Category Archives: Opinion

Editorials, letters to the editor and other articles reflecting on iconic people, places and traditions related to them in the area.

Retro RFH Best Buds & A Bridge Message

With RFHers’ graduation, sentimentality has set in. It’s that milestone summer of senior year … There’s nothing like a few best buds, a graduation summer, a message of forever friendship and the bridge — RFHers’ iconic cement billboard of sorts left over from the McCarter estate in Rumson.

So, to pay tribute to both buds and the bridge, the Retro Pic of the Day offers a glimpse of both in a milestone moment of friends paying homage to one another by painting the bridge way back in time.

Continue reading Retro RFH Best Buds & A Bridge Message

Retro RFH Graduation: The Daisy Chain Girl

RFH 1978 graduation in front of the high school, replete with daisy chain
Photo/Daryl Cooper Ley

The following was originally posted in May of 2017. It is being re-run in honor of graduation, time honored traditions past and this RFH Daisy Chain girl of ’78, who passed away in February of 2018 — Daryl Cooper Ley.

In high school social circles, it was considered a popularity status symbol to be chosen for the chain. Daryl wasn’t all too thrilled about it at the time. It had confirmed what her closest friends knew. That she was cool. It was often repeated to her. “I didn’t think so,” was always her answer. Sorry, Dar. We win. Got the last word. You were. RIP, Dar. You are remembered … in our hearts, souls and print, like it or not! Love you forever more. Oh, she would kill me

It was considered a privilege and honor. They were chosen from the junior class at RFH to serve as the debutante-like ushers for the graduating class. All dressed in white and supposedly gracefully toting a chain of daisies, the Daisy Chain girls were a fixture of high school finery at graduations in the 1970s.

The origins of the somewhat upper-crust tradition date back to the 1900s, but this Retro Pic of the Day was snapped in 1978.

Continue reading Retro RFH Graduation: The Daisy Chain Girl

Retro Rumson Albertina Steam Ship Dock & Stroll

Last Thursday, a Navesink River waterfront spot in Rumson became the focal point of the search for a missing kayaker that ended in tragedy. And more than a century ago, the same vicinity was the site of flourishing happy-go-lucky times of transport and community. It was the site of the Rumson dock where the famous Albertina steam ship made stops for commuting, community and entertainments’ sake.

Continue reading Retro Rumson Albertina Steam Ship Dock & Stroll

A Fair Haven-Raised Man’s George Floyd Protest Perspective

A Fair Haven-raised man on Friday walked with his son in peaceful protest of the knee-to-throat death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis, MN police officer Derek Chauvin, police brutality and injustice in the black community — a walk calling for unity.

“Unity, all ages, all races,” said that man, Skip Hawkins. “I’m so proud of these kids today.”

Continue reading A Fair Haven-Raised Man’s George Floyd Protest Perspective

Retro Forever Fair Haven Eighth Grade Friendship Snapshot

Knollwood Class of ’74 graduation fashionistas Stephanie DeSesa, Elaine Van Develde and Wanda Becker.
Photo/Sally Van Develde

Eighth graders in the Rumson-Fair Haven area are going through graduation rites of passage of a different kind right now — the COVID-19 pandemic era kind.

And what’s different about it is that there are no photos of friends clustered together, arms wrapped around one another or stiff shoulder-to-shoulder stances, signaling the end of a grade school era and beginnings. It’s definitely a missed moment or several this year.

Those ends and beginnings always involve childhood friends, some who stay with us throughout each milestone in our lives. They’re always there, if not in physical presence, in our hearts and on our minds. Those friends were markers in the milestones that are rooted in all that’s home. Our history.

So, while those friendship poses won’t be struck in the isolated pandemic Class of 2020 photos, the kinships inherent in them remain a hallmark of homegrown, hometown life.

Even if you were one of those kids that just didn’t like school all that much, the awkward, trying and exhilarating moments marked with those childhood friends are the ones that stay forever etched in minds and hearts. It’s the stuff that makes you who you are. The stuff that keeps you grounded, or up in the air — always home.

Those questionable fashion pics and fumbling adolescent moments also comprise great friendship blackmail material. Who else would have such epic fashion failure photos to go along with a string of clumsy, trouble-making memories up for grabs?

Your oldest friends. That’s who. And when the time comes to say your final goodbye, a standard eulogy by the most stable adult in the bunch just can’t compete with the memories of childhood, adolescence, teen years and adulthood and all of its ugliness, awkwardness and beauty with best friends.

Crews of grade school cronies, regardless of fashion or common sense, have something special — dating back to the beginning of graduating times.

Continue reading Retro Forever Fair Haven Eighth Grade Friendship Snapshot

Retro Eighth Grade Grad Close Encounter

Knollwood School Class of 2002
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

The Fair Haven Knollwood School grads have always been a styling, close-knit crew — a crew of cohorts that’s always shared many Kodak moments, in pairs, trios, cliques and all together.

Just as photography has evolved from Brownie camera to Instamatic to Polaroid, to phone camera, to full-on professional photo shoots, graduation photo ops have devolved back to single inspired family front lawn shots. That’s where the photo blitz usually began. Now it’s where it ends, too. So, some things never really change — much.

Read more

Remembering Fair Haven’s Bill Leonard: Mayor, Fireman, First Aider, Friend

A towering Fair Haven presence has taken leave from the hometown spotlight as his legacy continues to be something to which many look up.

Continue reading Remembering Fair Haven’s Bill Leonard: Mayor, Fireman, First Aider, Friend

Retro Appreciation for a Tres Bon RFH French Teacher

Joseph Guillory circa 1970s
Joseph Guillory circa 1970s

To honor some favorite RFH teachers who have passed, we are re-running this tribute to RFH French teacher Joseph Guillory, originally published in 2015, an under-appreciated gem of a language teacher. Thank you, Monsieur Guillory. You are remembered and appreciated … 

C’est toute bien.

It’s all good. That’s how things were in Monsieur Guillory’s class at RFH back in the 1970s.

The patient, kind and slightly goofy guy who taught the honors French class for many years is gone. But, no, his students and former colleagues have not forgotten him.

Continue reading Retro Appreciation for a Tres Bon RFH French Teacher

Retro Appreciation for RFH English Teacher Bob Berberich

RFH English teacher Bob Berberich

The following tribute on Teacher Appreciation Week to an RFH teacher who has passed, Bob Berberich, was originally published in 2015. 

They’re the teachers who taught us how to communicate effectively, appreciate the English language and even motivate certain writers (ahem) to write — English teachers.

In keeping with our Teacher Appreciation Week theme of honoring unique RFH teachers who have passed, today we look back to the lessons learned from Bob Berberich.

Continue reading Retro Appreciation for RFH English Teacher Bob Berberich

Retro RFH Gym Teacher Appreciation: Pat Robinson, a Near-Centenarian

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. And, ironically, May 4, the start of the week, marked the posthumous 100th birthday of a former longtime RFH gym teacher and field hockey coach — icon Pat Robinson, who passed away just shy of her centenarian milestone.

Continue reading Retro RFH Gym Teacher Appreciation: Pat Robinson, a Near-Centenarian

Scene Around: A Teacher, A Test & A 90th Birthday

Remember when you were a kid and you thought that your probably 40-year-old teacher was ancient? It’s a pretty common notion for young ones. Then they reach their 40s and wonder what the heck they were thinking.

Continue reading Scene Around: A Teacher, A Test & A 90th Birthday