By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
The Planning and Zoning Commission is holding an interactive public workshop for the proposed village district regulation for the center of West Haven.
The workshop is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Harriet C. North Community Room on the second floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.
The workshop is a follow-up to the June 18 public information session that introduced the concept of the village district regulation for downtown West Haven.
Based on the positive reaction at the June meeting, the commission is inviting members of the public to share their input on a draft regulation of the proposed village district.
P&Z Chairwoman Kathleen Hendricks said the commission aims to attract a wide range of participants for the workshop, including area businesses and property owners, neighborhood residents and community leaders.
Hendricks said the commission is considering the regulation initially for the area roughly bounded by the railroad tracks, Washington Avenue, Atwater Street and Savin Avenue.
Elements of the zoning concept include establishing design standards and an architectural review process for visible changes to buildings in the area; guiding new development in the central business district; protecting and improving the residential and business character of the area; and performing an architectural review by a professional architect of proposed projects as part of the current zoning approval process.
The village district concept for the West Haven Center was first envisioned as one of multiple recommendations for improving the downtown area in the city’s Plan of Conservation and Development, which was adopted by the commission in June 2017.
For more information, call the Department of Planning and Development at (203) 937-3580.
By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
The West Haven Summer Concert Series kicks off tonight in Old Grove Park with Top 40 music performed by Timmy Maia Experience.
The free concerts are scheduled from 7-9 p.m.
The Thursday night series will follow Aug. 1 with dance rock anthems by The Signature Band and rhythm and blues and classic rock hits by The Nu Groove on Aug. 8, both on the Green.
The lineup will continue with R&B, funk and reggae favorites by Le’Mixx Band on Aug. 15 in Old Grove Park.
Concerts postponed by rain will move to the same time and venue the following Monday.
For rescheduling information, visit the Department of Parks and Recreation website, www.whparkrec.com, or call (203) 937-3677 after 4 p.m. the day of the concert.
In an effort to establish a more consistent time period between downs in high school football, the play clock will start at 40 seconds instead of 25 seconds in many cases beginning with the 2019 season.
This change was one of seven rules revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee at its January 13-15 meeting in Indianapolis, which were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
The play clock will continue to start at 25 seconds (a) prior to a try following a score, (b) to start a period or overtime series, (c) following administration of an inadvertent whistle, (d) following a charged time-out, (e) following an official’s time-out, with a few exceptions, and (f) following the stoppage of the play clock by the referee for any other reason. In all other cases, 40 seconds will be placed on the play clock and start when the ball is declared dead by a game official.
Previously, the ball was marked ready-for-play when, after it had been placed for a down, the referee gave the ready-for-play signal and the 25-second count began. Beginning next season, in addition to the above situations when the 25-second count is used, the ball will also be ready for play when, starting immediately after the ball has been ruled dead by a game official after a down, the ball has been placed on the ground by the game official and the game official has stepped away to position.
“The entire committee needs to be commended for its thorough discussion regarding the move to a 40-second play clock, except in specific situations that will still have a 25-second play clock to show play is ready to begin,” said Todd Tharp, assistant director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association and chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee. “This is one of the most substantial game administration rules changes to be approved in the past 10 years, and without detailed experimentation from several state associations over the past three years, along with cooperation of the NFHS Football Game Officials Manual Committee, all the elements needed to approve this proposal would not have been in place.
Another significant change approved by the committee was the addition of a note to Rule 1-3-7 to permit state associations to create instant-replay procedures for state postseason contests only. This revision would allow game or replay officials to use a replay monitor during state postseason contests to review decisions by the on-field game officials. Use of a replay monitor would be on a state-by-state adoption basis, and the methodology for reviewing calls would be determined by the applicable state association.
“The ultimate goal of each game official and each officiating crew is to get the call correct,” Tharp said. “Each state association, by individual adoption, can now use replay or video monitoring during its respective postseason contests to review decisions by the on-field game officials. Each state association, if it adopts this rules revision, will also create the parameters and scope of the replay.”
With regard to uniforms, the NFHS Football Rules Committee clarified the size requirements for numbers on jerseys through the 2023 season and added a new requirement effective with the 2024 season. Clarifications to Rule 1-5-1c (in bold) that are in effect through the 2023 state that the numbers, inclusive of any border, shall be centered horizontally at least 8 inches and 10 inches high on front and back, respectively. In addition, the entire body of the number (the continuous horizontal bars and vertical strokes) exclusive of any border(s) shall be approximately 1½-inches wide. Finally, through the 2023 season, the body of the number (the continuous horizontal bars and vertical strokes) shall be either: (a) a continuous color(s) contrasting with the jersey color; or (b) the same color(s) as the jersey with a minimum of one border that is at least ¼-inch in width of a single solid contrasting color.
