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?
An obituary isn’t long enough to relay all of the cool things a person got to accomplish in their lifetime. My mom got to travel all over the world … Had homes in California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Dragged her four girls all over the country and Canada (sometimes kicking and screaming, because we didn’t know we were gonna do and see something cool). One time she asked us if we wanted to go see Chicago? We started moaning, so she went by herself. Turns out that she meant THE BAND CHICAGO! Which I loved … I had to listen from out side the stadium … but I learned to pay attention when plans where being made … Rest in Peace Mom!
Longtime Fair Haven and Sea Bright resident Maryana Sheahan Robertson passed away on June 11 after a long illness. She was 80.
Known as a spirited adventurer and traveler with a passion for cultural immersion, Maryana was born in Cambridge MA. She graduated from Hopkinton High School there, where she played on the girls basketball team and was in glee club, in 1956. She then met her late husband James Robertson and they moved to Fair Haven and raised four daughters there. The Robertson couple lived in Fair Haven until 2000. Maryana then lived in Sea Bright until 2019.
To the Stokes trip students of the 1970s era, the Robertson parents may be remembered as the birding couple, leading kids through the woods with binoculars and teaching them about various species, their sounds and distinguishing characteristics.
At home, James was president of the Mommouth Wine Society and for years the two hosted wine tastings at their Fair Haven home. “They loved being close enough to NYC to go into the city every chance they could for dinner and a play or musical,” daughter Suzanne Robertson Tranfaglia said.
Maryana had a nursing degree from Brookdale Community College. In addition to her zest for adventure, travel and cultural immersion, she was known as a passionate animal lover who rescued many cats, dogs and even a duck. She loved spending home and travel time with family.
Predeceased by her husband, Maryana is survived by: her brother Paul Sheahan and wife Lydia, of Brooksville FL; her daughters and their spouses, Suzanne and George Tranfaglia, of Orlando, FL, Kathleen and Mike Grady, of Long Branch, Sheila and Joseph Eskridge, of Sea Bright, and Bonnie and John Travers, of PA.; and her grandchildren, Maria Tranfaglia, Ryan Eskridge, and Patrick and Christopher Travers.
Well, it’s still Stokes week for Fair Haven sixth graders and the longtime tradition is rife with tales of the trip.
This featured snapshot back into the woods in the early 1970s at Stokes focuses on a few RFH counselor guys (and a sixth grader) seem to have happened upon some sort of sight or adventure. Lost boys? Perhaps.
This little crew grew up together. And years later they ended up reliving a sixth grade tradition as adults.
They are Jenny Costello (Jones), Dwayne Reevey, now a Fair Haven police officer, and Andy Dougherty. The three lived on Parker Avenue in Fair Haven across and down the street from one another.
Their parents were all friends and they all had the Stokes experience as Fair Haven schools students. This time around, they were counselors, with Andy Dougherty pretty much running the show from the schools’ end.
Much has changed about the annual trip right after Memorial Day to learn and camp out in the state forrest, but some things never do change — like childhood friendships and memories that connect for a lifetime.
So, our Retro Pic of the Day captures just that. Call it a little time capsule.
Get in for a little trip back …
This editor not only took the trip, way back in the early 1970s, but was also CAT at Stokes. I forget what the anagram stood for, but CATs were RFH seniors who were chosen to take the trip as sort-of junior counselors.
The RFH administrators chose leaders, who had to have above a certain GPA and a expertise or talent in a specific area.
I, along with my acting compadre, Kevin Carpenter, were sent to entertain the kids. We had to spearhead the dancing (poor kids) — and, yes, there was square dancing (yikes) — sing songs around the campfire, like Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley (so uplifting) and tell stories about the Jersey Devil and scare the bejesus out of the kids.
We were a pretty well-behaved lot of semi-nerds, but we did like to have some fun that I’m confident would have gotten us banned nowadays — like raising one poor girl’s bra up on the flagpole for the morning wake-up bugle call and capsizing one another’s canoes.
Oh, there were more pranks, but the mention of them may tarnish some respectable RFH parents’ reputations, so I digress.
Did you go to Stokes? What was your favorite memory?