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HomePeopleRye Lifer: Kerry Christensen

Rye Lifer: Kerry Christensen

Rye Lifers is a MyRye.com series that introduces you to people that have spent their lives in Rye – people who have grown up in Rye, worked in Rye, come back to raise their family in Rye. Do you know someone we should profile for Rye Lifers? Tell us.

Today, meet Kerry Taylor Christensen.

(PHOTO: Summer at Kerry's house on Winthrop with the brook behind them.  From left to right, Chris Taylor, Barbara Cummings Taylor, Kerry Ann Taylor Christensen, and Mike Taylor.)
(PHOTO: Summer at Christensen’s house on Winthrop with the brook behind them.  From left to right, Chris Taylor, Barbara Cummings Taylor, Kerry Ann Taylor Christensen, and Mike Taylor.)

MyRye.com: Why are you a Rye “Lifer”? 

Christensen: I was born and raised in Rye (56 years and 3 years in Solana Beach, CA). My parents have both lived in Rye since they were very young (80 and 85 years in Rye). My grandfather, Allan Cummings emigrated from Scotland in 1908. He moved his family up to Rye in 1940 to take on the Head Racquet Pro position at the Apawamis Club. He and his brother, Lester, who was also a Racquet pro, lived in the two stone houses on Ivy Street that are still beautifully standing. He eventually built our house on Winthrop Street which is around the corner from Ivy and was essentially considered a sand pit.

(PHOTO: Kerry's mother, Barbara Cummings (top left) from 1956 Rye High School Yearbook.)
(PHOTO: Christensen’s mother, Barbara Cummings (top left) from 1956 Rye High School Yearbook.)

Tell us about the street in Rye you grew up on: 

Christensen: Growing up on Winthrop Street was the best! There were about 10 kids my age and it was all about the summer! Flashlight tag, manhunt, water balloon fights, street tennis, etc. One year, I remember that we had a neighborhood 4th of July party. My mom, Barbara Taylor always was in charge of cupcakes, Mr. Checco was the bartender, Mrs. O’Donnell baked an amazing apple pie, Mrs. Altmeyer’s house hosted baseball and street hockey. The Connolly’s on Dale Place had a big Irish setter (Shannon) that would roam around the neighborhood drooling on everyone and was always available for a game of fetch. Our house backs up to the brook. My brothers and I built rafts and a dock, we had long poles that we would take out every summer. The poles are still in the garage. We honestly felt like Huck Finn and Thomas Sawyer. Evil Knievel was very popular at the time and our back yard had a huge tree and manmade ramp that was to assist in the “jump across the brook” by bike event that fortunately did not end in hospitalization of the Altmeyer boys.

Where in Rye do you live now?

Christensen: Life circumstances led me back to my childhood home and I live here now with my daughter and mom. We have the best neighborhood and neighbors, some of whom I actually went to Rye High School with, so it is still a great area.

(PHOTO: Kerry at 1985 RHS graduation, boiling on the football field.)
(PHOTO: Christensen at 1985 RHS graduation, boiling on the football field.)

Who was your favorite teacher at Rye High School and what year did you
graduate? 

Christensen: I graduated from RHS, 1985, and my mom in 1957 , and dad in 1952. My twin brothers had the great fortune of attending Iona prep and graduated 1982. My favorite teachers had to be Mr. Dawson (math) and Mr. Derosa (Science). I was awful at both and they were so nice to me and patient. I am still grateful to this day.

What in your view are the two or three greatest Rye traditions—current or
past?

Christensen:

  • Rye Harrison – this has always been a favorite of mine. All the way back to my mom’s time as a cheerleader, as well as mine, it is the quintessential fall event. It really is not about the rivalry but more about the tradition. Bonfires, football and friends. No matter who wins, it is always a good time especially when the game is home, we win, and have the traditional jump in the brook. It is and was the best! Hope it never goes away….
  • Rye Little League – determined that I be exactly like my brothers, my parents petitioned the coaches to let me play on the boys teams as I didn’t want to be on softball. I was awful, but I was on the Bear’s.
  • Halloween painting – having worked at the Rec growing up along with my brothers, I love this tradition. It is so much fun, maybe not so much for the parents but such a cool thing to kick off Halloween!
(PHOTO: From left to right- Karen O’Connor, Dawn Dalhgren, Lisa Konrad, Linda Mascali, Kerry Taylor, and Deidre Maloney at Rye Harrison game in 1985.  4 of the 6 still live in Rye and they still get together for the big game!)
(PHOTO: From left to right- Karen O’Connor, Dawn Dalhgren, Lisa Konrad, Linda Mascali, Kerry Taylor, and Deidre Maloney at Rye Harrison game in 1985. Four of the six still live in Rye and they still get together for the big game!)
(PHOTO: Kerry's 30th reunion at the Rye Harrison Game 2015. From left to right, Dawn Dalhgren Berrocal, Jeanne Lavelle Russo, Debbi Pearlman, Deidre Maloney Burbank, Linda Mascali Cassano (front) Lori Bring Olbrys, Me Kerry Ann Taylor Christensen, Kimberly Mancus Macchia, and  Rassamee Jaigla Martini Donati. All were cheerleaders together at RHS.)
(PHOTO: Christensen’s 30th reunion at the Rye Harrison Game 2015. From left to right, Dawn Dalhgren Berrocal, Jeanne Lavelle Russo, Debbi Pearlman, Deidre Maloney Burbank, Linda Mascali Cassano (front) Lori Bring Olbrys, Kerry Ann Taylor Christensen, Kimberly Mancus Macchia, and  Rassamee Jaigla Martini Donati. All were cheerleaders together at RHS.)

What about the great Rye institutions—community organizations, shops,
restaurants. Which ones are or have been part of the Rye fabric?

Christensen:

  • Kelly’s – The best family and the best Burger – go to is Swiss Cheese burger on an English muffin with Bermuda onions.
  • Post Road Market – no pretense, Real Rye – both my brothers and I have worked either at the deli or catered at one point in time.
  • The Smoke Shop – I miss the smoke shop and Peggy, Tony and Anthony so very much. Growing up my grandfather would take us there after church for our bag of candy.

Thanks, Kerry!

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