Effective with the 2024 season, the entire body of the number (the continuous horizontal bars and vertical strokes) of the number shall be a single solid color that clearly contrasts with the body color of the jersey.
“The purpose of numbers on jerseys is to provide clear identification of players,” said Bob Colgate, NFHS director of sports and sports medicine and staff liaison to the NFHS Football Rules Committee. “In order to enhance the ability to easily identify players, the committee has clarified the size requirements for jersey numbers through the 2023 season and added a new requirement for the 2024 season.”
Two changes were approved by the committee in an effort to reduce the risk of injury in high school football. First, tripping the runner is now prohibited. Beginning next season, it will be a foul to intentionally use the lower leg or foot to obstruct a runner below the knees. Previously, a runner was not included in the definition of tripping. Second, in Rule 9-4-3k, the “horse-collar” foul was expanded to include the name-plate area, which is directly below the back collar. Colgate said grabbing the name-plate area of the runner’s jersey, directly below the back collar, and pulling the runner to the ground is now an illegal personal contact foul.
A change in the definition of a legal scrimmage formation was approved. A legal scrimmage formation now requires at least five offensive players on their line of scrimmage (instead of seven) with no more than four backs. The committee noted that this change will make it easier to identify legal and illegal offensive formations.
The final change approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee for the 2019 season was a reduction in the penalty for illegally kicking or batting the ball from 15 yards to 10 yards.
The annual Bierfest at the Harugari German-American Club,66 Highland St., is scheduled for Sunday, July 28 at the club. The gate opens at 1 p.m. The Austrian Boys will play traditional German music for your listening and dancing pleasure from 2-6. There will also Special Entertainment by the Harugari Schuhplattlers. Admission is $5 for adults, no charge for children 18 and under. Veterans get in for free with your veteran card. Under the pavilion, rain or shine. For more information go to harugari.org.
Doo Wop Dance
The West Haven Italian-American Civic Association will hold a Summer Day Doo Wop Dance at 85 Chase Lane on Saturday, July 27, at 7 p.m. Music by Charles the DJ till 12. Free beer, wine or soda. Cash Bar for mixed drinks. BYO snacks, coffee at 11. Tickets: $20 per person. Call Lou at (203) 934-3339 or (203) 464-1976 or Ben at (203) 933-4423.
WHHS Class of 1964 will be holding its 55th year class reunion on Saturday, Oct. 5 at App’s Restaurant, Captain Thomas Boulveard. More info to follow.
The West Haven Italian-American Civic Association Senior Center is seeking new members to join its Tuesday senior gathering. Join a group of friendly seniors in an afternoon of good company, with Bingo, cards, trips to casinos and conversations with like-minded people and more. We meet at the club, 85 Chase Lane, each Tuesday from noon to 3. The cost is just $3 per week to cover expenses. We offer refreshments at no additional cost. Call Sherri Torre, (203) 932-2893 for further information.
1st Church VBS
Join the First Congregational Church of West Haven for a week of fun and learning with its annual Vacation Bible School (VBS).This year features a journey to Athens on Aug. 5-9. Kids will learn all about the Apostle Paul and God’s immeasurable love. Visit our website for more information and registration: http://fccwesthaven.org/vbs/.
West Haven High School Class of 1969 will hold its 50th reunion on Friday, Sept. 27, at Seasons located at 990 Foxon Road, East Haven, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. There will be music provided by a DJ, a plentiful cocktail and hors d’oeuvre hour, buffet dinner along with open bar. The cost is $75 per person Checks should be made payable to Charlene Morgal and mailed to 18 Shumway St., West Haven, 06516, before Aug.ust 15 More information can be found on our Facebook page: WHHS Class of 1969- 50th reunion, or by emailing chazbo40@ aol. com /203 494 7379 or email@example.com /203 494 7730.
