BRISTOL BITS: Fond memories of Bristol's first female council member

Published on Tuesday, 1 August 2017 21:16
Written by Bob Montgomery

I received an email from Bob McGuire in which he writes fondly of Patti Ewen, the City of Bristol’s former 17-year treasurer and first female City Council member who recently died. Here is part of it:

“I feel like I grew up in Patti’s house, having first met her attending school with her son, Mark, at BEHS in the mid-to-late 70’s when he joined the school band, where I played in multiple groups.”

Bob added that during his 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and even into his 50’s, he would stop in to play scrabble with Patti and her husband, Bob, hardly ever winning. Either way, he enjoyed it just the same. Bob Ewen had Mark invest in his first 401-K, a big step in his life, and together they would sing Christmas carols during that holiday. Bob McGuire continues:

“In fact, I was so taken with Federal Hill having grown up on Stonecrest Drive and walking by there on my way to Bristol Library that I purchased the ‘Judge Murphy House’ - Dr. Brackett’s 1910 house - in 1996 at 17 Broadview Street and lived there for 17 years, raising our son and daughters until we moved in December 2013 to the Gaski Farm once known as ‘Brislington Farm’ on Burlington Avenue. We remain there to this day.

“On daily walks with my young daughters (when living on Broadview Street) we would stop by and see ‘Miss Patti.’ Her porch was and remains welcome being occupied by BBK - Bob, Bob and Kevin - so ‘Broadview Manor’ remains in good hands. I and our city remain grateful for knowing and sharing Patti, and most of all her honesty! I will cherish and further share the lessons, books and knowledge I gained in that well as my daughters.”

Bob Ritchie on the Victoria Motel

Here is the second part of an email I received from retired Bristol educator Bob Ritchie on the Victoria Motel, where he worked during the mid-1960’s as a teenager.

“I met so many very interesting travelers back then. Many folks who stayed there had travelled all day and did not talk much about their trip. I was open to chatting and many folks sat right down and filled me in on where they were from and where they were going. I had a number of long haul trucks come in looking for a good solid meal. I usually sent them to LaMonico’s on Rt. 6 for good home-style cooked Italian fare. I told them to leave the truck here and it was just a few blocks walk from the other side of the plaza. After driving all day the truckers seemed to enjoy the few minute walk. They always stopped on the way back to thank me for sending them to such a great restaurant.

“I remember one day a trucker with a refrigerator unit came in and needed a room but also had to locate some dry ice because he was having trouble with his refrigerator unit. He had a big load of human placenta that is used to grow measles vaccine. I sent him right up the road to Redman’s Dairy and he got his dry ice and saved his precious cargo. He had a route of hospitals he stopped at where he would pick up the placenta to bring back to the lab for processing. He came into the office and gave me a tip for giving him the information on acquiring the dry ice.”

Bob would later leave the job to work at GE in Plainville while going to CCSU to become an industrial arts teacher. If I am correct, he would later retire from Bristol Central.

The Ritchie brothers

I remember Bob Ritchie and his brothers, Joe and Mike, who also attended Stafford School and Bristol Eastern. Joe was the oldest of the three and Mike the youngest, and all three were members of Bob Dailey and Mel Buchanan’s Lancer track teams. Bob’s sleeker brothers ran something like the 400 and/or 800 yard distances, while he did the weight events. I did track with Joe and Bob, but recall that Mike was either an eighth-grader or freshman when I was a senior. I do recall that Mike went on to set a Bristol Eastern track record. The Ritchie brothers I knew were good people.


I saw this license plate on a swanky-looking black Porsche Macan S in the parking lot at Chippanee Golf Club on Monday.

Centre Square road

A few people have asked me recently about the road that is being planned for Centre Square. Lorenzo Burgio, a fellow writer here, had a page story on the subject in the July 21 edition of this newspaper. The road currently planned will connect from upper Riverside Avenue to the Laurel Street area, and that’s probably in the same areas where there are currently entrance/exits off the square to both Riverside and Laurel. Also, the stretch from upper Riverside Avenue just off Main Street to North Main will not be changed or closed off.

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, Forestville, General News on Tuesday, 1 August 2017 21:16. Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2017 21:19.