Bill Wadman Story Archive.

hello everyone-
this page has been setup so that people can contribute stories about our father bill wadman sr both stories he told and stories about him are applicable we're going to try to make it an archive of his life we would love everyone to contribute in fact it isn't complete without your memories so think about it for a minute right it down and email it to us so we can add it this goes for friends family and anyone who ever met him thanks bill melissa bill at billwadman com mel at billwadman com.


Bill Fritzki and the sewer truck
when my father was a kid he worked for bill fritzki who had a rotorouter truck all while i was growing up we always heard the story where he had taken the top off of a sewer tank and while looking the other way slipped and ended up waist deep in sewage he always laughed while telling this story but i'm sure he didn't find it funny at the time ;- this however didn't stop him from making the whole family use a rented snake to clean out the septic system in our front yard a few years ago family bonding moment if there ever was one

Jason's Story- my favorite letter
i remember one day in the formal sitting room of the wadman house being asked by mr wadman hey jay what what's your favorite letter of course this type of question took me by surprise oh did i tell you i was in high school and just about everything bill senior did took me by surprise back then so i thought about this a minute and came up with some letter i think i said r or something equally as random and without a blink of an eye he replies with you know what mine is it it's the letter 't' and he threw a glad sandwich bag filled with golf tees at me and went into the other room i use to play golf a few years back and i still have a good amount of these tees left and i tell that story whenever i tee a ball up.

Getting kicked out of prep school
On a class trip to new york city my father and some of his friends went off and got drunk but they got caught and were all expelled - kicked out of school as my dad put it apparently grampa had to drive up to lenox to pick him up and didn't say a word to my father the whole time they were at the headmasters office or in the car driving back about half way home he asked my dad if he was hungry and they stopped at some roadside restaurant the waitress came up and grandpa said two steaks and two beers my dad looked up confused and grandpa smiled and said if you ever tell your mother i'll kill you

Addendum: my name is dave perry and i'm the guy who was kicked out along with bill there there's more to the story bill and i were part of the lenox school choir the choir had just made a record the first recorded folk mass part of cutting the record involved promotional tours during one of these tours we were in new york the headmaster foolishly gave us a few hours on our own bill and i headed straight to joe king king's ratskeller - a bar near columbus circle four or five martinis later we had never had one before this we staggered back to the bus the headmaster saw us weaving in and out of traffic on the circle trying to get to the bus before being hit by traffic we didn't know he was on the bus at any rate we got nailed the headmaster made us both call our fathers as our parents drove up to st martin martin's hall to pick us up it seemed like half of the school was hanging out the windows upstairs and down to cheer us and wish us good luck bill was an exceptionally popular student at the school the standing ovation as we were being kicked out was not a surprise

Fruitstand one-liners
my father worked at a fruitstand in high school some of the bad jokes he used to tell us -i'm sorry mrs johnson i cantalope with your daughter or did you hear the priest talk about the fruit stand at church today ya he said 'lettuce pray'

stacey's memories
For more than half of my life I’ve been hanging around the Wadman house and nearly every time I went there, I was lucky enough to be the recipient of one of Mr. Wadman’s jokes. Sometimes they were more stories than jokes, other times they were so worn out and tired that you could tell the punch line from the first few words.

Those were my favorite -- because no one could beat Mr. Wadman’s delivery. A new little spin or a short pause always made it ….actually funny.

After he broke character (there usually was a character – and often that character had an accent) his face would register a little kid smirk while he waited for a reaction. When the giggling would start, he’d say, “Now THAT’s a good one!  Huh, Stacey ?” as his mouth opened wide in a smile that would inevitably break into a booming laugh.   

