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Local Writer Chronicles Pound Ridge History

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Writer Bonni Brodnick moved from Bronxville to Pound Ridge 20 years ago and immediately fell in love with her new town.

Intrigued with the town’s history, Brodnick thought that using her skills as a writer to create a book about Pound Ridge’s storied past would be a way to give back to the town. The result was “Pound Ridge Past: Remembrances of Our Townfolk.”

The book is a collection of more than 30 interviews with the town’s elders. It includes first-hand stories about the one-room school houses scattered about town, the day World War II ended, raising children, basket making, fishing, farming, partying and more. In addition, actors Tallulah Bankhead, Frank Morgan (“The Wizard of Oz” himself), Buster Crabbe, Shirley Jones, Eli Wallach, and Ann Jackson are recalled by the locals who knew them. The historical and personal recollections span from rural 1920s to the swinging 1970s and reveal what life was like in Pound Ridge in the 20th century.

“I feel so blessed to live in a town like Pound Ridge,” Brodnick said. “I wanted to document the history as a way to give back. The best way to do that was to interview elders. The format – doing it by decades  going back to the 1920s – just fell into place as I interviewed these people about what life was like and what was happening in town during these periods.”

Brodnick has written for Glamour and Home & Garden and currently works as director of communications for Brunswick School, a boys’ college prep school in Greenwich, Conn., where she is also editor-in-chief of Times of Brunswick. She first released "Pound Ridge Past" in 2006, but 1,000-copy print run quickly sold out.

“People kept telling me they wanted to get a copy,” she said. "'Pound Ridge Past' has been in steady demand since it sold out. Reprinting the book was an effort to continue to keep alive the history of our town."

A second printing of another 1,000 copies was recently put together for a re-edited version of the book, which includes new anecdotes from former Pound Ridgers from around the country who share humorous stories about Lauren Bacall, Jason Robards and Benny Goodman, among others.

"More than 35 interviews were conducted in person," Brodnick said. "It was essential to me to keep the stories in the elders' voices. In addition to the interviews, I gathered anecdotes from both current and former townsfolk who now live around the country."

Brodnick credits Pound Ridge graphic artist, Gina Federico, for the magnificent design of the book, and Fran Collin for his distinctive photographs.

“I’m grateful to them both for their collaboration,” she said.

Books can be ordered at www.PoundRidgePast.com . Copies are $35 plus $6 for shipping and handling.

“My hope is that readers of the book gain insight into the rich heritage of our town,” Brodnick said. “By listening to the stories of our elders who remember the places, sounds and activities of days past, we are able to preserve, honor and treasure the history of Pound Ridge for future generations.”

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