Tag Archives: feature

In Memorium: Longtime Rumsonite, RFH Grad, Actor, Hal Holst, 66

The tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) alumnus community with the death from complications of the virus of RFH Class of ’72 graduate and community theater actor Hal Holst on April 2.

Continue reading In Memorium: Longtime Rumsonite, RFH Grad, Actor, Hal Holst, 66

Rumson Police Break Up ‘Corona Party,’ Reiterate No Tolerance Policy

UPDATE: From the Rumson Police Department the day after the party, March 5, 2020 …

“On behalf of Chief Scott Paterson, the Rumson Police Department has received some inquiries regarding the status of charging the people involved in party. The matter is presently under investigation by the Rumson Police Department and charges are pending. A post will be made once the subject(s) have been served with a criminal complaint.”

Lt. Christopher J. York

Mid-COVID-19 pandemic, Rumson police on Saturday night broke up a front lawn acoustic Pink Floyd concert party of about 30 people in their 40s and 50s.

The department issued a released statement about the party and its participants’ defiance of pandemic social distancing and disrespect and disregard for the state’s stay-at-home” edict. Authorities say they have a zero tolerance policy that will be adhered to stringently.

As of Friday, there were 19 Rumsonites who had tested positive for the virus. In Fair Haven there were 14. Close by, over the Oceanic Bridge, in Middletown, the largest municipality in Monmouth County, there were 156 positives, the largest number in the county.

Here’s what Rumson police had to say …

“This evening the Rumson Police Department received an unfortunate call about a group of 30 people on the front lawn of a house on Blackpoint Road near Wood Lane.

“When our patrols arrived we were met by a group of approx. 30 ’40-50′ year old ADULTS who were located in the middle of Blackpoint Road and on the front law attending an acoustic concert of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits. (Some even brought lawn chairs).

“The impromptu concert was performed by two guitarists equipped with microphones and amplifiers who were also broadcasting the concert via Facebook live. 

“When we informed everyone that they must leave — in accordance with Governor Murphy’s executive orders regarding these so called ‘corona-parties’ — we were met with well wishes of ‘F-the police’ and ‘Welcome to Nazi Germany’ from this group of 40-50 year old ADULTS. 

“As the old saying goes, in the midst of all this chaos, the band still played on, that is until they were advised in the middle of the 1975 classic Wish You Were Here, that they must stop the show. 

“Sadly I’m sure we all ‘wish we could be here,’ and the Rumson Police Department takes no enjoyment in ruining anyone’s fun! However we ALL have a responsibility to take this pandemic SERIOUSLY and adhere to the social distancing requirement. 

“We also need to be a good role model for our children and be kind and understanding during these times. 

“Please use this incident as a learning experience for everyone! If we have to respond to another ‘corona party’ we will be using a zero tolerance approach and everyone involved will be charged with Disorderly Conduct.

“We are all in this together and together we need to make smarter choices.”

Retro RFH Baseball Bench Time

Baseball season at RFH should be in full swing right now. COVID-19, instead, struck the season out and benched all high school players in the game.

They can’t get onto the field now and will likely miss the entire season due to the pandemic. Yes, they’re in a necessary, undeserving time out. Everyone is.

Continue reading Retro RFH Baseball Bench Time

Scene Around: Isolated View & Sobering COVID-19 Stats

The sun may have finally come out today, but the picture is a dank, grim one as far as soaring COVID-19 stats go for the state and area. It’s no April Fool’s joke. Solitude is the only thing that will squash the curve, state, county and local authorities repeat with veracity daily.

Continue reading Scene Around: Isolated View & Sobering COVID-19 Stats

R-FH Area Covid-19 Respite: Providers of Distanced Serenity & Rec

Many quarantined Rumson-Fair Haven area folks of a certain generation may be, about now, replaying in their minds, or even acting out a mantra from an old Seinfeld episode — “Serenity nowwwww!”

Continue reading R-FH Area Covid-19 Respite: Providers of Distanced Serenity & Rec

Week’s Start: COVID-19 State, County, Local Updates & How to Help

Note: This story was updated to include stats and quotes from NJ Gov. Murphy’s Tuesday afternoon address on the COVID-19 situation …

From the state to the county and local level in New Jersey, the unrelenting “stay home” message in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic is getting more emphatic by the minute.