Senior Center trips
Join the West Haven Seniors on the following scheduled trip: All trips leave from Savin Rock Conference Center:
Monday, Aug. 19 “Holiday Hill” — statewide annual senior picnic 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost is $45 per person with unlimited buffet all day. This trip is in conjunction with The West Haven Housing Authority. Pick up times are: Morrissey Manor 8., Savin Rock Conference Center 8:15, Surfside 8:30, Union 8:45, and John Prete 9. If you are being picked up at Housing Authority sites please make reservation with Yolanda (203) 933-9449. If you are being picked up at Conference Center please register at the West Haven Senior Center or call (203) 937-3507. Payment is due no later than Aug. 1.
Tuesday, Sept. 17, Aqua Turf – Rob Zappulla Celebrates the Music of Frank Sinatra $67 per person Rob has performed to sold out audiences of all ages across the country and headlined performances at the Lincoln Center in NYC and Foxwoods Casino to name a few. Menu includes coffee and donuts upon arrival, door prizes, complimentary glass of wine or beer. Family style luncheon: salad, penne bolognese, chicken florentine, baked scrod, vegetable, potato and dessert. Bus leaves Savin Rock Conference Center 10 a.m. Payment is due by Friday, Aug. 30.
Wednesday, Sept. 25– The Big E “New England’s Great State Fair” in Springfield Trip cost is $45. Scooter rental available for $50 and must be paid in advance of the trip by check or credit card along with reservation form available in the office. This trip is in conjunction with Savin Rock Communities. Pick up times are: Morrissey Manor 8 a.m., Savin Rock Conference Center 8:15, Surfside 8:30, Union 8:45, and John Prete 9. If you are being picked up at Housing Authority sites please make reservation with Yolanda (203) 933-9449. If you are being picked up at Conference Center please register at the West Haven Senior Center or call (203) 937-3507. Payment is due no later than Sept. 1.
A flyer with further details is available at the office at the West Haven Senior Center 201 Noble St. or you can call the Senior Center (203) 937-3507.
The Liberty Coin Club of West Haven, organized in1962, will host a Coin Show on Sunday, Aug. 18, Oct. 20, and Dec. 15, at the Elks Club, 265 Main St., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free. Anyone with an interest in buying, selling or collecting coins, or with questions about coins, is welcome to attend. Expert dealers and collectors will be on hand.
An Al-Anon meeting group invites new members to attend its weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in the First Lutheran Church, 52 George St. For information and details, call (203) 506-1464.
By Mike Madera
The list of head coaches for the West Haven hockey program is few. Steve Harris can now consider himself one of a handful in the storied program’s history.
With the expected approval from the Board of Education this Monday evening, Harris will join a list which includes Hal Smullen, Edward L. Bennett, Art Crouse, Art Delucia, Gordie Smith and most recently, Joe Morrell, who stepped down after 21 years at the helm.
“It is absolutely amazing,” Harris said. “I have been part of the West Haven Youth Hockey program where I started and to see all those guys and what they have done is amazing. I am right back where I started. It is an absolute honor to be the head coach at West Haven. I have very big shoes to fill with Joe Morrell. He was amazing with the kids and he was one of my coaches along with Mike Violano when I was at Notre Dame. He knew how to get the most out of his players.”
Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro was enthusiastic about the choice.
“Steve is really committed to hockey. He has worked extremely hard to get to this point. He has a strong passion for hockey and he has worked many years to develop his coaching skills,” he said. “I watched him turn Hamden Hall around. He is going to take the time and work hard to make the program better. We feel like we got the right guy. He coached my son (Connor) and I watched him in action. He is committed. He is good to the kids. He has prepared himself for this point. He has coached two or three teams in a season. His goal was to become a better hockey coach.”
Harris has an impressive youth hockey and prep school coaching resume, most notably coaching at Hamden Hall for eight years, with seven of those years as head coach. Harris made an immediate impact on the program of the Hornets as he was winless in his first year at the helm, but followed with a semifinal appearance one year later.
His experience was a big factor in making the choice.
“Steve brings a great deal of experience coaching at all levels to our program,” West Haven Athletic Director Jon Capone said. “He has a tremendous amount of respect for the history of our program. My job is to assist him in the transition, and I’m excited to begin working with him.”
Harris has also been impressive at the youth hockey levels where he took the Yale U14/U15 Tier 3 squad to the New England quarterfinal game last season and took the CT Oilers to the EJEPL finals and Atlantic Youth Hockey League quarterfinals.
