Category Archives: Opinion

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

Retro Knollwood Grad Girls Stylin’

Knollwood Class of ’74 graduation fashionistas Stephanie DeSesa, Elaine Van Develde and Wanda Becker.
Photo/Sally Van Develde

Eighth graders in the Rumson-Fair Haven area have graduated. They’ve walked their walks. They’ve struck their grad poses. And, they’ve dressed the part. Quite well.

Photos are popping up all over social media. And these crews of grade school cronies seem to have a panache we eighth graders of the 1970s lacked. There they all are … posing, arms wrapped around one another, sporting stylish clothes, tans and toothy grins.

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Retro Stylin’ Knollwood Grads

Knollwood School Class of 2002 Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Knollwood School Class of 2002
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

The Fair Haven Knollwood School grads were styling last night. And, the truth is that the eighth grade graduation attire has improved to the point of even parents turning wannabes of that mini-fashion world.

You’d have to admit, though, that fad dress-up attire has been kinder to the male gender over the years — except for the leisure suit. That was an unforgiving polyester fashion fail.

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Honoring R-FH Area Dads

It was said last year. It’s being said again this year … 

Today is Father’s Day.

And, we at Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect are of the mind that the day is really about much more than flipping a burger and patting a good ol’ dad on the back.

It’s bigger than that. It goes way beyond your own dad’s back yard and a grilling or two.

Growing up in a small-town niche like the Rumson-Fair Haven area carries with it that family tie feeling. Some of us were fortunate enough to have great dads. Some not.

But, what we all somehow did and still do have is a strong kinship to the dads of our towns. Even if we just recall a look, a bellowing chide or a chuckle over some stupid kid thing we did, we remember the dads with whom we grew up.

Now, many of those kids are dads, too, and living where their dads raised them. Perhaps, or likely, finding themselves bellowing the same chidings, trying to impart the same wisdom.

So many of these men were volunteers we saw all over town, characters whose nuances or sayings we remember, or that one poor patient guy who ended up being the poor soul to pick us up when we were stupid enough to get caught hurling eggs and toilet paper on Mischief Night — or something equally as dumb.

Yes, we do and should memorialize our own dads. Believe me, I, for one, am still looking for that money tree my dad told me was in the back yard and that gal named Dumb Dori whom he said I emulated when lacking “street smarts” to a pathetic degree.

Yet, I also vividly remember the calm, “I’m going to kill those idiots” smile on my friend Stephanie’s dad when he picked us up at the police station after following through on a really dumb dare. Then there was the “To tell you the truth, my friend, I don’t know” quote that consistently came out of Daryl’s dad’s mouth as he shook his head in wonderment over our mangled teen logic.

There were those dads for all of us — each leaving his own patriarchal imprint in our juvenile minds. For them we are grateful — for raising us here, for coming together to protect and nurture us and for offering a communal scolding or 100, for loving all their village’s children.

They were part of this community’s foundation — everyone’s founding fathers.

Our Retro Pic (or video) of the Day honors the area’s dads of those days for those reasons and so many more.

We don’t have nearly enough photos to encapsulate all the love and all of the dads, but this is a sufficient sampling to get the message across.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads in the community who have been there for us and given us lessons and words to live by!

— Photos/courtesy of Rumson, Fair Haven family members via Facebook

Remembering Rumson Girl, Fair Haven Mom, Helen Apy

“When tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart. For every time you think of me, I’m right here in your heart.”  

And she is remembered and in the hearts of many as girl who grew up in Rumson, graduated from RFH and raised her family in Fair Haven. She is remembered as a longtime Fair Haven mom, neighbor and friend. She is Helen Apy.

Helen passed away at the age of 81 on May 18. She will be remembered with at service at 2 p.m. on Saturday at The United Methodist Church of Red Bank 247 Broad Street, Red Bank. Home.

Helen Apy

Many remember Helen as Karen and Ed’s mom and a Fair Haven recreational girls’ softball and basketball coach and referee. They remember seeing her friendly smile and wave in the Acme. They remember her as a welcoming neighbor whose home was always open to friends and family. Messages of sympathy flooded social media upon Helen’s death. But, yesteryear neighbor Robin Drake Fitch summed up the sentiments with her tribute:

“I grew up with Mrs. Helen Apy as our wonderful, kind, caring, warm-hearted, generous, strong in so many ways, backdoor neighbor at the corner of Dartmouth and Hunting,” she said. “I learned so much from her. Just a few weeks ago I was telling a friend about her, and something she taught me over 50 years ago about respect! Long lasting lessons from a loving neighbor and friend.”

Yes, those are the subtle, yet lasting memories of community that stay with us forever. Many of us have theses memories of the mom of someone with whom we grew up. Several moms, perhaps. I know I do.

I, too, remember Mrs. Apy. I remember her sincere, warm smile. I remember her direct, caring demeanor. I somehow remember her laugh. I remember her chatting with my mom in the Acme, too. She was one of those ever-present Fair Haven moms. I didn’t know her as well as her neighbors or family, but I do remember her. I knew that she was there, one of those forever Fair Haven moms and neighbors, embracing what was the Fair Haven family without prejudice or pretense. I remember her, like many other Fair Haven moms, caring for people, not things. I remember that she embodied the moms with whom we grew up and respected. And she respected, too. Respect. I do not know what her lesson of respect for her neighbor kid Robin entailed, but I suspect it was one that resonated with clarity.