With New Jersey seeing a total of 18,696 as of Tuesday afternoon having tested positive for the virus, a jump overnight of 2,196 and 265 deaths (up by 69), three in their 30s, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy has continually pleaded with residents to just stay home to save lives and flatten the curve.

Citing the two young men who succumbed to COVID-19, but reaffirming that deaths from the virus tend to still hit the older and compromised community harder, Murphy stressed that the young mens’ deaths bring home the fact that “this is a reality for ALL of us.”

“I cannot be any clearer in my call,” the governor added. “Stay at home before this hits home. Please do your part to flatten this curve … We are not an average state. We are a “We can do the impossible” state. That is New Jersey. “Our job collectively is to stay at home and flatten that curve. If we do our part, we can meaningfully slow the spread and save lives … This is not about you, it’s about us. Now is the time to be selfless, not selfish … The very best thing we can do together is to stay home and to keep our distance from anyone else, even at home. “

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy, Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2020

The governor thanked everyone on the front lines, especially healthcare workers and emergency responders. He particularly pointed to the state’s “unsung heroes … home health aides, sanitation workers, retail employees, teamsters, truck drivers and transit workers. Their dedication means the world and it means that we will emerge from this stronger.”

Continue reading Week’s Start: COVID-19 State, County, Local Updates & How to Help

Leaving Home: Fair Haven’s Umberto’s

“Alright guys. Time to go home.”

That’s what Silvio Fabbri would have said about the closing after nearly four decades of his iconic Fair Haven pizzeria, restaurant and hangout, Umberto’s, his son Anthony mused in a chat with R-FH Retro early in March.

The embracing hometown haven, in operation since Jan. 4, 1984, with the Fabbri family always somewhere at the helm, was set to close its doors at 10 p.m. on March 28.

They were hoping for a great gathering of community and friends to see them off as they turned out the lights and locked the doors of their Fair Haven “home” for the last time. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the goodbye can’t be quite like that. It’s a bit empty. No gatherings. No handshakes. No hugs. Hearts are full, though, and retain every bit of “home” to keep them full for the Fabbri family.

Yes, “time to go home.” But, what happens when you are already home?

Umberto’s was home. Silvio Fabbri and his family made it their home. They made it their patrons’ home, too. Silvio became an icon to many a Fair Haven kid whose bike could be seen parked there after school, panting garlic knot and pizza breath with every eager pedal “home” for what was likely their second dinner. And they likely passed their parents on the road as they fetched that dinner from Umberto’s, Silvio having memorized their names and orders by heart.

Yes, the place was “home” for many. Silvio, always calm and cool, with a side-mouthed grin, greeting his many mischievous cherubs at the counter with a pizza flip, hand sign and a “Eyyyy … Hanga loose.” And like a parent, he’d often call you out if you hadn’t been in to see him in a while with a “Eyyyy. Why you no come a see me?”

So, in listening to the voice of Silvio in their hearts, the Fabbri family, while they know his posthumous “time to go home” is a consoling, take-it-in-stride push out the door, “home” was always Fair Haven for the Shrewsbury family — at least since 1984 when they came to town to run the place owned by Umberto and Dora Areno, thus the Umberto name.

While many initially thought that the Fabbri’s last name was Umberto, it was not. The name comes from the owner of the brick-and-mortar part of the business — the building. The Arenos also owned the business (part of it all) for the first seven years of the Fabbri family’s time working there — bringing their authentic Italian pizza- and food-making skills directly from “the foothills of Napoli” — running things. They had come to America in 1976.

It was on Nov. 26, 1991 that Silvio and his brother Michele (Michael in Italian) signed to papers to buy the business itself (not the building). They have rented the building from its owners since. Ironically, Silvio’s wife Maryrose pointed out, “Silvio died on Nov. 26, 2014.” An opening and closing date for Silvio. Called home, as they say.

Home. It means something different to everyone. But, what it means to Maryrose Fabbri is a matter of the heart and the power of place in that heart, too. She feels confident it was what was in her husband’s heart all those years, too. Home.

