Ken Curchin: Fair Haven’s Centenarian

Video and stories by Elaine Van Develde

Ken Curchin has been all over the world. He’s done and seen a lot. He flew a B-17 Bomber in World War II. He married his best gal and became a dad to five children. He was a barber in his family’s shop on Mechanic Street in Red Bank. He jumped off the Fair Haven Dock. All this and he says, with an eye twinkle and a his own brand of hearty hyena chuckle, that he’s “never been in the newspaper until now, sons a b******!”

Well, this is the second (or, we’re told, third) time, Mr. Curchin. Born on April 19, 1917 in the building that is now Frame It Yourself on River Road in Fair Haven, he is 100 years old today. Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect caught up with him for a second time on Easter. And what a time it was!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Curchin! Listen and learn … (Be sure to click the video to enlarge!)

Happy Holidays From R-FH Retro!

The happiest of happy holidays from Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect!

Here’s a look at how some present and former R-FH area people celebrated …

Photos/R-FH Retro Facebook friends (Thanks to our Rumson-Fair Haven area friends for sharing your moments with us!)

Slideshow/Elaine Van Develde

Focus on RFH: Stars’ Showcase Benefits Covenant House

It was a triple threat with a promise to deliver funds to a good cause. Present and future Broadway stars sang, danced and acted their hearts out on stage at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) last week to raise money for homeless youth.

Performers came from Broadway and several area high schools in a show that ended up bringing in $30,000 for Covenant House of Asbury Park.

The high school students involved came from RFH, Red Bank Regional, Shore Regional, Howell, Henry Hudson Regional, Colts Neck, Freehold Regional. And Kick Dance Studio and Lakehouse Music Pros performed as well.

Emceed by Broadway’s Brian Walters, the Broadway stars on stage were: Rob Evans, Rebecca Pitcher and Carter Calvert.

Take a look at the slideshow above for a glimpse into the evening. If you’d like to donate to Covenant House, click here for more information.

— Elaine Van Develde

Focus: Falling for the Rumson-Fair Haven Riverfront

Few words are needed, if any, when taking in the view of the river from the banks of the Navesink in Rumson and Fair Haven.

Soaked in the sun of a warm fall day, the scene just doesn’t get any more comforting. It seems to smile back and embrace. And it never gets old.

Get a glimpse. Take it in.

— Elaine Van Develde

Catching Sun & Dunes on Sea Bright Beach

They were ready.

With the uncertain path of Hurricane Joaquin looming at the end of last week, the powers that be in Sea Bright, having been through the Sandy battle, prepared.

A makeshift wall of dunes was built along the shoreline of Sea Bright Public Beach and beyond to stave off stormy ocean water. And while Joaquin veered further east and out to sea, remnants of a nor’easter pelted the sands of the Sea Bright beaches and, as is common with any significant rainfall in the area, roads flooded.

Then the sun came out. And as temperatures hit the 70s today, dunes still intact, small-scale reminiscent of Mount Sandy, local summer lingerers headed to the beach.

Here’s what the scene was there. Beaching it tomorrow while the sun is out and temperatures permit?

(Be sure to click on the lower right icon to enlarge.)

— Elaine Van Develde

Fair Haven Super Moon Gazing

It was a lot of things — the full moon on Sunday was a harvest moon, a super moon, a blood moon and, yes, it was a moon in full eclipse mode to boot.

Skies were a bit hazy, but, post-eclipse, the moon managed to peek through and cast an irdescent glow.

Fans of the movie Moonstruck might simply call it “la bella luna.” Bella. Take a look.

Don’t forget to click on the lower right icon to enlarge!

— Elaine Van Develde

Closing Time: Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair Factoids ‘Til the End

As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

That’s sort of how it goes when the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair ends after it’s traditional end-of-summer week-long stint — because it’s never really over.

The fair never really ends. And most of the people running it are still around year-round.

So are the fairgoers in the area. It’s called community. And it’s something that may culminate annually at the fair, but is a mainstay of life in the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

But there is that annual closing night. There are also some fair traditions that have not ensued over the years. Do you know what they are?

We do.

Did you know? …

• that there used to be a high wire act on closing night? It dates back to the mid- to late- 60s and early 70s. I think Batman may have actually been there, too.

• There also used to be a band playing nightly on the front balcony of the firehouse. The bands King James and His Court and Pete Galatro’s Orchestra were staples. And, in later years, there was carnival music piped onto the grounds. Notice that there is no longer any music?

• Candy apples, a longtime fair treat, are no longer made and sold at the fair.