“He is the consummate professional,” Yale Youth Hockey President Charlie Andriole said. “He is a very diligent teacher of the game of hockey. He always handles himself with the calmest of demeanor. That is not to say he doesn’t expect good things from his players He does it in a very calm way, which I find rare. He will be a great fit for West Haven. He is a great teacher with expansive knowledge. He coached all three of my kids so I know his methodologies and his philosophies.”
Said Harris, “Coaching the different age groups has really helped. You get to see how the kids develop, and then to watch them go from youth hockey to high school, you see the older kids help mold the younger kids. It is a big part of the way everyone transforms. You get to see the mindset of the specific age groups.”
Harris expanded his coaching last year, serving as the advance scout and skills instructor at Notre Dame — West Haven under then first year coach Larry Vieira.
Vieira joined in endorsing the choice of Harris for the West Haven post.
“In my opinion, he is one of the most outstanding young coaches in the area,” Vieira said of Harris. “He has a presence about him. The kids respond when he walks in the room. His hockey knowledge is off the charts. He has a little bit of an edge to him. He has that “it” factor. That is an excellent hire. We will miss him here.”
Harris is no stranger to high school hockey in the area as he starred at cross-town Notre Dame from 1996-1999, where he was known for his sharp shot and nose to come up with the big goals.
Harris needed just three years to join the 100-point club for the Green Knights and took home a state championship as a sophomore.
“I grew up in West Haven and was a West Haven kid,” Harris said. “I went to Notre Dame for four years, then college, but came right back to volunteer in the West Haven Youth Hockey. I was never that far removed from West Haven.”
The new West Haven coach went on to play prep school at the Gunnery, before attending Johnson and Wales University.
With the Westies having qualified for the postseason 20 of the past 21 years, Harris has one goal in mind and that is to bring a state title back to West Haven for the first time since 1994.
“My message is an easy one and that is let’s win a state championship,” Harris said. “I really think with seeing them play last year and what they did, and with the returning players and group coming in, if we follow the system and work hard, it is an attainable goal. We first want to get to the SCC tournament and win that, but the ultimate goal for everyone is to win a state championship. We need to bring a banner back to the Bennett Rink.
He said his methods of coaching is one of earned respect.
“I am not a yeller or screamer. I like to give the kids the benefit of the doubt. I like to give them opportunities, but if I tell them once, I don’t want to see it done again. Respect is earned, not given. That has worked out for me. “
Harris will name his assistants shortly, with long-time assistant coach Jim Lafo expected to be retained.
“I am not going to change tradition here,” Harris said. “There is plenty of tradition at West Haven. I am looking to keep the alumni involved. I’m excited to be here.”
Harris, who has an 18-month old daughter with his wife Michelle, works for the City of Milford.
While much of the working public looks to the next few weeks as vacation time – August being the month when many if not most take vacation – the coming of the end of July traditionally spells the end of the summer for this writer, as things begin to move toward the beginning of the new academic year, and the beginning of fall sports.
When I was a working official – all of two years ago in football – summer was here, but it had many other connections with the beginning of football Whether on a collegiate or high school level, July meant clinics, rules tests, rules reading. Notes from commissioners and interpreters and discussions on how this rule or that rule will be implemented made up the bulk of the last two weeks in July and the rest of August.
Of course, games began in the last week of August or first week in September, depending on Thanksgiving and/or the dates of the NCAA playoffs. College teams would begin in the last week of August sometimes so they could put in a bye week in the middle of the season.
High school teams began practice the third week of August and had to have 10 days in before they could scrimmage. That’s all changed now with the mandatory bye week in October (either the first or second week) as determined by medical staff. So, there are fewer scrimmages and less time to prepare.
For professional fans, training camp begins in the third week of July, and the 14-days of practice ends with exhibition games. It’s too bad about those exhibitions games. They are getting fewer and fewer. Last week, it was revealed the NFL wants to go to an 18-game schedule, further biting into exhibition season.
It’s hard to believe but it was 50 years ago next month that the first Giants-Jets game was played in Yale Bowl. It was a hot, steamy day in the Bowl, as the Jets, who would took the 1969 Super Bowl, topped the Giants.
I thought about that game because of a trip I took near Long Wharf. The game was part of a series begun a year or two earlier in Yale Bowl to benefit the Albie Booth Boys Club. The game eventually raised the funds for the club, and it was built on Sargent Drive, and is still there. Unfortunately, Boys and Girls Clubs around here are like hen’s teeth. The club closed a few years after it was open.
