The mourning buntings have once again been hung on the Fair Haven Firehouse. The marquee is a mere microcosm of the long story of a lifelong Fair Havenite’s service to his town and his passing.
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 …
“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.
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!
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.
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 Reflection: Sept. 11, 2001
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
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.
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.
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.