I was usually laughing too hard to answer.

miiiike maclin and the pipe
up the stairs and through the garage screen door and past the lined trash can with miller lite and a few coca cola empties to which i would soon add my own contributions and mr wadman would be in the kitchen sitting at the table or leaning against the doorway leading into the dining room miiiiiiike maclin how the hell are ya for several years i had been charged with partly through volunteering partly through insistance then expectation from the onlookers the lighting of the fireworks on july 4th mark or jason usually helped light the miscellany of rockets fountains or the potentially-quick-trip-to-the-er-tube-with-a-wick that billy unpacked from the big slugger or general lee lee's revenge economy pack bill it it's too early to light them now and oh god point it away from the pond pond's could be heard from the porch while people gathered their folding chairs iced their drinks and shuffled over to a common area in anticipation of the show this was the one time during the festivities where everyone would gather together the fireworks would not have been the same without mr wadman wadman's billy where are the good ones i bought after the duds and a resounding holy shit after each of the good ones the ritual began with the seemingly most important item - the long pole from which the rockets would be launched it was a four foot piece of copper plumbing pipe scarred and stained by gunpowder and flames from 4th of july july's past this was more than a pipe it was the signal of a coming show a centerpiece of our ritual ceremony and a link to each and every year where all of these people gathered at the wadman wadman's carrying the pipe out to drive it into the ground mr wadman would always ask mike - look at this pole - how many years you been coming here and how many years have we used this same freakin' pole

bill walt and the video camera
Back 20 years or more, my brother Bill was loaned a video camera to use at his annual 4th of July picnic. This was when home video cameras were in their infancy. The camera looked like an 8 mm film camera but had a cable which went to a shoulder bag which contained a good sized battery and the recorder itself.

Since the system was bulky and heavy, Bill asked me to go along with him to interview people at the picnic for the fun of it. Most guests had never seen such a contraption. As you would have guessed, Bill carried the camera and I trailed along with the heavy bag.

When we got to the back yard and near the pool, Bill noticed a curvaceous young woman in a bathing suit enjoying the sun. He summoned me closer and while looking through the view-finder and getting a good close-up said "ckeck out the shape of that babe". What he failed to realize was that his voice was picked up by the camera's microphone.

Later in the day we all assembled in the family room to view the tape.
People got a kick out of seeing themselves on TV. But Bill had forgot about taping the bathing beauty and, when it got to that part, the pictures, along with his words, caught everyone by surprise. I can still hear our mother's stern but fun-loving words, "Billy !!!". Of course, although a little embarrassed, Bill had the big laugh and enjoyed the attention he was getting. Can't you just picture it.

Shannon's memories
From the moment I met Bill Wadman, he became Uncle Bill to me.  I had the privilege of spending some memorable occasions with him....Christmas Eve at his house, Christmas dinner at Elaine and Tom's, and of course the 4th of July parties at his place.  I will always remember the huge smile that he had on his face.  Whether he was singing Christmas songs or telling a story, he beamed from ear to ear.  My favorite memories include the many times he tried to tell me a joke or story and often couldn't complete it without laughing out loud himself.  It didn't matter what the punchline was, we both ended up hysterically laughing at his sheer enjoyment of telling it.  Thank you Uncle Bill.  

With so much love, Shannon McDonnell

David's leg through the ceiling
I am not sure how many people are aware of this story, but for all who were there, you will never forget it...

   Melissa and I always loved to torment little Billy when we were young.  We had this thing about scaring him; we were always trying to think of some way to be a nuisance to him.  In our quest to come up with new and exciting adventures we searched the far reaches of the house and property.  The "off-limits" attic at the Wadman home was one of those scary places we would love to bring Billy to horrify him.  It was a dark place; to make it even scarier we would hang Melissa's ratty old dolls from the ceiling like our own version of some C-grade horror film.

   We had been told time and time again by Uncle Bill and Aunt Cindy: "Stay out of the attic".  But as kids, we only learned from our mistakes.  The three of us were in the attic, quietly sneaking around because we knew that Uncle Bill and my father were sitting directly below us in the living room.  I took one wrong step and my entire leg went right through the ceiling.  I could only imagine what expression was on Uncle Bill's face when my chubby leg suddenly burst through the ceiling above.  I can remember hearing Uncle Bill yell "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!  MELISSA, BILLY, GET DOWN HERE". 

   I was so horrified.  I remember hiding in Billy's room for quite some time because I was so scared.  

   I also remember how forgiving Uncle Bill was.  I remember him putting his arm around me later on that day and making me feel like everything was all right, and you was.

-David McDonnell

Graf-Wadman Records employee for a day

The first job I ever had lasted one day...Uncle Bill fired me...

