Tag Archives: back to school

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 RFH Teacher & Administrator Coolness

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

An R-FH Retro reprise …

Well, all are back to school at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH), too. Back to school experiences on the brain, we look back to the new experience of high school for freshmen.

With back-to-school thoughts and new beginnings come hopes of a good teacher or two and memories of the ones who we thought were the coolest and, yes, the worst and scariest to a newbie RFHer. There were also those administrators who weren’t just a Charlie Brown teacher voice cawing rules over the ol’ daydreaming student’s non-thought process. Some, or a couple in particular, are remembered as a real education innovators.

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Retro Fair Haven Kindergarten Daze

A Knollwood School kindergarten class of 1956 or ’57
Photo/courtesy of George Martin

Well, school is back in session. Students are settling into the classroom routine. And for some, it’s a new experience. We’re talking kindergarten kids.

While many, or most, in this era have already been to some sort of pre-kindergarten class, that was not the case years ago. In fact, the first day of school really was a first day in a school for kindergarteners. And it could be traumatic for both parents and students.

Yes, it was only half a day of school, but it was all new: the drop-off (or rope walk), the first-day outfit and haircut, the new friends from the other side of town, the teachers, the classroom. All of it.

Then there was the school itself. There was a time when there were three school buildings in Fair Haven.

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Retro Rumson Schools’ Tandy Techies

The Tandy and gifted and talented Rumson students
Photo/Red Bank Register archives

A reprise of a 2015 back-to-school Retro Pic of the Day …

Apparently, it was considered a gifted and talented trait in the early 1980s to be well-versed in the operation of a Tandy computer — or whatever you want to call it.

This Red Bank Register photo went unpublished in March of 1982.

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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 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. 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.

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Retro Back to School of 50 Years Ago

Students were back to school in the Rumson-Fair Haven area this week. Those classic first day of school shots were plastered all over Facebook.

And 50 years ago, or 51, to be exact, in September of 1966, while 91,000 students and 4,700 teachers headed back to public school classrooms in Monmouth County (13,014 to parochial), according to a Red Bank Register story of Sept. 6, 1966, the anticipation of the photo taken with that Brownie camera mounted as that picture of the day developed — taking weeks at times.

And those photos were classics … Mom-styled hair gone awry, buck-toothed and missing tooth grins, shiny Mary Jane shoes, Buster Brown penny loafers and, well, cheesy fashion in which to pose and say, “Cheese!”

At Knollwood School in 1966, half a century ago, there was a first-grade class, headed by Mrs. Ginny Kamin (deceased Red Bank Register editor Art Kamin’s wife) and filled with some area kids who ended up becoming entrenched in the community. One of those kids was me.

Some are no longer with us. Others have moved away, but keep in touch. Others, still, have stuck around and raised their children here, too. One common thread is that none of them have forgotten their hometown and likely that walk to the first day of school so many decades ago.

For me, the memory of the badly side-combed bangs kinda sticks like the Dippity-doo that was in them. Sorry, Mom. So do those little faces that seemed to loom like the Man in the Moon back in that slightly nerve-wracked elementary school daze.  And it seems like yesterday. Yes, that’s scary. It’s especially scary since it wasn’t, in fact, yesterday.

Back in those days, we walked to school with a buddy. For me, those buddies were my best friend and neighbor Pam Young and Jeff Lang. Pam and I met up with Jeff at the corner and the three of us walked the rest of the way together. Yes, Jeff occasionally would carry my books. I remember that vividly. He is gone now, but that memory is a vivid and enduring one. So is the memory of Mrs. Lang waving to us from the front porch and reminding him to do just that.

The first day of school photos were taken on the front porch, in the front yard or on the sidewalk before the first stroll back then. There was that wait for the film development. Remember that? Then there was the wait for the annual class photo, like the one above, when the picture people grabbed a comb from a tub and gave all the kids a really bad comb through before that elementary school grimace moment. Not a good hair day for most of us little kids subject to Mom’s fashion whims.

It’s all a walk down a Fair Haven memory lane with a stumble or two for good measure.

What’s your first day memory? Stumble? Who did you walk with?

— Elaine Van Develde