There’s been a lot in the news in recent months about the dangers of predators (mostly adult males) lurking on the Internet, seeking to lure children and teens into dangerous sexual encounters.
Not that it hasn’t been occurring for years. New Canaan’s Katherine “Katie” Tarbox was in middle school in 1996 when she encountered “VallleyGuy” online. Friendly computer chats led her to agree to meet her new friend during a swim team visit to Dallas. What happened next (including her rescue by her mother) eventually led Katie to write a book and to speak frankly to audiences around the world of the risks of Internet contacts. “Growing up in New Canaan, you never think it will happen to you,” Katherine told writer Bill Slocum.
But Fairfield County is no less dangerous than other areas of the country, as Bill found when researching his article, “Surfing with the Cyber-Sharks.” Experts note that today’s sex offenders feel a heightened sense of confidence due to the anonymity offered by online chats with their young targets. Schools are teaching safety strategies in computer classes. However, many youngsters forget these lessons as they converse with strangers from the familiar confines of their own home. Even experienced law enforcement professionals like state police Sgt. Richard Alexandre, who works in the department’s Computer Crimes and Electronic Evidence Unit, are dismayed by what can result. “The average person doesn’t have any idea how prevalent this is,” he says. Our story may change that perception.
Traditionally November is our annual Art and Antiques issue.
On the art side, we are delighted to introduce you to Jens Risom, a furniture designer who is widely regarded as one of the founders of the Classical Modern Movement of the mid-twentieth century. Sixty-seven years ago this talented man arrived in New York City from Denmark intending to study American contemporary design. “Little did I know that it did not exist,” Risom told Leslie Chess Feller in their far-ranging interview that resulted in our story, “Living with Design.” But he’s one to rest on his laurels, however prestigious. A new Risom collection debuted this fall. At age eighty-nine this man is still going strong.
As for antiques, we have Bill and Ann Edgerton’s collection of player pianos, disk-playing music boxes and numerous other mechanical musical instruments, amassed over forty years. The oldest piece is a barrel organ that dates back to 1795, and the most elaborate is the Gavioli fairground organ, with many interesting instruments in between. Each item has a history, and Bill was delighted to share those stories with Jane Kendall in “Piano Man.”
We’re heading into what for many is the busiest time of the year. But I hope you’ll take a break from the action to relax and enjoy this issue we’ve put together for November. And have a very happy Thanksgiving. Can you believe the holidays are here already?