   My brother Tom and I thought it was so cool that Uncle Bill owned a record shop.  It was like he had some musician celebrity status or something. 

   I remember Uncle Bill always telling us when we were very young that he was going to bring us down to one of the record shops for a day, and one day, it finally came to be.

   The funny thing is, that although I was not even a teenager yet, he actually expected me to WORK!  Believe it or not, Uncle Bill put me on the cash register.  At this point in my life, the most money I ever had in my hands was probably a dollar.  I had absolutely NO business handling people’s money...but Uncle Bill always expected a little more out of you.

   I was standing behind the cash register when a guy walked up with a cassette.  The guy handed me a twenty dollar bill and I panicked.  I grabbed money out of the register and just started handing the guy assorted bills in my attempt to make change for him.  Uncle Bill came over and saw that I was giving the man more money in change than he actually gave me in the first place to buy the cassette. 

   All I can say is...........Uncle Bill removed me instantly from the register.  That day I got the very first cassette of my life.  Uncle Bill let me pick anything out that I wanted.  It was Men At Work - Business As Usual. 

   My first day of work was a memorable one.....and I am happy to say I had a GREAT boss that day. 

-David McDonnell

cindi's wine

This isn't a funny story and Bill isn't laughing at his own joke. Nor is it about the North End of Waterbury.  But it certainly speaks to the type of person my husband was. . . . 
It was last December and I was having a very hectic time at work, lots of deadlines.  One deadline in particular occurred on the same day that we encountered a really bad snow/ice storm and I was petrified to drive to New Haven.  Bill announced that he would drive me down and then pick me up later in the day. Of course, I didn't refuse, although I knew how time consuming it would be and just a real pain in the neck for him.  Well, the crazy day went by and at about 4 pm Bill called to see what time he should pick me up.  Since I was unable to give him a definite time, he said that he would drive down to the New Haven area at about 5:30 and I could just call his cell phone when I was through for the day.  I finished work at about 6:30 and made that call.  He picked me up at the front of the building knowing that my day was draining.  When I got into the car he handed me a beautiful new wine glass that he had stopped to buy and proceeded to fill it with some well earned pinot grigio.  "Just for you", he said, "because I know how hard you work".
-cindi wadman

permission to swear
When I was about 12 or so and was doing the family paper route , my brother Bill promised to help me delivery on this Saturday .
As we did most every Saturday, the family would come together at noon when Wadman's Poultry was closed, the paper route complete and the weekly house cleaning done. Mom would make a giant platter of tuna fish or other type sandwiches and the whole family would come together . Well I delivered all my papers, ripping mad because Bill had never showed up to help me. I remember coming in the kitchen red faced with anger and Bill already there having his sandwich. " Mom, I said, please can I swear at Bill because of what he did. Mom thought about it for a minute and said go ahead. I remember everyone's faces as they turned to me, ready to hear what I have to say. The best I could come up with is" Billy I hate you. You are a bastard".
I felt better. Bill took it like a man and my folks just smiled. That was the first and the last time I ever swore at any member of my family and wouldn't you know it was Bill who earned this once in a life time event.. I don't hate you Bill, never did... I love and miss you.

karl and bill buying racks for the trumbull store
When Bill and I were opening the Trumbull store we went to New York City to buy  fixtures. We  went to a store in Brooklyn to pick them up and when we got there we were amazed., First, they had a D.J. in a booth spinning records and the place was  wall to wall people and Bill and I were the only Caucasians in the store. Bill says " lets just get everything loaded on the truck and get out of here as quickly as possible" Sounded good to me so that's what we did. Now he says" You wait here and keep an eye on the truck while I pay for the racks" So I'm standing in the front of the store feeling rather self conscience and  all of a sudden I hear over the speakers  " Will Karl Graf please report to the back of the store " I look around and can't figure out what's going on and again I hear " Will Karl Graf please come back here "   Only then do I see Bill in the D.J. booth with head phones on cueing up a record with that big smile he always got when he was pulling a joke. Needless to say we didn't leave for another 1/2 hour as Bill spun records for everyone in the store , with a running  commentary the whole time. Years later when we were throwing out some of those same racks Bill turns to me and said " Remember how I got you that day we bought these "   and guess what ? He laughed just like he did 15 years before -karl graf

