It was the very first day of school — for kindergarteners. It was also a finale year. That class was the last of all that walked on a rope to the Youth Center (now Fair Haven Community Center downstairs and the police station upstairs).
While classmates were remembered, the identity of the official lady tugging that rope was not.
So, as an ode to that woman, who was eventually remembered as Mary McDaniel, the Retro Pic of the Day is another look, from the archives of the Red Bank Register, of that kindergarten class walk, headed by Mc Daniel.
A back-to-school reprise dedicated to my first friend, Pam (second from right), who passed away in July of 2020, and everyone’s first friend on that first day …
Knock-kneed, nervous and all dressed up with somewhere to go, this gaggle Fair Haven neighborhood girls of 1965 lined up so their moms could get that classic first-day-of-kindergarten shot. And there wasn’t a smile among them.
A reprise, originally posted in 2017, in honor of back-to-school time …
Back-to-school time has arrived.
And with back-to-school thoughts come hopes of a good teacher or two and memories of the ones who we thought were the coolest. Then there were those administrators who weren’t just a Charlie Brown teacher voice cawing over the ol’ daydreaming student’s non-thought process. Some, or one in particular, are remembered as a real education innovators.
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 freshly-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.
The following piece, with a few changes as time goes on, is published annually on 9/11 as a testament to never forgetting …
It was a beautiful Tuesday. The sun was shining. The air was crisp. The coffee even tasted especially good.
I remember. Most of us remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m.. I know I do. I also remember how everything went from bright, crisp, fragrant and optimistic to dark, dank, acrid and fearful in one second. I remember how it wasn’t about us observers, storytellers. It was about them — the victims, their loved ones, their message.
For me, a professional observer, a professional storyteller, thankfully close enough, yet far enough, yes, it was so very much about them — painfully so. I wasn’t one of them. I was lucky. I was grateful. I watched. I listened intently. They shared.
I was a reporter living in Fair Haven and covering Middletown. On what started out as a typical day, they ended up unwittingly, graciously, lighting a less traveled path for me. For many.
This Retro Pic(s) of the Day story was originally published on Aug. 25, 2015. It is being run again in honor of the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, which returns this year after COVID. This is how they did it and continue to do it at the fair …
When it came to cotton candy — that fluffy spun light blue and pink sugar on a cone that melts in your mouth, on your mouth and many times on your hands, too — Millie Felsmann was the pro at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair.
Don’t get us wrong, here. We know that Millie also commandeered the candy apple making. Yes, Candy Bennett was there, too — for many hours a day, making and selling those candy apples, apropos name and all.
Well, she was — she was Candy, the candy apple lady. Yes, Candy had a lot do do with those candy apples — but Millie was the boss. She, along with her troupe of kids and Candy, Betty Acker and Mrs. Frank, started work on those apples as early as 6 a.m.. And, even further back, to 1965 or 66, Mrs. Topfer made those apples, too.
The Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair is making a much-awaited return this year. With the fair, of course, comes goodies. Confections. Fair food. Most of those goodies will return with the fair. One that won’t is the seafood along with the front dining room. The burgers, hot dogs, fries, ice cream and cotton candy in the Out Back (out in back on the grounds) will return. But one favorite that hasn’t made a comeback and won’t still — the candy apple. So, we look back and reminisce about a fair treat and tradition gone with this reprise …
Who better to one of those at the helm the candy apple operation at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair than a woman named Candy — Candy Bennett?
The Retro Pic of the Day offers a glimpse back to fair days in 1979 with yet another fair family affair at another booth — the candy apple booth (or corner of the Out Back, or what used to be called the hot dog booth).