Tonight would have been the night.
It would have, decades ago, been the night of a longstanding Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) tradition — the pre-Thanksgiving Day football game homecoming dance.
And, on the day of the 61-year traditional rivalry game between RFH and RBC (Red Bank Catholic High School), there was the crowning of the senior homecoming queen and the full court of contenders. It was all done on the football field.
The Borden Stadium and surrounding grounds were filled with RFH alumni who had come home from college for the fall reunion, some for the first time, many bleary-eyed from the dance and festivities of the night before. Don’t forget, the drinking age back in the 70s was 18. Yup.
Liking football was definitely not a prerequisite for this gala RFH fest of tradition and reunion. Cheer, however, was, as was many a “Cheers!” And there was plenty of both — from the hanging in stands to on the fence and the ceremonious playing field.
The classic homecoming rival RFH vs. RBC game ended after its swan song in 2013 for a variety of reasons — inclement weather, the make-up of the RBC team being far fewer locals, taking the neighborly kind of family football feud away. Besides that, RFH hadn’t won the game against RBC since 2002. Coaching had also changed and RFH was hungry for a championship more than gobbling up a turkey day game tradition.
The kings and queens of the court on that football field? Well, they stuck around, in a different variety of the same venue and on a different homecoming day — in October with a pre-game carnival, no dance.
Then the homecoming court disappeared due to alleged bullying.
But those Thanksgiving Day Day games and courts of RFH royalty are still emblazoned in the minds of many an RFH alum. Yes, there was a vote, but not many really remember voting. And, no it wasn’t a joke or some bullying tactic. Those on the field donning their imaginary and real crowns and scepters (more like flowers) and cloaked in preppy traditional garb were deemed the most popular and spirited, not to mention pretty and handsome. Cool was the operative homecoming court word back in the day.
So, on the eve of what would have been that homecoming dance that made everyone bleary-eyed for that early game on turkey day and all of its interruptions of family prep and welcoming back of college kids, we take a look back.
Some of these queens and escorts, or kings, if you will, date back to the early 70s. And one page from the homecoming part of the yearbook comes from the 2000s.
Some of these RFHers are still friends. And at least one couple from a 70s court ended up marrying and is still together. Know which couple that is?
After that homecoming dance, sometimes tradition was for RFH alum to wreak a little harmless havoc on Sea Bright. Who knows where they went most of the time? Where was the dance? Your greatest Thanksgiving homecoming misadventure?
- A Retro Happy Thanksgiving from the Kids’ Table
- Retro RFH Homecoming Dancing & Courting
- Scene Around: After the ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Curtain Call
- In Memoriam: Longtime Little Silver Resident, Joanne Chachko, 89
- In Memoriam: Fair Havenite Patrick McDermott, 87