the salvation army lady
  It's Christmas and Bill and I are coming into the mall and there is an older woman ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. It's BITTER cold out so Bill picks up the pot and brings it inside the front door of the mall and tells the woman to come in and ring  there so she'll be warm. The very next day we are coming in again and she's outside.Bill asks her why and she tells us that the mall won't let her be inside and she has to stay out. Bill  picks up the pot and brings it inside again . He then proceeds to go down to the management office and demands to see the owners son, who is in town from Australia. He grabs him by the arm and marches him out to this woman and says to him " You stand out here for 10 minutes and then tell me if it's not okay for her to come inside" Needless to say from that day till the end of the season she got to be inside and warm.

elaine and the ferry
Bill, Cindi, Tom and I were on a weekend getaway to the Pleasant View motel in Rhode Island. That evening we spent time at "Down The Hatch Lounge" and as usual I had 1 too many glasses of their house wine. The next morning we had a trip to Block Island planned. I felt a bit queasy as we took off on the a.m. ferry. I nibbled on crackers and was comforted by Cindi.
I was finally starting to feel better I heard Bill call out to me and ask how I was doing. I turned around to see him with a chili dog in one hand and greasy french fries in the other... as he took a bite of the chili dog I "hit" the railing. "Bill I yelled, how could you?" He stood there with that confused little boy look he had, like what did I do? You had to be there..fortunately I can laugh about it now.

who's on first
Our Waterbury family was a good size; mom and dad, four boys and two girls.  We lived modestly, but close, sometimes too close; we had just two bedrooms.

As is still the case, we hung out with friends our own age.  However, Bill always wanted to tag along with my group.  I would often yell at him to go play with his own friends.

You should know that at this time, the most important thing to me and my friends were our daily baseball games - Branch Street vs. our arch enemies - Griggs Street.  As was our usual practice, we met at Paternostro's Field for a game, but on this day, we started the game late.  When we counted the players we were one short.  Spotting the tag-along, we reluctantly put him on first base, a harmless position considering the style of ball we played.

After playing for some time and with daylight fading, we decided to play one last inning.  We were up first and scored two runs.  They got up and scored one run but had the bases loaded with two outs.  The next batter hit a line drive toward first.  Bill caught the ball - third out, game over - we won!  The team cheered him as the hero of the game!

Now, a lifetime later, when I hear that old routine asking "Who's on First?", I smile because I know who's on first - its Billy Wadman, my brother.

- robert wadman

memories of the geraghty family

Our New Friends by Chris Geraghty
One of the first times the Geraghtys had Wadmans over for dinner was in 1980 and I tried to make the house special for our new friends. Bill excused himself after dinner to use the powder room. All of a sudden, he comes bellowing out of the bathroom exclaiming,"That's it, you can't be our friends!"  "There is no way we can hang out with people who have fancy postage stamp guest towels. I need to have a manly towel to wipe my hands."  I almost died of laughter.
The Intruder in Black by Chris Geraghty
Every year I asked Bill to retell this story because it got better every year...
Late one night Bill was awakened abruptly in his bedroom by a intruder dressed all in black. Bill nearly lost it when he saw two devilish red eyes staring ominously at him. The creature crept closer and closer to the bed and its breathing got heavier. Bill, attired only in his BVDs and frozen with fear, scrambled out of bed not sure whether he should tackle the thief or call 911. 
Upon further investigation he noticed the intruder was wagging something. It then dawned on Bill that the neighbor's black lab from a mile away had entered through the back door in the basement and walked up two flights of stairs to give Mr. Wadman the scare of his life.
Pete Sampras by Matt Geraghty
We were at a restaurant in Vermont in 1986 during the Volvo International Tennis tournament and Billy, Melissa, Joanna and myself were all sitting at a table by ourselves. All of a sudden Pete Sampras comes by our table to introduce himself and we were absolutely thrilled. Mr. Wadman had asked Pete to come by and say hello to us knowing that we'd get a kick out of it. After that Pete went on to win the US. Open.
Mr Wadman meets Mr. Wadman by Matt Geraghty
I remember a story he told  when he was turning pages in the local phone book and to his astonishment discovered another Bill Wadman.  He decided to call him up and introduce himself. Apparently he hit if off with the guy and talked to him for a while on the phone. He said the experience was like being in the Twilight Zone knowing that he was talking to his double.  I think his exact words were, "Whoa... was THAT Spooky?", as he burst out in laughter.
Cool things that Mr. Wadman did for the Geraghtys
1980 - He hung wallpaper, the first wallpaper in our house at 11 pm one night while the kids were sleeping. He said, " Don't hire someone, I'll put it up free of charge!"
1980-2004 - Every year Bill repaired our mail box after the plows knocked it over. He also made the mailbox post shaped in a traditional colonial style.
1984- Our house was broken into when we were in Bermuda. While we away, Bill repaired the back door and installed a new lock. He left a caring note saying call when you get home and I'll give you the details.
1985- Our pipes froze in the family room and Bill helped Jim wrap the pipes and thaw them out.
1986 - He found a deal on 99 cent Christmas trees. Yep 99 cents. He bought three for us and helped plant them and they have been in our back yard for years.   
1987 - He gave us forsythias for a hedge in the back yard.
1999- He built us a wooden reindeer for the holiday which we will always treasure.

