Thursday, January 29, 2009
To this day, the July 4th parade in Ridgewood is long and memorable! It was always quite an event! I remember my sister Ginny driving by in a convertible in the parade in the early 60's! Kids even used to sit atop the marquee of the Stanley-Warner Theater to watch it go by!
Valley Hospital as it looked in the early 1960's!
Remember Arthur's House of Beauty? Not many people would remember the name but they all remember it as the most decorated place in town at Christmastime! It was located at the corner of Franklin and Cottage Place. The structure was torn down to make way for a bank. Perdue's Sport Shop was right near here.
The Stanley-Warner Theater! This was a great place to watch movies as a kid! The balcony was huge and you always caught up with friends there!
The Duck Pond - a place to feed the ducks, fish, have a picnic and then go across the street for ice cream at T&W's!
An aerial view showing what would become George Washington Junior High School - now a middle school.
Here's a great shot of Graydon Pool and Vets Fields from the air circa 1960.
Ridgewood Avenue looking toward the tracks on a snowy day circa 1950's.
The famous Christmas tree at the end of Ridgewood Avenue and Broad Street albeit a little smaller. Circa 1960.
Above is the classic Ridgewood school supply store - "Drapkin's". Located at the end of Ridgewood Ave before the tracks it seemed to have just about everything! Got my baseball cards there and at Lyon's at the other end. Also struggled to get my first Playboy there - you know, stick it between a newspaper so no one would see and the guy at the counter knowing my embarrassment and leaving it between the papers! Drapkin's suffered through 2 major fires but always bounced back.
Here's a view of circa 1964 Ridgewood looking up Ridgewood Ave.
Above is the "Shell" as it is known. Ground was broken in 1957 and the picture above is from the day it was dedicated in 1958. My folks used to watch concerts there - I remember going when I was real little. It's still there today and is located at the far end of Vets Field by the library parking lot.
Always check back as we will always add new photos as we get them!
My sincere thanks to Peggy Norris of the Ridgewood Public Library for many of these photos!
Not only was he involved in our RHS sports but heavily involved in the Ridgewood Baseball Association and he ran Graydon Pool as well! Richard Flechtner and Charlie Bookstaver were very good friends.
In my search for Charlie Bookstaver - Glen's beloved gym teacher - I found Kurt and he put me on the track that led me to Charlie and his wife. In researching photos for the Glen site, I came across a picture of a Glen School secretary from the 1970's - "Mrs. Flechtner" - lo and behold this was Kurt's mom!
As Kurt and his brother Jim got older Barbara Flechtner decided it was time to get back in the school system in some way so she joined the staff at Glen School about 1974.
Because the school nurse by that time was only part-time (split between other schools) Mrs. Flechtner always had a stash of her sons toys such as Etch-A-Sketch for them to play with while they waited to get picked up or just needed some rest. She would lay them on the "Magic Couch" - the huge slippery green couches we all remember - get a little rest and half the time the child would return happily back to class!
Mrs. Flechtner would ultimately move over to RHS where she became her husband's secretary. Kurt recalls what a pleasure it was for them both to work together.
Both Richard & Barbara Flechtner were graduates of Ridgewood High School - Richard was Class of 1947 and Barbara Huettig was Class of 1948.
Barbara took the summers off while Richard ran Graydon Pool - they would always vacation at their cottage in Cape Hatteras in August.
In February 2006, Barbara Flechtner passed away. Mr. Flechtner passed away several years earlier. In her later years, Barbara became a renown quilter - in fact at her funeral, the church was decked out with all the quilts she had made - there were tons of them! Even the priest who presided asked how many of those present had received a quilt made by Barbara Flechtner - 75% of the people raised their hands!
Kurt Flechtner now lives in Norfolk VA. He recalls life in Ridgewood as very special and cherishes his memories as a Graydon Pool life guard.
I am grateful to Kurt for giving me the opportunity to talk to him about his mom.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Who can forget how eager we were to become members of the "Safety Patrol" in 6th grade! I thought it was so cool to get my white belt and yellow crossing flag. There were a number of us that participated in the program. We probably alternated our assigned locations cause I think we only had 3 crossings. Bruce Meneghin and I had E Glen Ave & Auburn. Katie Knight & Beth Daly were also Safety Patrol members who took it very seriously! Who else? I know there were lots of us.
