Category Archives: Local Life

A look, in photos, of latest area events, local everyday people and places.

Looking Back: Another Fair Gentleman

Dave Ballatori, RFH Class of 2006, helps out at the Fair Haven Firemen's Fair. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Dave Ballatori, RFH Class of 2006, helps out at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

It’s time for some more warm summer thoughts mixed with a little peek into a popular scene and its people.

We’re also sort of answering a challenge.

When we ran our Retro Pic of the Day not long ago that featured Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair regular at the Big Six tent, lifetime Fair Havenite Tom Kirman, it ended up getting more hits than any story or post in the, albeit brief, history of Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect — more than 1,000 and counting.

We also posted a little blurb announcing that fun fact. Dave Ballatori, RFH grad and co-worker of Kirman’s at the tent, gave his own, let’s say, five cents worth on the post and Kirman’s apparent popularity.

If you’ve frequented Fairwinds Deli over the years, as many have, you probably know Dave.

So, let’s see just how popular he is. Will his photo get more clicks or come close to Kirman’s click count?

A Play on RFH’s Past Shows

This was a rehearsal for Neil Simon's 'Plaza Suite' at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School circa 1977. Photo/screen shot of RFH yearbook.
This was a rehearsal for Neil Simon’s ‘Plaza Suite’ at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School circa 1977. Photo/screen shot of RFH yearbook.

As Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) actors readied for their production of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite in 1977, more of the same is happening at the high school now.

The Tower Players are gearing up for their production of Miracle on 34th Street on Dec. 12, 13 and 14.

There’s always been a fall and spring production at the high school.

In the interest of full disclosure, yes, this editor is pictured here rehearsing for Plaza Suite. Regrettably, one of the actors is now deceased — Billy Weithas. RIP, Billy. Lisa Golder and Danny Olshansky are still with us; and both were at the RFH Class of ’78 reunion. Danny even apologized for dropping five pages worth of lines on me, saying he was never an actor and had no idea why he was cast.

I told him then, and will again, it was like a terror train, but you are soooo forgiven! This editor just had to roll a serving cart around the stage for about 15 minutes and just ramble. Good thing I never run out of anything to say! Poor guy.

OK, now the not-so-secret secret is out. Tell us your tale of being in an RFH production.

Email me at

A Look Back on a Sunny Donovan’s Kind of Day

An empty tiki bar sits on the spot where Donovan's was bustling before Hurricane Sandy. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
An empty tiki bar sits on the spot where Donovan’s was bustling before Hurricane Sandy. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Rumson-Fair Haven area people, it’s cold outside!

So, here’s a peek back to the summer of 2014 on Sea Bright beach to warm you up a little.

The volleyball nets were up, beach bums were sunning, swimming and surfing and a reminder of what’s to come with the rebirth of Donovan’s Reef sat barren on the beach.

The mainstay locals’ beach bar, obliterated by Hurricane Sandy, was slated for a small preview-like comeback over the summer. A tiki bar was set up on the beach but never quite made it to full-swing operational mode.

Word is that the iconic bar will be back in much different form for the summer of 2015.

A Revival: Holy Cross Church

By Elaine Van Develde

When it comes to Holy Cross Church in Rumson, you could say it’s a case of that old Peter Allen song, Everything Old is New Again — and, maybe, vice versa.

The long-anticipated, beleaguered church restoration/expansion project broke ground in the spring of 2013.

When portions at the rear of the 1885 white-shingled house of worship were demolished, leaving only its facade and room for the expansion, the sight of the hollowed, one-dimensional flat structure was a view of a different kind.

The foundation for the expansion was blessed on Nov. 3, 2013.

Since then, a lot of building, recreating the designs of Charles Keely, has been done. Slated for completion by the end of 2014, the compromise of what was originally to be an even bigger Holy Cross is looking nearly complete.

Take a look at our photo gallery above. Just click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through using the arrows to the left or right. 

Past Life of the Atlantic Hotel


By Elaine Van Develde

It was called the Atlantic Hotel — the spot on Fair Haven Road in Fair Haven where the old Lock Stock & Barrel and Varsity Club sat. It’s now Navoo Grill Club.