I know that her own acceptance and respect did. It showed up in her words and smile. More importantly, she showed up. In fact, many years ago, Helen went out of her way to get a message of thanks to me for a memorial piece I wrote about her dear friend. He was another piece of home. I never forgot him or her words of appreciation. It came from a heart at home, after all.

I browsed through Helen Apy’s public Facebook page to honor and remember her. I saw pictures of her happy with her family and her friends. I saw pictures of her Fair Haven home. I saw happy memories. I saw smiles. Then I saw a post from 2018 in which she was looking to come home again, on the hunt for an affordable place. She had been living in North Carolina. A friend told her to stay there. “It’s too expensive here,” she said. “You don’t like it?” Helen’s answer: “I miss home too much.”

Well, you made it back home, Helen. I and many others understand all too well the value of that Fair Haven home and heart. It bears no price tag. And it has nothing to do with property value or nitpicking curb appeal now does it? Rest in peace. You are home. You are remembered.

From Helen Apy’s obituary … some more about her …

Helen Lee Apy, age 81, long time resident of Monmouth County died May 18 at Meridian Health Rehabilitation Center in Shrewsbury.

She was born on May 29, 1937 in Bronx, NY. She grew up in Rumson and graduated from RFH in 1955. She then received her associates degree in Physical Education from Brookdale Community College.

In her free time she was an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Red Bank and spent most of her adult life coaching and refereeing recreational girls softball and basketball in Fair Haven.

She fought for women’s and civil rights her entire life, even attending the March On Washington in 1963.

She is best known for her love of the New York Yankees and her “boyfriend” Derek Jeter as well her endless love and support for her children and grandchildren.

She is survived by: her two children, Edward Apy and wife Kathy Apy, and Karen Apy; grandchildren, Charlie Apy, Nicole Cebulko, Ryan Cebulko, Courtney Glubo and her husband Ryan Glubo; and her great-grandchild Sophie Lee Glubo.

She is predeceased by: her parents Eileen Klamka and John Lee, her brother Joseph Lee Jr., as well as her son Baby Boy Apy and granddaughter Isabella Apy. 

The family asks that in lieu of flowers and in honor of her years of volunteer service, please send any donations in honor of Helen to the Salvation Army. 

Retro Appreciation for RFH English Teacher Bob Berberich

RFH English teacher Bob Berberich

The following tribute on Teacher Appreciation Week to an RFH teacher who has passed, Bob Berberich, was originally published in 2015.

They’re the teachers who taught us how to communicate effectively, appreciate the English language and even motivate certain writers (ahem) to write — English teachers.

In keeping with our Teacher Appreciation Week theme of honoring unique RFH teachers who have passed, today we look back to the lessons learned from Bob Berberich.

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Retro Appreciation for a Tres Bon RFH French Teacher

Joseph Guillory circa 1970s
Joseph Guillory circa 1970s

C’est toute bien.

It’s all good. That’s how things were in Monsieur Guillory’s class at RFH back in the 1970s.

The patient, kind and slightly goofy guy who taught the honors French class for many years is gone. But, no, his students and former colleagues have not forgotten him.

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Remembrance: Longtime Rumson-Fair Havenite, RFH Grad, Daryl Cooper Ley, 58

“There are places I remember … all my life, though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remained. All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends I still can recall … In my life, I’ve loved them all.”

In My Life ~ The Beatles

And those who knew her, loved her right back …
She was Daryl Cooper Ley.

She grew up in Fair Haven, an adventurous girl who could sport scuffed knees, pigtails, snap some Double Bubble Bubble Gum bubbles and vroom a moped like no other. She was a Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) grad with many a prank to pull, paper airplane to fly and hearty hyena laughs to share. She was a supportive, fun Rumson mom and wife with a brazen love of all babies, children, adolescents and teens. She was a compassionate philanthropist. She was a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend.

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Retro Winter Warmth with RFH Clowns on the Beach

It may be winter, but the warm memories of good times with old RFH classmates keeps things cozy no matter what. And all warm, fuzzy, beachy thoughts surface when those RFH classmates plan a post-reunion holiday get-together.

Yes, the RFH Class of ’78 is spreading cheer to one another again with a few cheers at Murphy’s on Friday. All friends and classmates are welcome to suit up (or not) and join in the merriment.

All the talk of reuniting and the warmth that memories inspire reminded us of a moment back in time when some RFH girls (we think they’re girls) took to some spectacular sort of sunbathing on the high school stage in their own special (Oh, it was special alright!) rendition of The Beach Boys’ Girls on the Beach in the Freshmen Follies.

The year was 1974 and this little ditty was done with a little lip syncing and sunbathing gear that was telling of what was in some moms’ closets in that era. Sorry, moms, it was a bit scary.

In honor of it all, the triple-dose Retro Pic(s) of the (George) Day are dedicated to this special crew of stunners.

Recognize any of these sun worshippers? Who’s that behind those Foster Grants or Acme specials? Who in this photo was on the RFH Class of ’78 reunion committee?

Somehow, I doubt anyone would be up to some beach blanket bingo with these gals.

Thanks, once again, to RFH alum George Day for this photo collage treat!

— Elaine Van Develde

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 …

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Retro Santa Trauma II

The Harvey boys' visit to Santa at the Fair Haven Firehouse 2015 Photo/Paula Harvey
The Harvey boys’ visit to Santa at the Fair Haven Firehouse 2015
Photo/Paula Harvey

The following miserable children with Santa photo and narrative was originally posted in 2015. We just can’t resist featuring this classic again. Meet (or re-meet) the Harvey kids … 

The search continues for Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect’s miserable children with Santa photos.

Continue reading Retro Santa Trauma II