Retro Rumson Dock Gang

The Rumson Dock gang of the late 1950s
Photo/courtesy of Alice Mansfield

You’ve seen the girl from the Rumson Dock. And, behind every good postcard-famed dock girl, there’s a gang — of dedicated dock dwellers.

That’s the way it goes in the Rumson-Fair Haven area. Down by the river they hang. And, in most every case of raised-by-the-river, there’s a “best time of my life” story attached.

Each of these kids has his or her story. Alice Mansfield, far left, told us hers. It was a story of a different, yet same, Rumson. Yes, some things never change, and the love of river time is one of those things.

These days there’s not so much dock jumping and swimming. The helicopter in most parents and lawsuit-fearing officials nowadays keeps at bay what was a daily occurrence as soon as good weather hit. The signage is there. So are clinging jellyfish, fish die-offs and a vast array of deterrents. But, back in the day there was a collective deterrent-be-damned attitude. Quality, or daredevil, river time was all that mattered.

Back in the 70s in Fair Haven, at least, the river gang mentality was still going pretty strong. It was considered a real popularity feat if you got invited to go meet the cool kids at the dock after school and … jump.

Alice Mansfield taking a dive off the Rumson Dock circa 1958 or 59
Photo/courtesy of Alice Mansfield

Oh, there are more modern hold-outs — usually children of native Rumson-Fair Haven area folks — who have been known to take a rebellious dive right by the signage and, gulping up all the zest along with danger-riddled detractors. Pollutants, river stingers and zingers aside, they’d gather to dwell in the house of the time-honored river tradition. And, like Mansfield, they’d never forget their cherished river time. Some are still hanging by the river, even with some of their original gang members, and even if the dive is a definite nix now.

In fact, there’s one forever Fair Havenite pictured hanging with this Rumson river gang. Mansfield, that girl from the Rumson Dock, pointed her out. She is none other than Linda Feeny, then Linda Zerr. It’s not difficult to pick her out. She looks now just like she did as a teen. Hmmmm … when do you think the last time was that Feeny took her own long dive off a short dock?

Now, who knows these other Rumson Dock characters? Your favorite river time antic? Fill in this sentence: When I was young, down by the river, I … (did what?)

Aaaaaand GO!

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John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management