Category Archives: Opinion

Editorials, letters to the editor and other articles reflecting on iconic people, places and traditions related to them in the area.

Scene Around: A Teacher, A Test & A 90th Birthday

Remember when you were a kid and you thought that your probably 40-year-old teacher was ancient? It’s a pretty common notion for young ones. Then they reach their 40s and wonder what the heck they were thinking.

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Focus: River Reflection

Sometimes the reflection at the waterfront in the Rumson-Fair Haven area is a mirror glass one. Still. Vivid. A picture with a clear message staring back at you from beneath.

It’s a picture of calm insight. It’s casting back of a similar scene with something new to see in the frame freeze of the water. Reflection. It gives you the chance to see more … without the blindness that the light can bring.

Take a look and find your own retrospective view …

Photos/Elaine Van Develde

Remembering Rumson Police Chief ‘Rick’ Tobias

“The Rumson Police Department is mourning the loss of Retired Chief Richard ‘Rick’ Tobias.

“For several years, Chief Tobias served as juvenile officer for the PD. His efforts changed the paths of countless members of Rumson’s youth for the better. 

“Chief Tobias was known for his big heart and willingness to help anyone in need. He was a great asset to the community and will be missed.” 

Rumson Police Department

It’s the story of a retired police chief, an officer on the Rumson beat for many years who passed away on Jan. 18 at 67 after a heroic battle with cancer. And there’s always an image to illustrate a story.

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Reflection: Retro Halloween Parading

The following opinion piece on Halloween through the generations in Fair Haven was originally published in 2015. It is reprised annually … 

Before the parade passes by, this kid from Fair Haven has some parading memories on which to reflect. Remember this scene?

It’s a longstanding tradition — the Fair Haven Halloween Parade.

I remember it well — from my first parade trek back in the late 1960s to the ’70s, 80s, 90s and now.

It all started at age 7 with a wish to be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. That little dress-up fantasy was foiled when my mother couldn’t get the gingham outfit together, my pigtails were not so poised for the silver screen look and my sister refused to crawl down Hance Road as Toto.

I guess it was bad enough that from the age of 3, she was forced by this pint-sized dominatrix 5-year-old Dorothy to crawl on a makeshift Funk and Wagnall’s encyclopedia Yellow Brick Road to Oz in the living room. The neighbors never quite got over it, either.

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Retro Benched RFH Halloween Paraders

RFH Halloween of 1977 with a gaggle of girls
Photo/George Day

Well, it’s about that time for Halloween parades. In fact, Fair Haven’s is on Sunday. And, back in the day, RFH had its own high school Halloween parade.

Some bunny — or a few bunnies and other assorted suspicious characters — got dressed for the occasion, paraded themselves around campus and benched themselves for a spell, too.

The Halloween spirit is in the air. And these senior gaggle of girls embodied it. From controversial, yet timely and popular at the time, Playboy bunny costumes, to Raggedy Ann, a ghost, a cat, a gypsy and whatever else, they were parading and pleased with their choices.

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Focus: Fall Riverwalk into Dusk

Riverwalk at dusk by the Fair Haven Dock
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

It’s a fall Sunday. It’s a day’s end. The start of a new week. The hush of the lapping river soothes. Dusk dances in the river’s reflections. It’s riverwalk daze at the Fair Haven Dock. A silent call to the comfort of home.

Everything is always alright in that riverwalk moment. There are many like it for a Fair Havenite — drenched in riverfront peace. Childhood laughing and splashing dancing in the mind. The cadence of it that soothes. It never gets old. It’s new with each step, each flicker in the tide, each lull in every water lap, each heartbeat that pulses home.

Take a look. Dive into the silence, the memories, each moment down by the river. Inhale home.

— Elaine Van Develde

Fair Haven riverwalk at dusk
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Ripples of light dancing from Fair Haven Dock
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Focus: Dock Daze of Crabbing

Sometimes all it takes to brighten a dreary day is a net, a fishing pole, a dock and some bait. It’s all about getting crabby.

No matter the catch haul, after a day of this at the Fair Haven Dock, someone fishing for some simple solace and smile will likely end up with a bucket of cheer called home —and some dinner.

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Hometown Gem: Fairing Well with Fair Haven’s Ray Taylor

When you run into forever Fair Havenite Ray Taylor, you’re always met with a smile and a lot of gratitude. Never a complaint — unless the 97-year-old is told to slow down.

The conversation may have been had days, weeks, months or years ago. Yet, if it’s a conversation with Mr. Taylor, it will usually come back to bless you at the strangest of moments, make you smile and motivate you to be a better person, a bigger part of your community. A little mazeltov, if you will.

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Retro RFH Teacher & Administrator Coolness

A look back at RFH science teacher James Parker and Assistant Superintendent Donald Trotter Photo/George Day

An R-FH Retro reprise …

Well, all are back to school at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH), too. Back to school experiences on the brain, we look back to the new experience of high school for freshmen.

With back-to-school thoughts and new beginnings come hopes of a good teacher or two and memories of the ones who we thought were the coolest and, yes, the worst and scariest to a newbie RFHer. There were also those administrators who weren’t just a Charlie Brown teacher voice cawing rules over the ol’ daydreaming student’s non-thought process. Some, or a couple in particular, are remembered as a real education innovators.

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Retro Whistle Stop Kids’ Scene

Sept. 11 marked the 35th anniversary of the iconic Fair Haven Whistle Stop owner Frank Leslie’s death. So, in honor of Mr. Leslie and the wonderful memories he and his wife, Barbara, gave so many Fair Haven kids, we are reprising our piece on the Leslies and their oh, so sweet after-school stop. Thank you, Frank Leslie. You are remembered. Thirty-five years? Wow.

By Elaine Van Develde

Sometimes all it takes is a jawbreaker, a slice of Elio’s frozen pizza, pinball and friends all enveloped in a gingham-curtained room with a jovial giant of a dad host to make a bunch of kids smile.

Sometimes. Some simpler time back in time.

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