Category Archives: Opinion

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

Looking Back: A Tale of Tradition and Firehouse Santa Pics

By Elaine Van Develde

It’s that time of the year for a longstanding Fair Haven tradition  — photos at the firehouse with Santa.

This year, Santa’s came to the firehouse on Sunday.

It’s another Fair Haven tradition you can always count on.

I remember …

Continue reading Looking Back: A Tale of Tradition and Firehouse Santa Pics

A Retro RFH Basketball Score

A 1970s RFH basketball moment Photo/George Day
A 1970s RFH basketball moment
Photo/George Day

It’s basketball season at RFH.

It’s no secret that RFH has had some slam dunk success with the sport. In 2014, the RFH Boys Basketball team made history with its first Shore Conference Tournament (SCT) victory when the team toppled Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) with a 50-24 final score.

So, to honor the basketball season and victory scores, the Retro Pic of the (George) Day offers a look back at the RFH basketball sidelines and the young players, photographer and scorekeeper of an early 1970s high school game.

The uniforms are quite different now. They’re black, not purple, longer sleeved and, yes, the shorts are longer. Hey, that was the trend back in the day: purple, sleeveless and short (shorts).

Who wears short shorts? Wait, that was the iconic line in that Nair commercial.

Well, these guys wore short shorts. And they played a good game. Aside from the old uniforms, that may have us a bit captivated, all the guys in this photo are fixated on something.

All eyes are looking in one direction. And the scorekeeper is staring and poised to push that button and the photographer (Andy Koch?) is focused and ready to shoot.

Anyone remember this moment and what the focus was on? Come on, zoom! Anyone? Now, about those uniforms … black or purple? Preferences?

Thanks again, George Day, for this priceless score in RFH photography history!

Saying Goodbye to Rumson Jersey Girl Kit Rowett White

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”  ~ L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

A lot of heart is what the Rumson girl everyone knew as Kit Rowett had. A lot of people loved her — some who even only knew her for a moment. I guess you could say that this impish-grinned, twinkly-eyed Wizard gave her heart to the Tin Man.

And, boy, did he cry. He smiled a lot, too. This Tin Man, embodied as  the many loved ones who had a piece of Kit’s heart, smiled a wide, collective, rust-proof smile on Saturday as a celebratory goodbye was bid to the Jersey girl loved and lost on Sept. 19 after a valiant battle with cancer.

Continue reading Saying Goodbye to Rumson Jersey Girl Kit Rowett White

Retro Going to The Hunt

The Hunt in the 1990s
Photo/courtesy of Hetty Tegen

The Hunt. The Hunt. It was the annual October social gathering of the century in Monmouth County — from 1932 until 1996.

The Hunt, really the Haskell Hunt or Monmouth County Hunt Race Meet. It was where all good Rumson-Fair Haven area hob-knobbers, uppercrusters and hill voyeurs of the famously elite lifestyle gathered on the Amory Haskell Estate in Middletown, pretended to watch horses race and chase a fox, clinked crystal champagne flutes, donned designer duds, and sometimes did a little tipsy debutante tumble in the mud — all in good company. And there were many cheers to the festivity of it all!

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Remembering Former Fair Havenite, RFHer, Neighbor, Carly Emmons

Carly Emmons
Photo/courtesy of Thompson Memorial Home

She had bright red lips, a pearly white smile, twinkly eyes and always a wink, a wave and some love for a neighbor. She was former Fair Havenite Carly Emmons and she passed away peacefully on Sept. 19 at the age of 84.

Her voice had a distinct ring. It was unabashedly friendly, even a bit exotic. She gushed community love when she said hello in the aisles of the Fair Haven Acme back in the 1970s — always the fashion icon of the supermarket, usually capping a tasteful outfit with some sort of fashionable hat as she waved enthusiastically with a, “Hello, dear!” and a cheek kiss and hug to all she met up with.

Continue reading Remembering Former Fair Havenite, RFHer, Neighbor, Carly Emmons

Scene Around: A 70s Knollwood Teaching Moment

Fair Haven’s Knollwood School teachers of the 1970s reunite over breakfast
Photo/courtesy of Eileen Kubaitis/Facebook screenshot

It’s not every day that a bunch of longtime Fair Haven Knollwood School teachers from the 1970s era get together. It’s one day — for the first time in decades.

Continue reading Scene Around: A 70s Knollwood Teaching Moment

Reflection: Sept. 11, 2001

By Elaine Van Develde
It was a beautiful Tuesday. The sun was shining. The air was crisp. The coffee even tasted especially good.
I remember. Most of us remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m.. I know I do. I also remember how everything went from bright, crisp, fragrant and optimistic to dark, dank, acrid and fearful in one second.
For me, a reporter living in Fair Haven and covering Middletown, it went like this …
Continue reading Reflection: Sept. 11, 2001

Retro Back to School of 50 Years Ago

Students were back to school in the Rumson-Fair Haven area this week. Those classic first day of school shots were plastered all over Facebook.

