All posts by Elaine Van Develde

9/11: Day’s End Reflection, 19 Years Later

The following piece, with a few changes as time goes on, is published annually on 9/11 as a testament to never forgetting … 
 
It was a beautiful Tuesday. The sun was shining. The air was crisp. The coffee even tasted especially good.
 
I remember. Most of us remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m.. I know I do. I also remember how everything went from bright, crisp, fragrant and optimistic to dark, dank, acrid and fearful in one second. I remember how it wasn’t about us observers, storytellers. It was about them — the victims, their loved ones, their message.
 
For me, a professional observer, a professional storyteller, thankfully close enough, yet far enough, yes, it was so very much about them — painfully so. I wasn’t one of them. I was lucky. I was grateful. I watched. I listened intently. They shared.
 
I was a reporter living in Fair Haven and covering Middletown. On what started out as a typical day, they ended up unwittingly, graciously, lighting a less traveled path for me. For many.
 
It’s this one storyteller’s perspective.
 
Through this one fortunate observer’s eyes and heart, it went like this …
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Clipped Perspective: A 60s R-FH Area Back-to-School Era

It’s a different kind of back-to-school week this pandemic-affected school year. That’s for sure. Students were back to school, part virtually and part in the classroom or outdoor class, in the Rumson-Fair Haven area this week. Those classic first day of school shots were plastered all over Facebook.

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Retro Back-to-School Neighborhood Line-Up

First day of kindergarten in Fair Haven 1965
Photo/Sally Van Develde

A back-to-school reprise dedicated to my first friend, Pam (second from right), who passed away in July, and everyone’s first friend on that first day …

Knock-kneed, nervous and all dressed up with somewhere to go, this gaggle Fair Haven neighborhood girls of 1965 lined up so their moms could get that classic first-day-of-kindergarten shot. And there wasn’t a smile among them.

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Retro First Day of School, First Friend & The Rope

Our annual reprise about that first day of school and walking the rope in Fair Haven is dedicated to the memory of Pam Young, my first friend and Fair Haven neighbor. Pam passed away on July 7 at 60. The memories of her are forever etched in my heart. No one ever forgets their first friend, first neighbor. All the firsts with that special first are indelible. Thank you for knocking on my door that first day and asking if I could come out and play. I will never understand why that lady wouldn’t let us walk together on the rope … I also never forgot. Not a thing …

“But I don’t wanna walk on the rope next to her!” I cried from under my fresh-cut kindergarten bangs. “I wanna walk on the rope next to Pam!”

Pam was my neighbor. She was my best buddy. It was 1965.

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Locals’ Summer: Fishy River Kid Reflection

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There’s something fragrantly fishy about quiet river time frolicking among childhood friends down by the Fair Haven Dock.

It’s a common, soothing sight to see — a gaggle of kids clamoring around a fishing net, exploring a good catch. Of course, they throw the little fish right back in as the tide rolls out. After all, it’s the bonding down by the river that counts most.

Home. The solace of the scene. This is it for them. For many. The bright sun dancing with a simple, happy time. The sound of lapping water peppered by giggles and gasps over a few fish wiggles, seaweed and shells. The sand between the toes. The home in the heart made to keep kid memories.

Take a look … Remember? (CLICK on one photo to enlarge and scroll. Enjoy!)

In Memoriam: Longtime Fair Havenite, First Aid EMT Nancy D. Hartman

Longtime Fair Havenite and Fair Haven Fire Department First Aid Squad member, Nancy D. Hartman, lost her battle with ALS on Sept. 7. She passed away at home with her loving husband Larry by her side.

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Police Report: $50K Theft by Deception, $25K Theft, $163K Burglary, Unlawful Weapons Possession

The following recent criminal incidents and arrests were reported by Shrewsbury police. An arrest does not constitute a conviction.

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Prosecutor: Fugitive Found, Arrested on Animal Cruelty, Puppy Death Charges

A Howell woman was found and arrested on animal cruelty charges on Sept. 4, after being a fugitive for nearly three months, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

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Fair Remembrance: All’s Fair in the Middle

There are a lot of significant beginnings and endings this time of the year. 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 has always brought me, and probably more than a few others, back to that middle. It’s home.

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Prosecutor: Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Theft from PBA

A Brielle police officer pleaded guilty on Thursday to stealing more than $700 from the expense account of the local police union, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced on Friday.

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