READ THIS BEFORE YOU START IN SURFING: This Walter T. Shirley thing was only supposed to be a little side trip about the little town that was along side the littler town of Mastic Beach. But then again the Knapps Lived Here was only supposed to be one short story about growing up in Mastic Beach. Well it got a little out of hand, thanks to the efforts and encouragement ( I really should not be encouraged just ask my wife) of two individuals I went to school with in Shirley 40 years ago. They know full well who they are! and will get properly thanked within these THIRTY SOME ODD or MORE (Not sure I lost count) with 250 Some Odd PHOTOS & DOCUMENTS in them. But I also need to thank The Mastic Shirley Library and The Patchogue Library for their local archives and most importantly Nick Bohouris who had the foresight to visit the New York City offices of Shirley, Inc and rescue Mr. Shirley's personal items. Unless directly quoted or credited the comments and observations through out the sight are mine. I do recommend you view it in small doses & if you have a complaint call BRYANT 9 -7400 operators are standing by




Walter T. & Me


Few people know and probably even fewer care that the Shirleys & Spooners go way, way back. In fact I have dinner with Walter T. several times a week. No not Walter T. Shirley Jr. (He's dead) but then so is his old man ! The Walter T. Shirley ( for whom all that Mastic acerage, that lies just west of Mastic Beach is named). But don't take my word for it...just look at the picture below.





What of it you say? Well see the two chairs? and the two pictures on the wall? Well the chair on the left is where I usually sit when in my dining room. (Sometimes I just have to watch Tom Brokaw and eat in the living room..) Just above my chair is a painting of my grandfather Jack Spooner. That's him by the curtain.

Now Jack is in the second picture too on the right. And so is Jack Benny, Ed Sullivan, and 50 or more other movers and shakers of Broadway back in 1932, including a song plugger named Walter T. Shirley


Here take a closer look





Testimonial Beefsteak from Broadway to it's favorite son Billy LaHiff ....The Tavern March 26, 1932

That's Walter T, second from the foreground right corner with a flower in his lapel. Jack Benny is in the left corner against the wall. Ed Sullivan is also on that wall 6 guys up from Benny. Jack Spooner is all the way in the back. But the first sign on the wall says "LaHIFF Only Seems Like A Big Hearted Guy Because SPOONER Trusts Everyone"... Billy Lahiff was the most famous restauranteur in NYC from before the roaring 20's until his death in 1935 and my grandpa (he wasn't anyones grandpa in 1932) was his right hand man and confidant for 18 years.


Now why do I need to tell you all this? I don't .....but this project or whatever it is you care to call it, only got started because it had a direct influence on my life. And Walter T. Shirley had a big influence on it too, probably much larger than Dodi Knapp ever did and look at all the stuff I have found digging around in his life! Fact is I've been gathering stuff all along on Walter T and have had this planned for some time, and the time is now. The other fact is I'm not funded by the Knapp Foundation or anyone else on this deal, so I basically do what I want when the mood strikes. On my last trip up I returned with a very personal piece of Shirley / Joseph / Spooner memorabilia (I'm a Joseph too) and so I've decided the time and place for the Song & Dance Acerage King to make his grand entrance is now.



Grab A Shovel & Lets Start Digging!

July 1955