A reprise from 2017 in celebration of that ever so classic school picture day. This one takes us back to a Fair Haven kindergarten class of 1955 at Knollwood School. At one time or another, three different schools housed kindergarten classes in Fair Haven. The pictures? Well, there was always that group shot, no matter where, that captured some priceless looks, fashion and hairdos.
School bells are ringing. Class is in session. Back-to-school mode is still kicking in. Back-to-school nights have welcomed parents back to the school halls. And, for some, it’s about taking a walk back to their own school days in the same place — like Knollwood School.
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 reprise Retro Pic(s) of the Day from the Knollwood School Class of ’74to the Class of 2020 …
There’s nothing quite like a final class trip — with class clowns, friends, foes and teachers. Yes, teachers. It was a tradition for Fair Haven schools back in the 1970s. And we’re not talking Stokes.
Of course, that wouldn’t be the last for Knollwood schoolers. We’re talking a final group trip. The last leisurely day trip disguised as a class trip. They had those back then.
This particular trip was taken in 1974 to a dude ranch somewhere with Fair Haven’s Knollwood School soon-to-be grads and teachers. Where? None of the old folks in the pictures can remember. Hey, some of us don’t even remember the trip. We know there were horses, perhaps some riding and some swimming. And, apparently, there was lots of lounging and sunning. Hmmmmm …
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.
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.
Today would have been the day that the happy little campers came home from their post-Memorial Day week of adventure with classmates, teachers and parents.
So, we take a look back at some Stokes moments of bunking, hiking, pranking, do-se-doing your partner and all-around exploring back in the 70s, from youngsters to those high school counselors. Remember those?
There were RFH seniors chosen to be counselors, dubbed CATS. Each couple of CATs was assigned to teach/counsel sixth graders in their area of expertise. There were bug experts, hiking troopers, rowing aficionados, swimmers, and story tellers, dancers, singers and guitar players.
There was a square dancing night. And there was plenty of practice that ensued before it. What square dancing song stands out in your memory? And how about those campfire nights? Song always sung? How about the traditional story told? Who got lost in the woods with the compass/pathfinders class? Who was a CAT?
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.
School bells are ringing. Class is in session. Or half session, if it’s kindergarten. Things in that department are the same as they ever were for at least more than half a century. That’s more than a little snapshot in time.
Once upon a time, in those school days right before summer, when Knollwood School kids gathered on Sportsman’s Field for, well, some Field Day fun, let’s just say it was a bit hard to keep them focused.