Category Archives: Opinion

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

A Mother’s Day Salute to R-FH Area Moms Through the Generations

Reprise! We said it last year, and we’re saying it again this year …

Happy Mother’s Day to Rumson-Fair Haven area moms of the past and present!

You put the coffee on. You called for us when dinner was ready. You held on tight when we needed a hug. You wiped our dirty little faces, sopped up tears and runny noses. You were there, front and center, at many a school open house, game, play, concert and, yes, principal’s office visit.

You welcomed the neighborhood kids as if they were your own. You wrote all those notes to get us out of gym class (because some of us were clods). You shook your heads in disbelief over our antics and yelled our full names like a loving banshee when you were mad. You had our backs. You were just plain there — the unshifting foundation of a community through the years, building a legacy.

Thank you. We remember those who are gone and salute those who carry on …

— Elaine Van Develde

Photos/courtesy of Facebook friends

Old News: Being the Easter Bunny

Ahhhhh, the Easter Bunny … the tradition, the joy, the mystery, and, yes, the horror.

There’s a lot more to the symbolically giant fluffy rodent with cartoon eyes in a fixed freaky stare and a head the size of one of the small children he visits on Easter. For instance, his head pops off. It’s also a sweaty death trap. Those are facts, people. I know. I was the Easter Bunny quite a few times.

Continue reading Old News: Being the Easter Bunny

Retro RFH Batty Gym Suit Home Run

A reprise in honor of the girls, baseball season and not having to wear these horrific mandatory gym suits anymore! Strike! The suits are out! Phew! Remember the fun and the horror with us … (Be sure to CLICK on one photo to enlarge and scroll to fully experience the horror. Ha!)

It’s just plain batty! Batter’s up at RFH as baseball season is in full swing. But, looking back at some RFH 1970s games, you have to wonder when or why, exactly, there was ever a season of the ol’ gym suit, baseball or softball aside.

Really. Ponder it. Those things that made girls look like Stay Puff marshmallows, or, worse, a big baby with a onesie that had enough space for a diaper or, well … you get the picture.

Continue reading Retro RFH Batty Gym Suit Home Run

The Neighborhood: Steeping in Love of Home to Honor Jane Croft

Here stays the neighborhood. Yes. For the love of home, we’re always steeping in it.

Even though another forever Fair Haven neighbor is now gone, the neighborhood stays, as always — right in that hometown heart. The one that swells with a different kind of pride and comfort that some unlucky souls will never understand.

That neighbor, the latest who has left the block, is Jane Croft. Born in Fair Haven, she lived her entire life there, always with that easy-going smile and soothing, welcoming cadence in her voice.

Continue reading The Neighborhood: Steeping in Love of Home to Honor Jane Croft

Staying Home with My ‘Fair’ Lady on Her Birthday

Our now annual reprise honoring the inspiration for R-FH Retro — my mom, Sally Van Develde — on what would have been her 99th birthday. A birthday wish … Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mom. You remain in the hearts of so many … Besides, I won’t let them forget.

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?” ~ Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

For the love of home and a Fair Haven mom … that’s right.

Sometimes a birthday without her is about lighting the candles, making the wish, sustaining the simple legacy of going home, staying home with my mom, Sally Van Develde.

Today would have been her 99th birthday. If she had lived to blow out all those candles on her cake, I wondered what she would have done. What her wish would have been.

Continue reading Staying Home with My ‘Fair’ Lady on Her Birthday

Focus: Black & White Navesink River Tidings

It’s black-and-white simple, stark. The crackly, cool-hued solace offered by the winter’s Fair Haven Navesink River view is a prelude to all that’s warm. It’s a constant. A reminder that all that’s good is pretty simple.

The tide still rolls in gently over the patches of snowy, broken ice. All is a still, simple move forward, yet keeping all that’s good in its niche. The river is always there. A home anchor. Its shore a welcome mat. The tide gently wipes out all that’s broken, a little bit at a time. All that soothes melds together, soaking up the same goodness in one sliver of Earth. The tide that always comes in saturates the shore and hometown heart with searing sunshine for the soul.

Nothing really changes when it comes to the river view or its wealth of healing power. And all you have to do is take a minute to take it in … rolling ever so gently with its inspiring tide.

Say “Ahhhh” and take in the scenes … (CLICK on one photo to enlarge and scroll. Enjoy! And can you find those ducks?)

Here’s what’s headed this way weatherwise, courtesy of the National Weather Service …

Focus: Fair Haven Dock Winter Blues & Sunshine Hues

If the winter blues have set in after a day or two worth of spring(ish) respite, a little Fair Haven Dock time is a reminder that the blue hued winter sky and crackled icy shore is always a prelude to sunshine.

If not in the sky, in the heart. Through every crack in the icy snow coat on the beach under the dock, sun is seeping in for a peek into the happy place. The melt? Well, we know the cold sting in the air doesn’t stop the softening of the hometown heart with a glimpse back to dock days.

Of course, some of those dock days of the past involved a little mischief and jumping, which we are always asked to remind is prohibited. All the more the melt. But the daydream of one of your miscreant friends taking a plunge into that icy Navesink River water on a dare does crack a grin on the face.

How about the jaunt to a sliver of beach under the dock with a frozen cheesecake and a bottle of Boone’s Farm? Hmmmm … If that kind of memory doesn’t take away the winter blues … Focus back. What scene do you see?

Say “Ahhhhhh” to the serene river scene of blue and daydream the sun and smiling crazy times back. After all, the weather forecast is promising a peek through the icy cracks into spring again …

**Don’t forget to CLICK on one photo to enlarge and scroll! Enjoy!**

— Photos/Elaine Van Develde for R-FH Retro only

Catching Fair Haven Rays: Remembering, Emulating Ray Taylor

Ray Taylor weeps for those lost at a Memorial Day ceremony in Fair Haven
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

“Cornerstone: A stone which lies at the corner of two walls and unites them” (often the starting point of a building), hence, figuratively, “that on which anything is founded.” 

Fair Haven’s cornerstone has been yanked from it rightful place. Its walls full of solid hometown brick and mortar are now wobbly — crumbling with sorrow. One of the last of the borough’s icons has taken his final trek down Fair Haven’s River Road.

Continue reading Catching Fair Haven Rays: Remembering, Emulating Ray Taylor

Scene Around: Townie Walk with Ray Taylor

The following story was originally posted on Sept. 10, 2021 … after a chat with Mr. Ray Taylor on is way to the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair. With the very sad news today of Mr. Taylor’s passing, we are reprising it in his honor. As all in the area grapple with the death of this cornerstone of the borough and we struggle to pay the best of tributes to him in a story, this serves as a simple, happy reminder of what really matters. Rest In Peace, Mr. Taylor, the best of best friends to Fair Haven. We will always remember. Read on. Remember. Smile …

“I got to keep movin’!”

That’s the first thing that came out of 98-year-old Ray Taylor’s mouth when R-FH Retro ran into him doing his usual walking and savoring the smallest of moments in his Fair Haven hometown.

Continue reading Scene Around: Townie Walk with Ray Taylor