“We didn’t become millionaires with this business,” she said earlier in the month. “We didn’t become financially rich. But we got rich with the heart knowing so many different people here (considering them) and having them all here as our family.

“We joke about our houses in Shrewsbury. We sleep and shower there. But Fair Haven is where we live. The boys did all of their recreational sports, summer camp, everything here. Fair Haven is our home.”

She went on to say that Anthony, who took over running the business with her and uncle Michele after his dad (Silvio) died, wasn’t even 2 when he first came to know Umberto’s and Fair Haven as home. The rest, like Maryrose’s nephew Tony and Anthony’s children, were “born there,” so to speak, she said. It was home. Always.

In just about every home, there are family recipes, too. Family traditions.

Anthony, Maryrose and Michele and the rest of the Umberto’s Fabbri family are sad to leave home. Still, they smile as they say that while they do not want to reveal the new owners’ names, Silvio’s pizza will come with them — a comfort of home.

After coming to the sad reality that they could no longer afford the rent, but bearing no malice whatsoever, and vetting several offers, they sold the business to “a couple of really nice guys who Silvio taught to make pizza,” Maryrose said.

That much they were happy to say. Their fear and resistance in announcing the new ownership was, they said, that people might jump to unwarranted conclusions and would not give them the chance they deserve.

“We just want everyone to welcome them and give them a chance,” Maryrose said. “They truly are great guys. And they’re bringing Silvio’s pizza with them.”

They are also bringing their own great chicken wing recipe. In fact, it’s the same one people to which those who eat at Umberto’s have become accustomed. Silvio “taught them how to make pizza and they taught him how to make chicken wings,” Anthony said.

And there’s nothing like swapping a family recipe from one home to another. Tradition is a comfort recipe. It lives on, more so in this case, as the Fabbri family chose it to be so.

As for home and hearth stories, Maryrose said with a content smile, “there are just too many to talk about. So many. But, everyone knows one or a few to keep in their heart like we do.” And the visits and goodbyes … Coincidentally their very first customer, Matt from Acme, popped in, unbeknownst to anyone, while R-FH Retro was visiting. Then came a former Fair Haven neighbor (of this 54-year resident) and coffee shop icon, Trudi Williams. Moments. Family. Home.

And as with any home, someone is always there to lead the start of the day and end it. Usually, it was Silvio. Now Maryrose. “I’m the first one (now) who walks in the door, usually at 9:45 a.m.” she said. “And I’m the last to walk out. I make sure everyone walks out first before me. Sometimes that’s been 11:30 at night.”

So, on March 28 at 8 p.m., instead of the usual 10, the time it was supposed to happen, the lights went out and the door of Umberto’s was locked for the last time.

“Time to go home,” where your heart is, and “hanga loose forever.”

Thank you, Fabbri family, for bringing the true meaning of community “home” for all of us and our children. There’s no place like it … that slice of life in our hearts.

— Photos/Elaine Van Develde, exclusively for R-FH Retro

** Please, no copying for publication elsewhere, including photo albums to be shared on social media. If you would like a copy of a photo, please message me. Thank you.**

Retro RFH Cheerleader of Charity & Crew Cooking up Some Cheer

Everyone needs a little cheer these pandemic days, right? Area restaurateurs have been cooking up some special comfort food and charity to soothe souls and fill bellies amid the COVID-19 crisis. We heard recently how Chris Wood, known as Woody, owner of Woody’s Ocean Grill in Sea Bright, offered his restaurant’s menu on pay-what-you-can basis.

Continue reading Retro RFH Cheerleader of Charity & Crew Cooking up Some Cheer

RFH Class of 2020: A Final Fete

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s (RFH) Class of 2020 got its last gathering hurrah in before COVID-19 descended on the community with the high school’s annual tradition of the 100 Nights Dinner.

Continue reading RFH Class of 2020: A Final Fete

CHAMPS: RFH’s Fed Challenge Team

They met an economic challenge and conquered it as champs.

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s (RFH) Fed Challenge Team has been dubbed Group Champions of the High School Fed Challenge, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Continue reading CHAMPS: RFH’s Fed Challenge Team