This photo appeared in The Ridgewood News in the 1960's. Here is the original caption:
"Members of the Glen School Safety Patrol get briefing from patrolman Frank Milliken who supervises Ridgewood's School Police Force. Looking on are Pete Gauharou faculty advisor (left) and Arthur Linden Jr. The safety patrol group left to right standing includes Jim Buckley, Charlotte Flynn, Patricia Trumbull & Suzy Terhune. Kneeling from left are John Teasley and Randy Duvall." We used the same flags as these guys! There must be 25 ways to spell poor Pete's name!
Above is Safety Patrol Captain John Brevoort (Glen Class of 1969). John had the luxury of riding around on his bike checking on his patrol "staff" to ensure they were doing their jobs and then at the end of the shift releasing them to class! This same year John organized his first boy/girl party in his basement! Thanks John for this great picture!
Above is my original Safety Patrol certificate signed by Mr Linden! Exciting stuff when you're a kid! Amzingly my mom saved it - my mom should have been an archivist!
Bruce Meneghin recalls that on his way "to duty" one day, his crossing flag got caught in the spokes of his bike and you guessed it - he went right over the handle-bars - his biggest concern afterwards - the hole in his brand new chinos!
For Cynthia Wagner she remembers the beat at the flagpole with Julie Zima and singing their hearts out "...Bill! I love you so, I always will!.....". Diana Wagner had my old beat - E Glen Avenue.
It gave us a little independence and of course responsibility - oh and you could be late for school too!
The School Safety Patrol program was organized by the Automobile Association of America in 1920. The program was funded by the AAA in local school districts. It was designed to help insure the safety of children walking to and from school each day. Each intersection was manned by a boy or girl from 6th grade. We wore a belt-like strap across our chest and waist and were given a crossing flag. If I remember right there were even ranks like Lieutenant & Captain! On the last day of school we were awarded pins and certificates for our "bravery"!
Amazingly, the Safety Patrol still recruits children as crossing guards all around the country. As of 1995, AAA clubs across the country and Canada sponsored 500,000 Safety Patrol members in 50,000 schools! In fact, in 1994 7 members of the Safety Patrol were honored for their heroics in saving children! In 2009, the Safety Patrol celebrates its 89th year in service!
Former Safety Patrol members include: former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Seantor John Warner, former Michigan Governor Bill Milliken, Lee Iacocca, Chief Justice Warren Burger and over 20 astronauts!
Friday, January 23, 2009
This was the year that we had our official class photo taken outside in the courtyard and we received the above collage of our classmate's personal school photos.
Top Row l to r: Karen Eide, Gary Vukov, Greg Rehe, Pat Prescott, Betsy Kline, Alex Kramer, Ann Rimmer.
2nd Row l to r: Cara Worthington, Wayne Bond, Katie Knight, Frank Fortino.
3rd Row l to r: John Petrik, Beth Daly, Martin Vaz, Lisa Faeth, Jim Smethurst, Jennifer Rudy, Bruce Meneghin.
4th Row l to r: Sue Nunno, Ken Merrill, Kara DeGraw, Tommy Skinner, Lynn Malley, Corey Duvall, Linda Breitkruz.
5th Row l to r: Barbara Durheimer, Ricky Flannery, Irene Williams, Chic Voorhis, Robbie Whittemore, Beth Perdue.
When I think back to talking with my mom in later years about HER school years, she never knew what became of most of her classmates - tracking someone down was a daunting task - no internet to help facilitate such a thing. It was 42 years ago that we graduated from Glen (as of when this was written) - scary thought when you look at it that way - but how great it is to be back in touch with people that meant so much.
As far as the guys at school were concerned, I was always impressed with people like Bruce Meneghin and Gary Vukov. I mention these 2 guys because Bruce and I were friends through high school but best friends during Glen School. Gary and I were friends more when I was younger but I always admired him - particularly with all he's achieved. All of our Glen alumni Cara Worthington, Beth Daly, Beth Perdue, Katie Knight, Karen Eide, Kara DeGraw, Art Brierley, Chic, Bruce, Gary, Jill Neandross, Greg Rehe, Sue Nunno, Melanie Teasley, Linda Pursiano (many others!) were a blast to grow up with!
