Pandemic cheer. A reprise Retro Pic of the Day, originally posted on Sept. 14, 2016 in the spirit of the last official day of summer, knowing that the summer spirit never truly ends for the Rumson-Fair Haven area young and forever young at heart …
With the start and end of local summer and school (in or out of the classroom), students’ thoughts naturally turn to warmth and freedom. They start to daydream.
And as it gets cooler outside, those daydreams tend to have a festive tropical island motif — well, this one anyway.
Back in the 1970s, RFH students, or a gaggle of guys, anyway, manifested those thoughts of warmer beach days, among other valiant party pursuits, into a club — The Caribbean Club.
These guys beached it in Sea Bright or somewhere along the Shrewsbury River throughout the school year. Leaving behind their bathing trunks, clad in those classic RFH button down shirts, sometimes flannel, sweaters, Levis and topsiders, the dozen of these senior dudes sought sunsets on the Shrewsbury, beer (yes, beer), parties and a proper “bon voyage for seniors embarking on the cruise of life,” so goes the description of the club in the 1975 RFH Yearbook.
Well, they did have a charitable mission. They sponsored Halloween and Christmas parties.
Somehow we’re thinking that this club would have never cut it in this era, much less made it to the yearbook touting a partying prowess. So, “Cheers!” to the Caribbean Club of yesteryear and its daydreaming days.
You guys are truly RFH policy antiques.
Who knows where the Caribbean Club hosted its most notable parties? Were you there?
There’s been a lot of townie talk these days about: Fair Haven’s little tykes transitioning from third to fourth grade; a bike procession up Third Street in pandemic times; first days in and out of classrooms; fixing up Fisk Street Chapel; and prospects of tearing down what was the borough’s former segregated schoolhouse and integrated kindergarten, now the police station, to make way for updated facilities.
In light of all that talk, we are reprising a 2015 Retro Pic of the Day and reflection on what was the segregated schoolhouse that was transformed into an integrated kindergarten and the kids in the classroom in 1965-66 not long after segregation stopped. This was the last class to go to kindergarten at the Youth Center, now police station and Community Center.
Back in the day — OK, waaaaay back in the day — there was a third school in Fair Haven for kindergarten. It was the Youth Center. People now know it better as the Fair Haven Police Station and by its newly adopted name that hasn’t quite caught on yet, and may never for “older” folks still in town — Fair Haven Community Center. Phooey to that. Some things just need to keep a name for nostalgic purposes alone.
That and it’s just a matter of what sounds like home to you. For instance, my very nice grandmother, a Matawan native, was pretty hostile about the “new” Aberdeen split and name. Paid it no mind. And if forced, said it with “blah, blah, blah” contempt. Back to the Community Center … There, I said it.
The call came for neighbors, friends, paint brushes, scrapers, masks and soaring helping spirits. That call was heeded over the weekend at the Fisk Chapel AME Church in Fair Haven as many showed to get the church with historic roots dressed up in its Sunday best.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
On the year without the fair … We look back to a story originally published in 2015 all about just how the largest firemen’s fair in the state was run and a bit about that famous clam chowder. The details come straight from a longtime fair chairman and his son years later … RIP, Jim Acker. All’s fair ….
There was a time when there was one. Now there are three. We’re talking Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair chairmen. Yes, there was one person in charge of all that’s fair, getting it started and keeping it going. That guy was James Acker back in the day a few decades ago from the late 1960s to early ’80s. Then it was Gary Verwilt, former longtime Knollwood School teacher.