Tag Archives: Fair Haven

Honoring Jamie Riley: Saying Goodbye & Remembering

I want to borrow a poignant Joseph Campbell quote from Joe Perrotto:  “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”  Last week, our community lost a hero and member of our family in a tragic accident while he was so selflessly serving our nation. The pain we feel is proportional to the love we have We honor Jamie by remembering his sacrifice and the impact he had on so many of our lives. I ask that our fire company family joins together in presence and support of the Riley’s during their time of mourning.

Fair Haven Fire Department Chief Christopher Schrank

Jamie Riley’s family, friends and Fair Haven hometown community are mourning the loss of a soldier proudly serving his country and a young man dear to all who knew him.

Continue reading Honoring Jamie Riley: Saying Goodbye & Remembering

Retro Fair Haven Snow Day Sirens

A snow day on Third Street in Fair Haven back in the 1960s
Photo/Kathy Robbins

Well, after a lot of warnings and prep, the weekend played host to the snowstorm that wasn’t. But there were plenty of snowstorms that actually snowed Rumson-Fair Haven area folks in and left them to their own devices for resorting to fun in the snow.

Continue reading Retro Fair Haven Snow Day Sirens

Focus: Power of People 2018

People. People put the power of place into perspective. They pull us back into places we remember, milestones. They set us soaring toward our dreams, reaching for our own stars. They bring us down to Earth. They anchor us, our memories, our life journeys.

So, in honor of bringing the people in our lives, our communities, all into focus on the journey of one year in the Rumson-Fair Haven area, we offer a glimpse at the people around us in 20018. Relive. Remember. Treasure.

Happy New Year! Be sure to stop, take a look at the faces around you and embrace the memories created in 2019 …

Take a look back (and don’t forget to CLICK to ENLARGE!)

— Elaine Van Develde

Focus: Power of Place 2018

There’s a lot to be said about the importance of place in people’s lives. It defines us in many ways. It brings us comfort. It triggers memories. It is a bookmark in our hearts. Oftentimes that important place is home.

So, to pay homage to the profound power of place in the Rumson-Fair Haven area, home, we offer a glimpse back to significant places of 2018 and many decades preceding it.

Happy New Year! Take a look and let the photos give a tug at your heartstrings. Remember.

(Oh, and don’t forget to click on each photo to enlarge and get the full view!)

— Elaine Van Develde

A First Fair Haven Christmas

Merry Christmas, Rumson and Fair Havenites! Cherish your day, make those memories and hold on tight to them. One day they will be your best Christmas present.

Our Retro Pic of the Day takes you back to 1964 and a first Christmas in Fair Haven for the R-FH Retro publisher and her family.

What could be better than a first Christmas in Fair Haven? How about another generation raised there and 53 more Christmases? It doesn’t get better than that, does it? Until it doesn’t and all a native Fair Havenite has are magical memories of growing up on the street where she lived and all she wants for Christmas is to go home.

So, to those who have left home, close your eyes. Remember. Go back home for that first Christmas. Smile.

On our first Fair Haven Christmas, we asked Santa at the firehouse to grant our modest gift wishes and he did. I got that “doll with a wind” whose retail name is forgotten and sister got a Pebbles doll.

Yes, and the blow-up Santa is a bit freaky looking, but all the rage in the 1960s.

Did you get what you wanted from Santa? Send us your photos at evd@rfhretro.com and we’ll post them. Keep making those memories. Happy holidays, hometown friends.

Focus: Fair Haven Holiday House Decoration Winners

Drum roll please … for, perhaps, the little drummer nutcracker boys on the front porch of the first-place winner of the first Fair Haven Holiday House Decoration Contest — the Ruscignos at 39 Parker Avenue.

Ben, Maria and Rocco Ruscigno added some special touches this year, they said. They collected PJs for ill children and their families at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center Children’s Hospital in an effort to give back the kindness they received when Rocco was ill one year. In an effort to make the drop-off spot as festive and easy to find as possible, spirits soared and their house got the deluxe decoration treatment. Maria announced that they dropped off “100 pairs of brand new pajamas” to Jersey Shore. She thanked all for the donations.