jacqueline jacqueline's memories
Although my uncle may not be here physically his spirit will live on forever.  He had an infectious laugh and a heartwarming smile.  He was a person who could make everyone feel comfortable and welcome no matter the situation or how long you had known him for.  When I think of memories of my uncle, there are too many to mention but here are a few that will always make me smile whenever I think of my Uncle Bill.

The way he would say to my dad “Benny remember when”
Fourth of July parties with fireworks. Luckily family and friends still have all there appendages
His involvement is so many clubs and events.  I still have all the tee sponsorship signs from Wadman’s Poultry.  My last memory was when I was in the working world and he said, “Jackie do you think you could get me some Perdue stuff to raffle off.” I got him umbrellas, sweatshirts and coffee mugs. 
His love of life, family and friends. 

aaron schmidt helps move billy jr
The date was November 1, 2000 and Bill was moving out.  He, like all the other .comers, was doing well and had to spend his money.  Bill had found a nice brownstone apartment in Park Slope to move into and expand his on-line services.

I was just arriving home from a Halloween party the previous evening.  Bill and his father were in the process of removing Bill's furniture and I offered to help.   They gladly took me up on the offer and sooni was straining my back and legs while taking desks and tv's down the narrow staircase that led back to the street. 

Now I said I was just returning from a Halloween party, and some of my costume was still intact.  Specificly, I was still wearing bright red nailpolish and my hair was still tinted red. 

Now Bill's dad had been sceptical at first.  He gave me the once over when I first arrived but seeing me help with the move completely reversed his original thinking.

Later on, on a separate occasion, when reminded of the incident, he referred to me as the salt of the earth.

college roommate
Sitting in my third floor dorm room, at Danbury State College, I somewhat apprehensively viewed the computer card they had given me at the orientation desk.

Name: William Camp
Major: Elementary Education
Residence: Fairfield Hall 308
Roommate: William Wadman.

Just then an athletic looking guy with a great boyish grin breezed through the door. He was wearing a number 69 Lenox football jersey and carried a suitcase in one hand and a lacrosse stick in the other. He was one of those people who could just naturally converse and tell stories, replete with expressions, gestures, and well-spaced laughter. I soon learned that the coolest place to live is Waterbury; The coolest place to hang out is the North End; The coolest guys to hang out with are John Graf, Billy Skehan, and Anthony Famiglietti. But the coolest guy of them all was Bill himself. Almost effortlessly, he managed to meet most of the cute girls in the freshman class during the first week. He sang "Johnny has gone for a Soldier,"
and "The Times, They are a changin'" at the hootenanny. He was elected class treasurer. Bill was a person who just exuded confidence. He managed to see the humorous side of everything and did great imitations of people who were gloomy, angry, or critical. He was in the middle of the water balloon battles, the great food fight, and of course, "goin' over the line," a weekly excursion to Brewster. He was the best roommate a quiet guy from the small village of Kent could have. I think of him often.