Category Archives: News

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Retro FH Tigers Cheer!

Fair Haven Tigers cheerleaders circa 1973 or '74 Photo/courtesy of Karen Memmot Hooten
Fair Haven Tigers cheerleaders circa 1973 or ’74
Photo/courtesy of Karen Memmot Hooten

A reprise of a cheery Retro Pic of the Day, originally posted in September of 2016, in honor of the spirit of football for the pint-and-a-half sized of the Rumson-Fair Haven area … 

Can we have a retro cheer for the football season of a pandemic kind ahead?

Continue reading Retro FH Tigers Cheer!

Retro RCDS Back to School of the 50s

Rumson Country Day School kindergarten class of 1959
Photo/courtesy of Teresa Metcalf

A Rumson back-to-school reprise … 

Yes, from the looks of social media and scene on the local streets and school halls around town, everyone’s still getting in the groove of getting back to school.

Continue reading Retro RCDS Back to School of the 50s

Scene Around: Whistling & Stopping Home with Barbara Leslie

She’s that lady who taught guitar to many a Fair Haven kid. She rowed the musical boat ashore and marched, played and sang with them as Fair Haven Folk Singers in parades. She’s Barbara Leslie. Her iconic base of song and play? The Whistle Stop.

Continue reading Scene Around: Whistling & Stopping Home with Barbara Leslie

Retro Rumson Pals’ Summer Swan Song

Rumson girls Alice Coyle Mansfield and Linda Zerr Feeny in the late 50s
Photo/Ken Card, courtesy of Alice Mansfield

Well, we said goodbye to … summer, local and all. And with that goodbye, we take a look back at two Rumson girls of the 1950s who took the plunge into and out of summers together — suited up, off the Rumson Dock and into a longtime friendship.

Both spent a lot of time not only at the Rumson Dock, but as residents of both Rumson and Fair Haven. Mansfield has been in Oceanport for some time. Feeny, Linda Zerr in the 50s, is still in Fair Haven. She’s been there for quite some time. And the two are still friends. Call it dock days bonding. It’s like epoxy for riverfront-raised, dock dwelling kids.

With the recent publication of Mansfield’s story as that girl from the Rumson Dock on its old post card, Feeny piped up on social media with a “This is my good friend Alice. We spent many hours on the Rumson dock. Ken Card took most of these dock pictures. Good times and long lasting friendships.” Feeny didn’t end up on the post card, but, for a minute, Mansfield thought initially it had to be Feeny lying down next to her, because they were always together.

So, as a testament to time-honored friendship, the best summers of locals’ lives and saying goodbye to summertime, we take you back to a shot on a dock piling of these two girlfriends. Call them the girls of Rumson summer.

Now that’s an easy livin’ story of the best of summertimes and friendships that endure. We’re thinking that since Feeny didn’t make it on the Rumson Dock post card, maybe there’ll be a Fair Haven one coming out in the summer of 2022?

A reunion story down at the dock may just be in order … Your best dock buddy? Fondest adventure or misadventure?

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 of 2020, 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.

Continue reading Retro Back-to-School Neighborhood Line-Up

Retro Back-to-School with an RFH Science Teacher & Assistant Superintendent

A look back at RFH science teacher James Parker and Assistant Superintendent Donald Trotter Photo/George Day
A look back at RFH science teacher James Parker and Assistant Superintendent Donald Trotter
Photo/George Day

A reprise, originally posted in 2017, in honor of back-to-school time … 

Back-to-school time has arrived.

And with back-to-school thoughts come hopes of a good teacher or two and memories of the ones who we thought were the coolest. Then there were those administrators who weren’t just a Charlie Brown teacher voice cawing over the ol’ daydreaming student’s non-thought process. Some, or one in particular, are remembered as a real education innovators.

Continue reading Retro Back-to-School with an RFH Science Teacher & Assistant Superintendent

Iconic Spot: The Girl From the Rumson Dock

Svelte and coiffed and young and lovely, the girl from the Rumson Dock goes sunning … and when she suns … she gets her picture on a 1959 Rumson post card.

You’ve likely seen the card. It’s been in circulation for decades. But, that girl sitting on the dock has always been somewhat of a mystery — until now.

Continue reading Iconic Spot: The Girl From the Rumson Dock

Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli Resigns

The reason has not been given, but a social media announcement by Fair Haven Borough Administrator Theresa Casagrande has made it clear that 12-year Mayor Ben Lucarelli has resigned “effective immediately.”

The administrator only said in the announcement at about 1 p.m. that the administration wanted to “thank him for his accomplishments” during his mayoral tenure and “wish him luck.”

R-FH Retro has reached out to Lucarelli with no immediate response.

Of the limited information surrounding the resignation, Fair Haven Borough Council President Christopher Rodriguez, alluding to a bit of an explosive moment at last night’s council meeting, said late Tuesday afternoon, “I am still digesting the past ten hours of it all. I am still coming to grips with it all … I have not spoke to the council or mayor yet.”

The governing body’s political composition has shifted in the past few years. It has been either all Republican or majority Republican over the past couple of decades at least. Lucarelli is a Republican. Last year’s election turned the majority to Democrat, 4-2.

Lucarelli, who grew up in Rumson, moved to Fair Haven to raise his family. He served on borough council and when former Mayor Mike Halfacre, an attorney, resigned in 2012 to accept a position with the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control division under the Gov. Chris Christie administration, as holding office would have posed a conflict. Lucarelli was chosen from three nominees to fill his unexpired term and then ran for full terms.

In Fair Haven’s form of government, weak mayor, strong council, the mayor is elected separately for four-year terms as opposed to borough council members’ three-year tenure. The mayor only has a vote in council matters if he is needed to break a tie. He presides over meetings and has veto power.

According to state statute, a replacement must be named from a pool of three nominees of the same party as Lucarelli. Council will then vote on who gets the appointment to fill Lucarelli’s term, which ends at the end of 2022.

This is a breaking story. As soon as Lucarelli responds, there will be a follow-up.

Back to School & Walking the Rope

Our annual reprise of back-to-school memories and walking the rope in Fair Haven …

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

Pam was my neighbor. She was my best buddy.

It was 1965. Or was it ’64? It was the 60s. One thing’s for sure: Our Fair Haven kindergarten class was the last to have its first year of school at what was called the Youth Center, now the Fair Haven Police Station and Community Center on Fisk Street.

We kindergarteners were also the last to be tugged down the street on a rope, yes a rope, headed by an official-looking police-type lady.

Continue reading Back to School & Walking the Rope

Focus: River Time; Locals’ Summer Welcome

It’s locals’ summertime in the Rumson-Fair Haven area, where the livin’ is always easier down by the river.

Welcomed is how most any local wrapped up in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers’ shoreline embrace feels. It’s a local’s terminal rite of passage. And when summer’s crowded rush of soaking it all up cools down, the deep inhale of the rivers’ endless solace warms — a reminder that home is where the river beckons. A roaring, quiet reminder. It hollers with the tide … until it soothes.

Can you hear it now?

— Photos/Elaine Van Develde (Click on one to enlarge and scroll. Enjoy!)

Locals’ summer days ahead are looking seasonably good. Check out the forecast for this week from the National Weather Service and head to your favorite locals’ summer river spot …