• There used to be a booth where you could win Kewpie dolls and many of them served as toilet paper covers, with embroidered skirts to cover the roll.

• There was also a booth where television sets and other smaller appliances were prizes.

• There was no super 50/50. There was a car raffle.

• There was a carousel ride.

• The Zipper has been a fair ride since the dawn of time.

Generations of Fair Haven Fire Department people have worked the fair for decades. Tradition. Some things never change. It ain’t over.

— Elaine  Van Develde

Getting Crabby in Rumson for the PBA

“Good luck out there!” a man shouted as he waved to crabbers launching their boat into the water,  all set with a plethora of fishing-appropriate nets, cages and buckets.

Saturday evening was looking pretty mellow as a few more boats hit the waters of the river by the Rumson Municipal Boat Launch for the  PBA Crab Tournament.

The tournament was slated to last until 10 p.m. By about 6:30, about half an hour after the tournament’s official start, only a couple of boatfulls of crabbers could be spotted near the launch.

Take a look at the above slideshow for a glimpse into the evening’s event and the scene around it (Don’t forget to click on the lower right icon to enlarge!). The Rumson PBA has not yet reported who won. As soon as that information is shared, it will be added. 


A Jazzy Night on the Fair Haven Dock


It was a night of music, mingling and moseying down by the river.

The final Concert at the Fair Haven Dock in the summer season was Saturday — right in the middle of a summer heatwave and in time for another iconic sunset on the Navesink River.

Jazz group Lakewood Keys Jazz Band played and locals and fans from nearby towns of the band flocked to the dock.

A jazzy night was had by all.

Take a look at the slideshow above for a glimpse into the evening. Be sure to click the lower right icon on the slideshow to enlarge! Enjoy!

Remembering Grand Daddies of the R-FH Area

Sunday was Father’s Day.

And, we at Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect are of the mind that the day was really about much more than flipping a burger and patting a good ol’ dad on the back.

It’s bigger than that. It goes way beyond your own dad’s back yard and a grilling or two.

Growing up in a small-town niche like the Rumson-Fair Haven area carries with it that family tie feeling. Some of us were fortunate enough to have great dads. Some not.

But, what we all somehow did and still do have is a strong kinship to the dads of our towns. Even if we just recall a look, a bellowing chide or a chuckle over some stupid kid thing we did, we remember the dads with whom we grew up.

So many of these men were volunteers we saw all over town, characters whose nuances or sayings we remember, or that one poor patient guy who ended up being the poor soul to pick us up when we were stupid enough to get caught hurling eggs and toilet paper on Mischief Night — or something equally as stupid.

Yes, we do and should memorialize our own dads. Believe me, I, for one, am still looking for that money tree my dad told me was in the back yard and that gal named Dumb Dori whom he said I emulated when lacking “street smarts” to a ridiculous degree.

Yet, I also vividly remember the calm, “I’m going to kill those idiots” smile on my friend Stephanie’s dad when he picked us up at the police station after following through on a really dumb dare. Then there was the “To tell you the truth, my friend, I don’t know” quote that consistently came out of Daryl’s dad’s mouth as he shook his head in wonderment over our mangled teen logic.

There were those dads for all of us — each leaving his own patriarchal imprint in our juvenile minds. For them we are grateful — for raising us here, for coming together to protect and nurture us and for offering a communal scolding or 100, for loving all their village’s children.

They were part of this community’s foundation — everyone’s founding fathers.

Our Retro Pic (or video) of the Day honors the area’s dads for those reasons and so many more. We don’t have nearly enough photos to encapsulate all the love and all of the dads, but this is a sufficient sampling to get the message across. 

— Photos/courtesy of Rumson, Fair Haven family members via Facebook

Focus on Fair Haven Day 2015

The sun was shining on Fair Haven Day 2015 and fun abounded.

Longtime friends caught up with one another, music played, people ate, drank and were quite merry.

Take a look at the slideshow above for a glimpse into the day.


Thanks to Tom Bull, David Becker and Cathy Mazza Truesdell for the extra help with our camera emergency! The photo of Mayor Ben Lucarelli, DJ Breckenridge and Susan Sorensen is courtesy of David Becker. 

A Rumson Memorial Day

It was a day of remembrance, honor and celebration — Memorial Day 2015 in Rumson.

The day began with a parade which ended in Victory Park. There, vets, friends, family and locals gathered to pay homage to those who died in service to their country.

Take a look at the above slideshow for a glimpse into the day. Don’t forget to click the bottom right icon to enlarge. Enjoy!