall Mountain Road, and North Chippens Hill (1), which closed in 1938 because of its lack of students. It was located at the intersection of Chapel and Hill streets and was remodeled into a private residence with the address of 1142 Hill Street.

John Wartonick

John, 94, a WWII veteran, is currently at Amberwoods of Farmington and I’m told he is lonesome. Why not stop by or send him a note. The address there is 416 Colt Highway, Farmington, CT 06032. Colt Highway is Route 6 and the facility is just a short way into Farmington from Bristol.

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

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Sunday, 13 May 2018 21:20. Updated: Sunday, 13 May 2018 21:23.