About twenty something years ago Laura and I thought it was about time to get serious and start raisin’ us some young’uns. We first came to town for the Pequot Library’s Book sale. Back then, we had a lot of free time for leisurely driving around after hours spent looking at used book. We drove around town a bit and decided that Fairfield is where we would settle and raise our (at this point imaginary) children.

We cruised around town, imagining where they would play, swim, go to school, and get in trouble.

The rest of the United States has finally caught up with us. Last month some safety group that I had never heard of named Fairfield “The 3rd Safest Place to Raise a Child.”

Safewise named Fairfield in their “The 30 Safest Cities to Raise a Child - 2017.” We were # 3 behind #1 Greenwich, CT and #2 Essex, Vermont.

We’re #3! We’re #3! That beats our Money Magazine ranking of a few years of # 9. We’re moving on up.

The number three national ranking is funny; on another report of safest places in Connecticut we didn’t make the top 10. Whatever, Safewise took into account FBI crime data, schools, parks, and in Fairfield’s case we “subsidize neighborhood programs that focus on creating a stronger sense of community.”

Laura and I are practically breaking our arms patting each other on the back for choosing Fairfield. We could have picked Gilbert, Arizona (# 16) to raise our children, but we didn’t. Too hot, Laura hates scorpions, and I don’t know where it is.

Our children are now (sort of) raised. It’s weird to say, but on August 27th, our youngest Julia goes to college, and our oldest is almost 21. This #3 town had a lot to do with getting them this far. Laura and I would like to point out and thank some of the “programs that focus on creating a stronger sense of community”

Mill Hill School. When our kids were little, we used to drive by the school, point to it and say “someday when you get big, you will go there.” The kids on the playground seemed gigantic and quite old. It seemed like magical place. In particular, we would like to thank Mrs. Griggs, Mrs. Gaughan, Mrs. Myss, Mr. Shire, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Huff, Mrs. Skultedy, Mrs. Crossley, Mrs. Pryde, and the bus drivers for #64. I’m sure we’ve forgotten some names.

Pequot Library really is the heart and center of the Southport section of town. My oldest daughter read her first book out loud there. We deeply miss both Susan, the children’s librarian and Robyn, who we lost within weeks of each other this spring.

YMCA Indian Princesses program. They changed the name to Guides and Explorers to be more politically correct, and then they dropped the program entirely. But, it was a terrific program for fathers and daughters, also fathers and sons. My daughters and I both made close lifelong friends through this program. I was at an awards ceremony back in June and a fellow dad came up to me and said “isn’t it funny that you still see the Indian Princess dad’s active at the high school level?” Great group of guys. Not perfect guys, but a great group.

I know that middle school is often supposed to be the toughest for kids but both of our kids site Tomlinson Middle School as a wonderful 3 years, thanks especially to Ms. Luciani who encouraged Julia in Science,

Julia went to Bridgeport Aquaculture School. You can attend it while staying within the Fairfield public school system. She concentrated on science, and is now majoring in chemistry. Her incoming college professors were very impressed with experience she got there. Thanks to Mr. Larnerd, Mr. McGann, Mr. DeMaio, Mr. Pikul, and Mr. Shadle.

Fairfield Ludlowe High school is where Caroline went and where Julia went part time when she wasn’t at Aquaculture. We would like to thank Mr, Russell, Ms. K, Headmaster Greg Hatzis, Ms. Hunt, and Mr. Siano.

In sports Coach John in T-ball was great, Rowing: Coach Matt was inspiring, Karate: Sensei Nancy and Jerry at the Villari Studio of Self-Defense were patient.

St Anthony’s Church accepted us warmly, even though we are Irish-Catholic Jews who don’t make it there every Sunday.

We mourn the passing of businesses that made up their childhood. We miss Friendly’s, Blinns toy store, Village Hardware, and Media Wave video store.

We want to thank the children’s long time babysitters especially Betty and Isaura, who were second and third mothers and invaluable members of our family.

We really are patting ourselves for finding Fairfield. We’re #3! We’re #3!

Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His column appears every other Friday. He can be reached by email at Tlawlor@mcommunica

tions.com.