That’s too bad. Booth, known as Little Boy Blue, passed away in 1960. His heroics for Yale, particularly his senior year, are legendary. He beat Army with a field goal on a drop kick, and was a scat back that bedeviled opponents.
The professional game saw the lucrative nature of the exhibition games and by the end of the 1970s, the benefit game in a place like New Haven was a memory. Now season ticket holders have to buy their tickets – including exhibition games – as part of the package.
While I’m not on the field anymore since taking over as the assigning commissioner of the Vincent J. Reilly – New Haven Football Officials Association – these weeks are the beginning of the season even now. The national conference call for rules was conducted this week, the state high school officials clinic is in three weeks, and I still have exams and meetings to conduct.
The point is that while the summer is only half over, for many, these weeks are like an ante-room to the tasks that will take us into the fall and not end until the turkey is on the table in November. The assigning tasks will be a bit easier this year as state high schools have gone onto the same assigning platform as officials.
Last year, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference had one platform to publish its high school schedules in all sports. The different sports had to take the games and import them into the assigning platform in order to schedule games. There was always the possibility a game was forgotten or missed either by the school or the assigner.
This past year the CIAC went over to Arbiter.com, a platform that has been around for two decades. The schools put the games right into the system, and the assigners see in real time the changes made. Last year, with the weather, myself and many other assignors had to spend hours making changes and alerting officials. This year it will be much easier.
Schools are inputting games and still making changes. Assignments will begin in a couple of weeks. Then the mind-set really changes. The weather might say summer, but football season means autumn.
The arrival of commercials on radio and TV for “Back to School” sales means the kids, too, are beginning to shift their attention. We wait for summer all year, especially after Christmas, and it is made shorter by the things we find ourselves doing as the weeks inexorably move forward.
By Rich Lowry
The American middle class just got a lot richer.
Joe Biden, who invariably and tiresomely refers to himself as “Middle-Class Joe,” made $15 million the first two years after the end of the Obama administration.
According to one estimate, it takes an annual income of $420,000 to be in the top 1% of earners. Biden made 26 times that in 2017. He used to be remarkable among top politicians for not being very wealthy, but even in the old days of straitened circumstances, he and his wife were making about $400,000 a year, enough to make the top 1% in Delaware.
This doesn’t discredit any particular Democratic policy proposal, but it shows that in inveighing against the 1%, many top Democrats are attacking a group they are happy to be part of.
The Bidens bought a $2.7 million vacation house on the beach, a luxury far out of the reach of the vast majority of Americans. If Biden has felt any guilt, he has yet to show it.
We shouldn’t begrudge Biden, or anyone else, getting what the market is willing to pay him, and spending it on things he enjoys. But what’s true of Biden is as true of other denizens of the 1%, a category that includes people across all sorts of industries and professions.
What distinguishes the buck-raking of a politician like Biden is that he is simply cashing in on his fame, rather than adding any true value the way an entrepreneur does, or providing important services like a doctor or an accountant.
Writing books (often with the help of a ghostwriter) and showing up and giving speeches is perhaps the easiest money in America, and it is uniquely the path to wealth of politicians.
This road is so paved with gold that even Sandinista-friendly avowed socialists can make a bounty, as Bernie Sanders has without apology, indeed with a prickly defensiveness. “I didn’t know that it was a crime to write a good book, which turned out to be a bestseller,” he huffed at a community meeting.
It’s also not a crime to use tax loopholes to keep from paying more than necessary to the IRS, as Biden can attest. The Wall Street Journal reports that the former vice president, a longtime critic of tax loopholes exploited by the rich, himself used a loophole that Democrats have long tried to eliminate to save about half a million on his tax bill.
Biden is by no means the lead scourge of the wealthy in the Democratic field. He’s been outflanked on this issue by Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who herself made nearly a million dollars last year. At a recent fundraiser, he said that rich people shouldn’t be demonized. Of course, Biden was talking to a room of fellow rich people.
On CNN the other night, he was back as usual to calling himself Middle-Class Joe. It’s probably too much to ask him to give up that shopworn self-image. Still, he and many of his colleagues would be truer to how they live their own lives if they began to more fully embrace and promote the idea of their fellow Americans getting rich.
Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.(c) 2019 by King Features Synd., Inc.
Well into his second term, State Rep. (D-115) Michael DiMassa said he “got the bug” for public service because he liked to help people and work with others towards a common goal.
The 28-year-old said he started out interning for Mayor John Picard and continued to take opportunities when they arose.
