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Memories of Derby High School - 1970's

Markanthony Izzo

I would imagine everyone thinks their decade of High School years were the "coolest", and the 70ís were no different. Music wise two popular types of music on the scene, "hard rock" and either the most loved or hated music of "Disco" which is starting to find itís way back so let history be the judge. The King, Elvis was still popular as was the Beatles.

The 70ís, the end of the Vietnam War, the decade that saw a President (Nixon) resign also the Iran Hostage story and the Kent State tragedy. Butit was a time when you still could leave your doors unlocked for the most part. Terms like "far-out" and "man instead of dude" were used. The Drive-in movie theater was still here in Derby. Having a family doctor still really meant something and you did not feel like an assembly line patient.

Osborndale seemed to be used more with picnicking or just hanging out as well as being able to ice skate more then. We were winding down as a true factory town were you could still walk to work and started turning into a "bedroom" community. The Firebell was still open as well as Storkís Tavern where a tradition of gathering from a handful to over a hundred people before the Derby-Shelton Football game was looked forward to.

Other popular hang outs and probably still are were McDonalds, Burger King and Duchess and for more intimate times there was the Radio Towers and Hookmanís Cemetery. As well as "Dialtone" in Seymour where phones were set up around the bar and you could call people you would like to meet.

Extreme hair styles from long hair to Mohawks(for athletes). As well as long side burns and bell bottoms and leisure suits and platform shoes. A big fad was "streaking" (running naked), you never knew when a streaker would appear whether a hometown carnival or a major league sporting event.....etc

At Derby High School although it was the start of the end of the dress codes (no more ties), discipline was still high. Between Mr. Chromik(principal) Miss Vitali (assistant principal) who if you saw in the hallway, you made sure you had a hall pass with you and Mr. DeFlippo who everyone called "coach" whether you played football or not. As commanding a presence they were, they were also the most fairest people you knew too. Bon Fires were still big before every Seymour, Ansonia, Shelton game where team spirit was high because if you did not play football, you could still help build the "pile" and sleep over to "guard it", Fun times fun traditions.

It was also the time when the City of Derby, celebrated itís Tercentenary (300th) Anniversary with parades and major events including a big outdoor show held at Ryan Field. There were many more pizza places then too, missing from Main St. Are the River Restaurant and the Derby Pizza House and the popular neighborhood pizza place called Patsyís Pizza which is now owned by Patsyís sons, the Catone brothers called Angeloís Family Pizzeria in Ansonia. There were more businesses in downtown too.

The 70ís were also a time when mostly all the neighbors knew each other and if you had done something wrong, your parents found out before you got home and they were not afraid (or intimidated) to punish you!

All in all, as JJ Walker of "Good Times" would say, the 70s were "dy-no-mite!" 

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