Retro School Daze: The Rope Lady


It was a time when kids had to walk the … rope.

The first day of school, last week, was commemorated with a look back to that first day in 1965 in Fair Haven.

It was the very first day of school — for kindergarteners. It was also a finale year. That class was the last of all that walked on a rope to the Youth Center (now Fair Haven Community Center downstairs and the police station upstairs).

While classmates were remembered, the identity of the official lady tugging that rope was not.

So, as an ode to that woman, who was eventually remembered as Mary McDaniel, the Retro Pic of the Day is another look, from the archives of the Red Bank Register, of that kindergarten class walk, headed by Mc Daniel.

She was identified as a special officer. So, yes indeed, she was official.  Though, I’d still like to know how rope partners were determined. I’m still irked that she wouldn’t let me walk next to my best friend, Pam.

The fresh-cut, uneven bangs were traumatic enough on the first day of school.

Unfortunately, the press photo doesn’t show McDaniel completely.

And, we’re pretty sure an “s” was incorrectly added to her name.

The photo caption says the “device is considered an effective safety measure by school officials.” Now, with a rash of parents driving and dropping kids off, there have been safety issue complaints and police strictly enforce adherence to a 25-mile-per-hour speed limit. Third Street is cordoned off to drivers during school arrival and dismissal hours.

Complaints still ensue. What do you think? Should they bring back the rope? Hmmmm.