And 50 years ago, or 51, to be exact, in September of 1966, while 91,000 students and 4,700 teachers headed back to public school classrooms in Monmouth County (13,014 to parochial), according to a Red Bank Register story of Sept. 6, 1966, the anticipation of the photo taken with that Brownie camera mounted as that picture of the day developed — taking weeks at times.

And those photos were classics … Mom-styled hair gone awry, buck-toothed and missing tooth grins, shiny Mary Jane shoes, Buster Brown penny loafers and, well, cheesy fashion in which to pose and say, “Cheese!”

At Knollwood School in 1966, half a century ago, there was a first-grade class, headed by Mrs. Ginny Kamin (deceased Red Bank Register editor Art Kamin’s wife) and filled with some area kids who ended up becoming entrenched in the community. One of those kids was me.

Some are no longer with us. Others have moved away, but keep in touch. Others, still, have stuck around and raised their children here, too. One common thread is that none of them have forgotten their hometown and likely that walk to the first day of school so many decades ago.

For me, the memory of the badly side-combed bangs kinda sticks like the Dippity-doo that was in them. Sorry, Mom. So do those little faces that seemed to loom like the Man in the Moon back in that slightly nerve-wracked elementary school daze.  And it seems like yesterday. Yes, that’s scary. It’s especially scary since it wasn’t, in fact, yesterday.

Back in those days, we walked to school with a buddy. For me, those buddies were my best friend and neighbor Pam Young and Jeff Lang. Pam and I met up with Jeff at the corner and the three of us walked the rest of the way together. Yes, Jeff occasionally would carry my books. I remember that vividly. He is gone now, but that memory is a vivid and enduring one. So is the memory of Mrs. Lang waving to us from the front porch and reminding him to do just that.

The first day of school photos were taken on the front porch, in the front yard or on the sidewalk before the first stroll back then. There was that wait for the film development. Remember that? Then there was the wait for the annual class photo, like the one above, when the picture people grabbed a comb from a tub and gave all the kids a really bad comb through before that elementary school grimace moment. Not a good hair day for most of us little kids subject to Mom’s fashion whims.

It’s all a walk down a Fair Haven memory lane with a stumble or two for good measure.

What’s your first day memory? Stumble? Who did you walk with?

— Elaine Van Develde

 

 

Reflection: All’s Fair in the End

There have been a lot of significant beginnings and endings lately. The end of summer. The beginning of locals’ summer. The start of school — new chapters and first days.

But, what about the middle? The end of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair brings me, and probably more than a few others, back to that middle.

Continue reading Reflection: All’s Fair in the End

Fair Reflections: An Ode Opening Night of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair

Last night … The night before the opening of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair … 

The night is still. A light is on. Trucks are out of the bays. Cartoony faces and ghosts in empty seats on unassembled carnival rides stare back in the dark. Someone’s cooking at the Fair Haven firehouse. It’s fair time.

Continue reading Fair Reflections: An Ode Opening Night of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair

Retro Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair Balloon Boss & Buddies

Sally Van Develde selling balloons at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair Grab Bag Booth

The following piece was originally published in August of 2015. Here it is again in honor of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, which is opening tomorrow night … 

Growing up in Fair Haven with parents in the fire company, Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair time meant time spent inflating punch balls during the day and helium balloons at night.

Continue reading Retro Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair Balloon Boss & Buddies

Retro Fair Cotton Candy & Candy Apple Boss Lady

Millie Felsmann making cotton candy at the Fair Haven Firemen's Fair circa early 1990s Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Millie Felsmann making cotton candy at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair circa early 1990s
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

 

 

Millie Felsmann and her candy apples back in the 1960s Photo/courtesy of Monica Felsmann
Millie Felsmann and her candy apples back in the 1960s
Photo/courtesy of Monica Felsmann

 

 

 

 

 

This Retro Pic(s) of the Day story was originally published on Aug. 25, 2015. It is being run again in honor of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, which will start at the end of this week. This is how they did it and continue to do it at the fair … 

 

 

By Elaine Van Develde

When it came to cotton candy — that fluffy spun light blue and pink sugar on a cone that melts in your mouth, on your mouth and many times on your hands, too — Millie Felsmann was the pro at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair.

Don’t get us wrong, here. We know that Millie also commandeered the candy apple making. Yes, Candy Bennett was there, too — for many hours a day, making and selling those candy apples, apropos name and all. And, in another Retro Pic of the Day from 2015, we touted her as the candy apple lady.

Well, she was — she was Candy, the candy apple lady.  Continue reading Retro Fair Cotton Candy & Candy Apple Boss Lady