I'm sure its true everywhere, but I know in Ridgewood NJ - where I grew up - we had about 10 or so elementary schools that rolled into Ridgewood High School. When you got to RHS, you knew many of the other kids from sports and scouts and Graydon Pool and church so you weren't completely overwhelmed by it all (there were 658 of us in my high school graduating class!) but you had this silent bond with the kids you went to grammar school with - even if you never saw them or hung out together anymore - kinda strange but very real! Conversing on the internet with people like Ann Rimmer - its just the greatest thing! I mean for some of us, we were together for 13 years! I remember when I started smoking in high school (believe it or not they allowed us to - how times change!) I remember one time in a 3rd floor boys room having a cigarette and Bruce Meneghin walked in on me - I felt embarrassed (and I never felt embarrassed about anything by then!) - you definitely looked at your Glen School classmates differently - with more respect despite not really seeing them much during high school.
Our Glen School Class of 1967 - about 40 kids give or take (always 2 classes) - was filled with some incredibly intelligent and talented kids but we were all pretty grounded and loved the same things which made life at Glen School a lot of fun! As was the culture, our dads worked (an amazing assortment of jobs) and our moms were at home. We walked home for lunch and back to school. Only about 4 of us took the school bus. For the most part we all recall the same things - kickball at recess, dodge ball (it was called bombardment then), field trips, 6th grade camp - for most it was a very enjoyable experience.
Incredibly - during the 1960's our innocence remained intact. My class was 1960-1967 - K-6. We began kindergarten doing the twist and woke up from the Eisenhower administration of the 50's with an exciting new president in John F. Kennedy and kicked off the Mercury Space Program in the spring of 1961 that saw Alan Shepard shot into space for 15 minutes as the very first US astronaut.
We lived through the height of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Berlin Crisis with air raid drills in the auditorium and real fears of a nuclear attack prompting many of our families to store canned foods just in case. We even had Nike Missile bases practically in our backyards (Franklin Lakes, NJ and Orange, NY)! The remnants of which remain to this day as ghostly reminders to the Cold War.
In 1963, we lived through the deep sadness brought by the death of JFK and the joy of The Beatles 2.5 months later in February, 1964.
A new kind of war in a place called Vietnam began to escalate - for us a tv war which - without realizing it - desensitised us to what was really happening. Many of my classmates and myself would register for the draft as the war raged on for 11 years - but luckily it ended the year we graduated high school.
The Beach Boys released a landmark album - Pet Sounds - in May 1966. We were too young to realize it but music just kept topping itself - getting better, more complex, more meaningful. We neared the end of our final school year as The Beatles released Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in June 1967 proving to be the most progressive band in history as in 3.5 years they went from I Want To Hold Your Hand to Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds.
As we left Glen School, the Summer of Love began which brought more exciting changes to music and how it was ok not to agree with everything that was happening in the world. I mean can you imagine how fast these things were happening? We went from the twist to Sgt Pepper's - and all the cultural changes around us - in 7 short years!
Yet while all this was happening, we still went on vacations, played ball, attended scout meetings - our lives continued. As kids our childhoods pretty much stayed innocent and remained unchanged, though things like our fashions grew with the times. Just when you thought our 7 years at Glen School wasn't event-filled enough, there would be 2 more years of assassinations - Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The Woodstock Rock Festival, the Apollo moon landing, the Sexual Revolution and political & civil turmoil like the nation had never seen before - all in less than a decade!
For me living in that Ridgewood bubble of school, baseball, scouts, neighborhood life - was great! That my parents managed to provide this somewhat insulated life with all that was going on - is surely a tribute to them.
On the personal side, I remember starting out at Glen without a care in the world - confident, very secure with myself. But by the time I reached the 6th grade - I became a little awkward and somewhat insecure. It wasn't a dark kind of thing but I do remember always being afraid to ask my teachers questions - fearful of making mistakes and not feeling very confident with the classmates I admired the most - and there were many!