As the Atlantic Hotel, the place had a history rich with visits from famous producers, Vaudevillian actors and millionaires who traveled via steamship to the banks of the Navesink River for respite or to entertain some more.

Last year, Fair Haven was given unearthed registers of the establishment dating back to the early 1900s.

On one page, in particular, the registration of Long Acre Quartette decorated a page, noting that it was the Fourth of July, 1908.

The troupe hailed from “N.Y. City” and its members listed their names followed by “and wife.”

Funny how the women were nameless back in the day. Take a look. Do you recognize any of these names?

A Look Back at Our Fair Ladies

Patty Overman and Ann Dupree at the Fair Haven Firemen's Fair. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Patty Overman and Ann Dupree at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

These two ladies have been a staple at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair for probably close to half a century — not that they look it.

They really don’t. In fact, Patty Overman and Ann Dupree pretty much look the exact same as the first day they set foot on the fairgrounds.

Who knows the name of the booth the two have manned for years?

Honoring Vets in Rumson, Fair Haven

By Elaine Van Develde

“Many of those who were drafted into war many years ago were only seniors in high school. They were so young, their faces looked like dough,” Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli said, explaining the significance of what is dubbed the Doughboy Statue that stands at Memorial Park.

It’s where the Veterans Day ceremony in the borough took place on Tuesday. It’s also where some of those once dough-faced soldiers, now wearing the passage of time and life experience on their faces and in their eyes, gathered to pay tribute to fellow vets, those who have passed, those killed in the line of duty and those still in service.

They gathered in both Fair Haven and Rumson.

In Fair Haven, World War II vet Warner White, recipient of the Purple Heart award and Combat Infantry Badge, made his way up to the mic to speak of his time on the Atlantic French Coast at Utah Beach (D plus 94) and the Battle of the Bulge.

A native of Ohio, White has made Fair Haven his home since 1962.

Modest, as many World War II vets are, White quipped, “Ya see this picture of me here (pointing to the program). They make it look like I’m saluting. I really wasn’t. I was just combing my hair.”

He spoke of his experiences and all listened intently, including the very young, doughy-faced students in attendance.

Also recognized were a couple of the oldest living World War II vets in the audience: Ray Taylor, who served in Korea as well, and Oscar Hille, of the U.S. Army Air Corps. Also still living in Fair Haven, Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect has learned, is 97-year-old World War II vet, Ken Curchin.

In Rumson, special recognition was paid to Jack Donovan Fowler, who was a First Lieutenant in the 7th Armored Division of the Battle of the Bulge.

Captain Daniel J. Edwards was the “presiding officer of the day” for the ceremony and Captain Mike Lilley, of the U.S. Marine Corps, spoke. Lilley, a Rumson resident, is executive director of Better Education for Kids, Inc.

All are the faces of service to the country. There were many thank-you’s and handshakes Tuesday morning. And Mayor Lucarelli called for that and more consideration to be a constant.

“In war there are and (have been) so many casualties and lives lost … Many who served and return have wounds that cannot be seen, such as post traumatic stress disorder and brain trauma …

“If you see a vet, thank a vet. If you see a vet and it seems like he’s having a hard time, understand. Go up to him and comfort him if you can.”

The casualties of the wars … 

• World War I, 115,000 lives lost;

• World War II, 405,000 lives lost;

• Korean War, 36,000 lives lost;

• Vietnam, 50,000;

• Persian Gulf conflicts, 7,000.

Doing the RFH Reunion Dance

RFH's Class of '78 parties. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
RFH’s Class of ’78 parties. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Class of ’78 has a problem.

Classmates have no concept of the passage of time — ahem … their age. They partied for three days without skipping a beat. The party started on a Friday night in August of last year with some cocktails and dancing at Woody’s then Even Tide in Sea Bright.


What 70s dance do you think this trio was doing? What song were they dancing to? Was there even a song?

Rewind: Picking a Fair Winner

Tom Kirman spins the wheel for a winner at the 2014 Fair Haven Firemen's Fair. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Tom Kirman spins the wheel for a winner at the 2014 Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

As the cold sets in, the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair and the end of summer seem like a distant memory.

But it always warms the heart to take a look back and forward to the next one.

Most people reappear manning the same booths from year to year. Tom Kirman is always at this one. Do you remember the name of it?