Congratulations to the Ruscignos!

Second place went to the family at 11 Country Lane with the beautiful array of white lights. If you’ve done your holiday lights drive with due diligence every year, you’ve surely seen and admired the display here.

And third place went to the folks at 77 Poplar Ave., whose home is adorned with lots of festive multicolored lights and decorations year after year.

All the entries were drive-by worthy. Take a ride around the borough to see for yourself. There were 13 that were entered in the contest. In the meantime, take a look at some photos of the winners. And don’t forget to click to enlarge!

Memorial Set for Fair Haven Fire Department 30-Year Member, Chris Bertell, 88

You didn’t have to know lifetime Rumson and Fair Havenite Chris Bertell for him to have touched your life and put a smile on your face, if only for a moment, especially at holiday time. That’s because he was the guy who, year after year, set a festive, antique Santa-driven Ford Model T on his River Road lawn. It was a traffic stopper. It was also a heart warmer.

And when people think back on holiday time in Fair Haven, most remember that guy, Chris Bertell, who set out to spread a little joy with a car, some lights and good ol’ Saint Nick. They also remember him as the guy in town who loved antique cars and dalmatians and shared that love with many.

Bertell also saw many through emergencies as a 30-year life member of the Fair Haven Fire Department many-time president and ex-captain of the department’s Fire Police. He was also that go-to guy in the community for electrical repairs with his longtime business, Chris’ Electric.  

Bertell, also a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and member of the Masons, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 15, at Riverview Medical Center. He was 88.

A memorial is set for Bertell from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec.22. There will be a fire company service at 11. And The avid volunteer and lover of antique cars and dalmatians 

Chris is survived by: his wife of 60 years Frieda “Ruth” (Dudley); and his cousin, Vincent Domidion, of Morganville. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made in Chris’ name to the ASPCA, 260 Wall Street, PO Box 93, Eatontown, NJ 07724.

RIP, Chris Bertell. You are remembered.


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 …

Continue reading Looking Back: A Tale of Tradition and Firehouse Santa Pics

R-FH Area Weekend: Singing, Santa & Lights

It’s that kind of holiday-laced weekend again. And there are a couple of events in the area that will have you humming, ho-hoing or strung up, in a festive sense.

On Saturday, if you’d like to venture a bit out of the Rumson-Fair Haven area, there’s a holiday gift of song that awaits you … 

You are cordially invited to celebrate the holiday season with a festive after noon concert. Red Bank Area Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society will present RINGING IN THE HOLIDAYS — a fun concert of vocal harmonies — on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Ocean Township High School Auditorium, 550 West Park Avenue, Oakhurst.

This is a merry group of harmonizing singers. You really have to see them to get your spirits soaring. 

The concert will feature traditional holiday favorites sung in 4-part harmony by the Chorus of the Atlantic — a group of male harmony singers under the direction of Craig J. Page.  

Also appearing on stage will be the Matinee Idles, a group of retired men that perform for area organizations in the afternoons.  The Matinee Idles will sing some favorites and share some laughter and good cheer, under the direction of Will McCain.

In addition, there will be some special guests … Ocean Chamber Choir from Ocean Township High School under the direction of Teddy Kernizan.

And Santa is rumored to show. 

Tickets are $18 for general admission, $15 for seniors and students, free for children age 16 and younger.  Tickets are available at the door.  Please call ahead to buy your tickets and save $3 per ticket. Call 732-784-7343 and leave your name and phone number.

The Chorus of the Atlantic welcomes visitors to their rehearsals.  They meet Tuesday evenings from 7:30 – 10 p.m. beginning Jan. 8, 2019 at the Red Bank Middle School, Harding Road, Red Bank.  

And on Sunday … 

Santa will park himself in a chair at the Fair Haven Firehouse from 1 to 3 p.m. to visit with all the good boys and girls around the towns and offer gifts and candy.

Word on the street is that Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick will also be seen riding around town in the fire truck from noon to 1 p.m. as a precursor to the classic holiday event. 

And all through the weekend and beyond …

Let your holiday decorations shine and be judged, as Fair Haven sets in motion its new festive decor contest. Which house is the most festive? Only residents know for sure.