When June 1967 rolled around - I was clearly nervous about what lay ahead - hard to imagine that feeling now! It should have been one of excitement! But I wondered all summer if I would fit in when I reached the 7th grade. Once out of 7th grade, things seemed to click more though. My only regret is baseball. Gosh I LOVED baseball! When I got to high school - while more confident - I gave baseball up. I wanted so badly to try out for the RHS team but was so afraid of getting cut that I didn't risk it! In order to achieve your goals you have to take risks - I knew that but had no guts. I wish my mom & dad had pushed harder on certain things. I have coached my daughter Jennie in softball and my son Ricky in baseball for a number of years now and we have had success - but it was never lost on me when I had a kid on our teams - girl or boy - that reminded me of myself - who just needed a little push or boost of confidence - there's nothing more rewarding than seeing the success of something like that! We never sacrificed the competitve spirit nor did we sacrifice giving every child on our teams ample opportunity for success. So baseball came back to me in the form of coaching and involvement in our town league which has been a great experience.
A Glen classmate, Katie Knight recently relayed a great story about Mr. Gahara - one of the 5th grade teachers at Glen School. She recalled how Mr. Gahara had taken her aside and talked to her about what it was to not make people feel left out - to be inclusive - it was one of those simple but very meaningful moments that you remember teachers for - going a little beyond the academic side of teaching and giving you a life lesson that for Katie remains to this day. And I might add that while that was a great lesson to learn - Katie never made anyone feel left out even before learning it!
Returning to Glen School in late Decmember 2008 with my kids and my wife Caryn - I was struck by the memory of how I felt as a 6th grader in 1967 - the fear I had - fear of the unknown and the fear of failing. As I walked around the entire school with my 15 year-old daughter, I recalled that fear and how far away those feelings seemed but how close and special the memory was of all the baseball games, concerts, stick ball games, summer recreation, end-of-school-year parties, birthday parties and how great a childhood it was.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Notably, Mr. Zima played one of the monkeys in the movie "The Wizard of Oz" when he was younger! Thanks Beth Daly-Rhoten for that amazing piece trivia!
Pictured below are the 24 kids of Mr. Zima's 5th grade 1965-66!
Front Row l to r: Carl Vrabel, Chic Voorhis, John Petirk, Greg Rehe, David Chandler, Ricky Flannery.
Middle Row l tot r: Brian Marchese, Beth Perdue, Lori Arbrahamson, Beth Daly, Susan Anderson, Barbara Durheimer, Irene Williams, Frank Petrucci.
Back Row l to r: Bobby Stewart, Randy Sharp, Frank Fortino, Corinne Frank, Mayann Vaz, Kara DeGraw, Penny Ward, Karen Eide, Wayne Bond, Paul Attella.
The same spot our picture was taken. This was taken circa 1995.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Charlie and his wife Eileen still reside in the home they built in North Jersey and have lived there for nearly 50 years! When the house was completed, moving day for the Bookstaver's was the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated - November 22, 1963.
The vision for many of us is of him being in top pyhsical shape and twirling that whistle around his fingers - as he barked his orders! He says he always stayed very active. He also never seemed to make a mistake - when he demonstrated shooting a basket - it was always a swish. Kids, don't forget your sneakers!
Charlie grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. In 1944, he enlisted in the Navy and was assigned duty on the USS St Paul - a newly christened heavy cruiser. After practice runs to Trinidad and Guantanamo Bay, he entered the war in the Pacific Theater via the Panama Canal. At the time, the talk was of an invaision of the Japanese mainland, but while anchored far enough off the coast, it was reported that the atomic bombs had been dropped. The USS St Paul then participated in the Japanese surrender ceremonies.
Charlie left the Navy in June, 1946. Using the GI Bill, he enetered New York University where he studied education and became a certified teacher in 1952.
He taught for several years in New Hampshire and joined the Ridgewood Public School system in 1959 where he became a physical education teacher. In Ridgewood, Charlie divided his time between Glen, Somerville and Travell Annex schools. Before retiring he finished out his time at Ridge School.
During the 60's, Charlie was a lifeguard at Ridgewood's Graydon Pool. He left Graydon to head the recreation program in Allendale in the summer months.