“At one point, some members of the Democratic Town Committee asked me if I’d consider running for state representative,” said DiMassa. “I thought about it and made the leap.”
DiMassa said he has no long term plans for politics. His goal, he said, is to stay in for a small amount of time, try and make a difference in people’s lives where he can and then pass the torch for the next person.
When he ran in 2016, the state representative ran against incumbent and current executive assistant to the mayor, Louis Esposito. He said having worked on Esposito’s campaigns in the past made it a tough experience.
“Neither Lou nor I made it personal,” said DiMassa. “It was just one of those things where people in the district told me it was time for a fresh perspective.”
DiMassa said he wanted to look at jobs, economic development and school funding going into his first term. He said in his district there are a lot of one-parent households and people who work two or three part-time jobs instead of one full-time job.
“Those are the issues you run into here,” said DiMassa. “How do we propel the local economy?”
Representative DiMassa said leveraging state resources to make improvements to municipalities is the best way to create jobs and stabilize the tax rate.
DiMassa said passing legislation like the $15 an hour minimum wage and paid family medical leave help lift the burden off some of his constituents. He also said he was excited for early absentee voting, which will be on a state referendum ballot next year, because it will allow more people to participate in the political process.
According to DiMassa, he has to maintain a good relationship with whatever administration is running city hall. He said in a city like West Haven, where things are quickly politicized, people frequently ask him his take on local elections.
“I try not to get involved in politics because I have to work with the mayor,” said DiMassa. “If the mayor says, ‘this is a priority,’ then that’s the priority I’m working off of. I also don’t feel it’s my job to make my political views known in issues that concern public because I feel the voters of West Haven should make their own decision.”
DiMassa said he will regularly help city officials by making calls to places like the Department of Transportation or the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to try and speed up a city project or get something done.
“We have a lot of DOT related projects in West Haven because we have a lot of state roads that run through West Haven,” said DiMassa. “When it comes to potholes or restriping the roads we have to work with the DOT.”
He said because the DOT schedules road maintenance years in advance and they are so inundated with requests it can be a challenge to get it done. DiMassa said it is not uncommon, in any project or task, to have to call a department commissioner two or three times in order to get something looked at or completed.
Given that there are only three state representatives and two senators who represent West Haven, DiMassa said it takes more effort and teamwork on the part of their delegation to get something for the city.
“We have to work twice as hard to make our case for things,” said DiMassa.
By Dan Shine
This week’s column is taken from The West Haven Booster, dated November 1933, and written in the style of that era:
Today we beg to recall to your recollection a big, little man, who in his boyhood spent considerable time in West Haven, at the home of a relative, still standing on a terraced hillside off Campbell Avenue (in the area of present-day Marshall’s Garage).
Sixty years or more ago, this house was often pointed out as having had the distinction of harboring Charles Sherwood Stratton, otherwise known as Tom Thumb.
Stratton was born in Bridgeport in 1838.
Connecticut’s famous showman, P.T. Barnum, early discovered the little chap’s possibilities and exploited them.
At this time, he weighed but 16 lbs. and measured but 2 feet in height. His brain was normal and he was intelligent and teachable. Combined with agility and something of the trickiness of a monkey was a wit enough to make those attributes count in making him into the most widely known and the best beloved freak in the whole world of showdom.
Of course Barnum, who knew the power of advertising exercised that power to the limit.
He took his protégé on tour through Europe. While in London, he was commanded to appear before Queen Victoria who was much pleased with his performance and dubbed him The General, a title that thereafter stuck to him.
Barnum was wont to tell that when the time came for them to withdraw from the audience chamber, the little General, as was customary, began to back from the room. This was too slow a progress, so Tom Thumb turned about and ran a few yards, then turned again and again began to retreat backward. Again he lost patience and again turned and ran. Thus alternating he at last amid the laughter of the onlookers reached the end of the room.
His miniature coach drawn by tiny ponies in glittering trappings his suites of toy-like furniture, his elegant costumes which he wore with strutting importance (funny as only his diminutive size could make it) were drawing cards wherever he appeared.
In 1882 he married Lavinia Warren, one of the two sisters both dwarfs whom Barnum also introduced to the public. The writer recalls having seen the Tom Thumbs in the late 1870s when they, independent of the Big Show, toured the East. The General had by this time grown a trifle taller and somewhat heavier, and bore the stamp of maturity. Mrs. Tom Thumb was an intriguing, human doll.
The Little General died in 1882, aged 44 years.