Retro Fair Haven Snow Daze

Third Street snow days in Fair Haven … Photo/Kathy Robbins

Since the weather forecast is still calling for snow, here’s a retro reprise as a reminder that snow fun is a simple way to cure what ails your COVID-weary soul. And, in the days before the internet and cell phones, finding out about a snow day was half the fun of the day, albeit a bit daunting … Honk blast aaaaaand sleigh … Who remembers the fire horn signal? What was it?

Call it a blizzard of snow day signals. In Fair Haven back in the 1960s (through the 80s), it was common practice for kids to rear their sleepy little heads and crack a smile when they heard the fire horn’s coded blast. In a Morse code kinda way it would “buuuuuraaaamp” that there would be no school due to snow.

Or, rather, they’d stay up all night long, noses pressed up against the frosty window. Then they’d fall asleep, nose to the window, and be awoken by the fire horn blast. Oh, and it was a jolting, happy blast.

Once it was heard, it didn’t take much longer for kids to suit up and get outside … in the street. Yes, in the street. And if parents didn’t feel like driving to Tower Hill or Holmdel Park, the place to go was, well, anywhere where there was a hill. Third Street was the in-town spot of the era. Police would come to barricade the street, and not for school traffic, and then word was out from the neighborhood kids on …

The hills at Sportsman’s Field worked pretty well, too. But, the Retro Pic of the Day, courtesy of forever Fair Havenite Kathy Robbins, is the perfect 1960s Third Street snow day snapshot.

“Everyone would be out on the hill all day and night,” Robbins said. But these neighborhood kids were the first on this day.

This group includes a Robbins girl and who else?

Can you remember what the fire horn code was for the snow day signal? How about the one for safe ice for ice skating? Back in the day getting the word out was all about rotary phone calls and that fire horn. Does anyone have a list of those fire horn signals and what each represented?

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management