The following, originally posted on May 30, 2016, is our annual ode to the longtime tradition of Fair Haven sixth graders camping and learning at Stokes State Forrest. Take a trip back with us again. Remember?
It’s that time of the year when Fair Haven schools tradition takes hold and all good Knollwood sixth graders go on their trip to Stokes State Forrest. The buses rolled back into town at about 3:30 today. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the most wonderful time of the year for those sixth graders. Wow.
She was there watching over and crossing kids to school in Fair Haven for more than 25 years. She took her job seriously. She loved and looked after many. No one would dare take a single step into the road without her nod, loud whistle, broad outstretched arms with stop sign palms and her iconic “CROOOOOOSS!” bellow. She is Dorothy Breckenridge; and she turned 88 on Tuesday.
Spring is finally in the air again. The sun came out and dried up all the rain, summer’s coming and so are lots of beach days. And years ago, there were some RFH teens rallying to get a nude beach going on Sandy Hook. Everyone knows how that went.
You put the coffee on. You called for us when dinner was ready. You held on tight when we needed a hug. You wiped our dirty little faces, sopped up tears and runny noses. You were there, front and center, at many a school open house, game, play, concert and, yes, principal’s office visit. You welcomed the neighborhood kids as if they were your own. You wrote all those notes to get us out of gym class (because some of us were clods). You shook your heads in disbelief over our antics and yelled our full names like a loving banshee when you were mad. You had our backs. You were just plain there — the unshifting foundation of a community through the years, building a legacy.
Thank you. We remember those who are gone and salute those who carry on …
There’s nothing quite like a summer drive in a classic car with the top down. Though it may not be summer yet, it’s been that kind of day for a few days now. So, we’re re-running this piece just because the sun needs to shine on friendships and good times like these. There’s nothing quite as warm. Put the top down and take a drive back with us again …
The drive is all the better if it’s made with best friends. So, as a continuing ode to summer fun of the past at the hands of RFH teens, the Retro Pic of the Day encapsulates the whole idea — best friends, a cool ride and warm memories.
Well, the has been shining bright, signaling a true start to spring and a little spring fever on the ball field. No time like the present, or some 40 years ago, for an impromptu game in the sun when going out to play meant getting some exercise and hanging with your buddies.
In light of baseball season and honoring high school firsts in the breaking down of gender barriers, this Retro Pic of the Day, originally published in 2015, is being recirculated …
Yes, it’s all about baseball right now.
And the idea of RFH girls breaking into sports that were traditionally boys’ is something to think about.
So, who was on first, or, rather who was first to be somewhere on the field with the guys in the 1970s? It was RFH Class of ’78 alumni Nancy Whelchel.
Yes, Nancy got onto the baseball field with the boys at RFH a year or two after Chris Bowden scored a goal for girls in soccer.
It all happened back in the day when girls had just made strides to change the dress code and wear pants to school. That was a mass effort. There were a lot of girls walking around wearing skirts or dresses with pants underneath. But that’s another girls’ liberation story for another day.
It’s about those singular sensation girls who defied a status quo form of sexism when literally playing the fields.
So, the Retro Pic of the (George) Day honors one of those girls — Nancy Whelchel. It’s a snapshot of Nancy on the field with Ward Tietz.
We’re not sure if this is an actual team practice shot or just one in which she was just tossing the ball around for fun with a couple of the guys from her class.
Still, there she is playing ball. She had the guts and the sports acumen to break the good ol’ — or young — boys’ sports network.
I somehow don’t recall any sort of rebellion from the boys. She was good. That was all that mattered.
Any firsts for girls on the football field? Anyone? What was Nancy Whelchel’s specialty on the baseball field?
Many thanks, again, to George Day for this classic!