WALLINGFORD — On various billboards, Carolyn Massoni has painstakingly pasted photos, newspaper clippings, maps and more, commemorating the various fundraisers she has hosted, the events she has attended and the accomplishments she has she has accomplished living in the city since 1940.
Many of these items were displayed during Wallingford’s 350th+2 Jubilee as part of the Wallingford Senior Center Memorial Hall. Massoni was a member of the Jubilee steering committee.
“My idea was to show everything I had,” said Massoni, 94. “I would have brought more but they really didn’t have the space.”
A former city clerk of Wallingford, Massoni has featured articles chronicling decades of civic and political engagement, including how she ended up going to the inauguration of President Harry S. Truman in 1949.
Massoni’s political career began when she was a senior at Lyman Hall High School and worked part-time in the city clerk’s office helping release veterans. After Massoni graduated, John McGuire, who was city clerk at the time, let her continue in her full-time position, while McGuire ran for Congress in 1948.
Through his campaign, McGuire brought Truman to Wallingford and later secured invitations to his inauguration.
“We have to go to the inaugural ceremony, we have received invitations,” Massoni said, pointing to pictures and invitations on the notice board. “…We went to all the activities there including prom and danced with the big bands like Benny Goodman and all that. I met Shirley Temple on the dance floor. I met Margaret Truman on the dance floor.
Margaret Truman was the only daughter of Harry and First Lady Bess Truman.
Massoni still has the blouse she wore to events during Truman’s inauguration. She also displayed it in the memorial room.
Bob Devaney, co-chairman of the Wallingford 350th+2 Jubilee, said they were “lucky” Massoni had collected so many photos and memorabilia over the years.
“She did a terrific job,” Devaney said.
In 1949, Massoni was appointed deputy clerk. Then in 1972, she was appointed by the city council to become city clerk and served until 1983. She said she had some time off when she had her two children.
In the memorial room, Massoni also had a painting about Wallingford’s 300th jubilee, which she helped lead, and the opening of a historic wooden box on George Washington’s 250th birthday in 1982. The box contained recordings of the Washington Bicentennial sighting in 1932. It will be reopened in 2032.
“…We took out the stuff that was in there… But then when we sealed it again, we put in some other, more modern stuff,” Massoni said.
In addition to serving as city clerk, Massoni has hosted many fundraisers over the years, many around St. Patrick’s Day. She has placed cards and photos from some of the fundraisers she has organized in the display in the remembrance room. She has raised funds for the Democratic Town Committee, the Wallingford Historical Society, the Wallingford Senior Center and more. Many of his fundraisers have taken place at the former Zandri’s Stillwood Inn.
“I wanted to help people,” Massoni said when asked why she does so many fundraisers.
She was also a member of many organizations, including Wallingford Center Inc, the Wallingford Historic Preservation Trust, the Historical Society, the Senior Center and the Democratic Town Committee, which she highlighted on some posters that were not part of the memorial hall .
Massoni has won various awards, such as a Public Service Award, the Outstanding Woman of Wallingford Award, and the Ella T. Grasso Award.
Along with that, Massoni worked on Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s first campaign.
“She comes to every Celebrate Wallingford,” Massoni said. “I walk with her every time.”
Until the start of the pandemic, Massoni kept himself busy by attending events held at the senior center. She said setting up the Memorial Hall exhibit in June was her first appearance at an event since March 2020.
“She was instrumental in bringing together decades of photos and memories of Wallingford’s history and really added such a beautiful touch to (Senior Day) and really captured history through the eyes of her volunteering “, said Christine Mansfield, co-chair of the 350th + 2 Jubilee of Wallingford. “She was really active in the community, very active with the senior center and throughout Wallingford.”
Massoni said she looks forward to getting more involved in the community. Giving back and caring is “automatic” for her.
“It’s just inside me,” Massoni said. “My father was like that.”
[email protected]: @jessica_simms99