I am not someone who could be described as star-struck. I have had plenty of opportunities to fawn all over some of the not-so-poor and mostly-famous. (WARNING: I am about to name drop, which is something normally done by someone who is star-struck.) I have had breakfast with Dr. Ruth and Jim Belushi, dinner with Larry Linville (Frank Burns of the TV Series M*A*S*H), and even had Dr. Hunter S. Thompson tell me in a drunken stupor that, “You were not a problem.” However, when traveling the tag-sale-trail, you might just find yourself rummaging through the homes of the famous like an unrestrained stalker. I did.
While scanning the Internet looking for potential digs last week, I came across an ad for a sale that flaunted the name of the posthumous owner of the items in the estate. CBS host/commentator Andy Rooney is someone I’ve followed for almost as many years as he closed out the regular Sunday evening newsmagazine “60 Minutes.” First, as a captive of my parents, who would often howl with laughter at his wry take on the foibles of American society, and later, as a fan with my wife, enjoying the comic relief in comparison to some of the heavier stories the other hosts would cover.
Andy Rooney certainly aged in appearance over the years, but his brain seemed as sharp during his last broadcast as it did the first time I saw him. His “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” was a staple of the broadcast from 1978 until his retirement this past October when he bid us all a fond farewell in his own irascible style. Sadly, just one month later, he died due to complications from a minor surgery at the age of 92, leaving us to provide his curmudgeonly satire in an otherworldly place.
Deciding to travel the 45-55 minutes to Norwalk was based on a desire to find out more about the man behind so many a Sunday nights’ brief broadcast. I will stop short of writing his biography, many writers better than I have already done that. However, you may be interested to see inside the home of someone whose own fame and notoriety didn’t go to his head. The images above show a home that is more quaint than palatial. I think Andy Rooney liked the simple life and his Norwalk home reflected simplicity and comfort without opulence.
I didn’t go expecting to buy anything — I never do — it just happens. Although his famous Underwood typewriter had been sold ($3,000), I did enjoy sitting at his desk, likely crafted by him in the workshop that clearly showed his love of carpentry. He owned many (signed) books, and a moderate collection of artwork. I finally settled on a couple of books, one with a classic scrawl of his. It was my wife who suggested I purchase one of his ties. I discovered those ties to be among the more popular items at the sale. Maybe everyone remembers, like my wife and I, a few of segments on “60 Minutes” where Andy shared his opinion of ties or the dress codes of CBS.
I miss Andy Rooney. He definitely was someone who told it like it was. Sunday evenings won’t be the same with out him. Thanks to the discovery of the sale I was able to pay my respects and end with a good buy.
Greg Van Antwerp is a Brookfield resident and blogger, who can be found on the weekends in search of a good “dig” or a good story. You can read more about his adventures by visiting his blog.