Above is a photo of Charlie Bookstaver as a Graydon Pool lifeguard in September, 1962.
He also recalls working closely with Tony Napier - another classic gym teacher from the Ridgewood school system!
When I spoke to Charlie, he remembered his time at Glen as very enoyable. He also recalled the tragedy of our principal Arthur Linden - Mr. Linden had lost his wife to illness and then suddenly passed away himself shortly after.
Charlie retired from the Ridgewood Public School system in 1989. He and his wife Eileen have 2 children: Mary and Sean and 6 grand children.
Charlie loved working with and teaching kids and became heavily involved in officiating basketball and soccer games. He was honored for his dedicated service at a Bergen County Soccer Officials banquet in 2001. He is the guy in the Irish knit sweater.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Front Row: Miss Jackson, Mrs. Larsen (secretary), Mr. Linden (Principal), unidentified, unidentified.
Please help identify any teachers you may know in this photo!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Back Row: Linda Pursiano, Beth Daly, Melanie Teasley, Sue Nunno, Rick Flannery, Jim Smethurst and Ann Rimmer
Front Row: Cara Worthington and Karen Eide
Back Row: Linda Pursiano, Beth Daly, Ann Rimmer, Melanie Teasley, Sue Nunno, Rick Flannery, Jim Smethurst, Art Brierley
Front Row: Cara Worthington, Corey Duvall, Karen Eide
With the baby boom still going strong, Ridgewood saw its biggest change in the public school system in years as Glen and Ridge Schools neared completion in late summer of 1959.
The elementary school children were being housed in a wing of George Washington (the Monroe-Hillside Building) and several rooms in the West Side Church Education building. Once the new schools were completed, George Washington became exclusively a junior high school - one of 2 in Ridgewood - now middle schools.
For the first time in Ridgewood's history, kids from the east side of Route 17 would attend a school in their own neighborhood off East Glen Avenue.
Both schools were state of the art buildings. Ridge School was several times larger than Glen and as one reporter was quoted, he thought Ridge "is easy to get lost in".
Essentially, Ridge School had its main portion fronting West Ridgewood Avenue but set back from the street. At the time, it contatined a "general all-purpose room" which doubled as a gym and auditorium, offices, nurse's room, and 2 kindergartens located at the east end. From the main part of the building, 3 wings jutted outward in different directions. The first wing housed 1st and 2nd grades, the second wing 3rd and 4th grades and the third wing 5th and 6th grades.
The classrooms in both the Glen and Ridge schools were very light and airy with floor to ceiling windows on the outside portion and wide glass partitions on the corridor side. Each room had a door to the playground and recess areas. The rooms were all grouped around exceptionally wide corridors which were expected to be utilized as additional space for small groups of students working on special projects or for several same-grade classes to join together for some special activity.
The modern school architecture of the day was prevalent with the use of light woods and brick inside and out.
Glen was built with rooms grouped around an open courtyard at the center that had a beautiful stone wall and even a reflecting pool. The reflecting pool (later used as a garden) and stone wall was where the dark slate is in the picture below. Where the stone wall extended out, additonal grass was planted.
(Picture from the collection of Doug Terhune - 2007)
The all-purpose room at Glen was smaller than at Ridge but also doubled as a gym and auditorium with a stage for concerts and shows. It had two basketball hoops and ropes for climbing. In the room to the right of the stage, were monkey bars and storage for the mats, balls, etc.
(The gym pictures are from the collection Doug Terhune - 2007)
In addition, there was a beautiful well-stocked library, kindergarten, offices, storage, music room, faculty room with kitchenette and classrooms.
(The picture of the old library is from the collection of Doug Terhune - 2007)
The playgrounds were divided into 3 sections. The sand box area was exclusively for kindergarten. 1st-3rd grade had the main playground: swings, slide, monkey bars, see-saw and huge checkerboard. The 4th-6th grade had use of the blacktop for kick ball and the fields for other activities. The baseball fields still remained unchanged with the two ball fields sitting where they were 40 odd years ago!
A visit to Glen today is seemingly a visit to Glen 30-40 years ago - not much has changed which makes for a very sentimental journey!