Thursday, September 8, 2011

Found An Old Valentine!!

Remember Valentine's Day in school? When we were kids in Glen School - at least up until the 4th grade, it was a pretty cool day of the year. The guys would make like it was really no big deal except for the party and the refreshments which WAS actually a big deal - the usual great mom-homemade stuff! But there were the cards too - always the cards! Don't kid yourself - we all couldn't wait to get a card from someone we liked! The beauty of it was that no one got left out - regardless. Everybody was expected to buy their annual Valentine cards and take the time to fill one out for each kid in your class and your teacher.

When we were in first grade and probably even second grade we even made elaborate boxes that we would drop all our written cards in and they'd be "delivered" to our desks by our classmates - "one for you, one for you......".

I bring this story up only because it made me remember an innocent time and made me smile. When my mom passed away, she had a bunch of my papers and things among her own. My mom would sometimes salvage things after I threw them away as I got older. Now please don't laugh, among the things that I found was a Valentine card I had saved as a kid - I placed it on my mirror and it remained there for a long time. Now believe me I realize this sounds really silly to most people but if you're even the slightest bit sentimental (I say that a lot!) you'll get it. Over time I forgot about the card of course - you're so busy living your life.

The valentine was from Karen Eide - even when I was little I didn't pretend to think it was anything more than 1 of 30 cards Karen may have written to each one of us - but it WAS from her and so it held a prominent place in the edge of my mirror. To find this among my mom's papers was the coolest thing - my mom knew what it had meant to me at one time and finding it just brought a smile to my face. There was a small packet of other Valentine's from everybody which was rubber-banded but Karen's was loose on top and I immediately remembered when I was like 8 or 9 or whatever sliding it into my mirror!

Going through a parents papers and things after they have passed away is not easy - you stuff a couple of boxes in the attic and say "One day I'll go through them" - well the day came and it is like revisiting the times when you were younger. My mom's and dad's love letters, letters mom got back from my uncle in World War II - I mean really special stuff. It's as if she was saying "Rick, you don't want to throw this out - you'll be happy you have it one day!" She's right - some things you just can't part with! She knew it would make me smile!

The innocence of one's childhood is special and the importance of this card to a little kid (me) I remember like it was yesterday! Growing up is sometimes difficult - always bumps in the road at almost every age it seems - but one's life is also filled with great memories. I remember how difficult it was to ride my bike around Karen's neighborhood and I already mentioned how I would never knock on Karen's door at Halloween despite going to every house in her neighborhood (can you imagine?) - but Karen was one person I never wanted to find out didn't like me - never wanted her to not say hi.

How great that life brings special friends back into your life - Artie understood it - he never stopped remembering while he was living for today.  Like I told Cara, we're all like brothers and sisters. What saps we are sometimes but it doesn't matter - I stopped caring what people thought some time ago! Sorry Karen - hope this didn't embarrass you!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Show Me the Way To Go Home - From Glen School!

At Glen School - most of us walked to and from school. We also went home for lunch. I'm guessing I walked back & forth to school 5,000 times!!!!! Is that possible? Well generally, we walked to school 2 times a day and home 2 times a day - 7 years (K-6) - 180 days of the year!

Above - Salem Lane - this path was taken by tons of kids who lived on the other side of Van Emburgh Ave, E Glen Ave, Allison Court or Gateway Road.

There were 3 paths we took for the most part. There was Salem Lane which Cara, Linda, Artie, Beth P, Jennifer, Betsy and so many others took home most of the time.

Above - the cement steps that lead to Westbrook Road. Merrill, Vukov, Rehe, Koper all took this way to get home. I too would sometimes take this route home talking with friends along the way and taking a half hour or more to get home!

Above - the same steps to Westbrook Rd. All the Salem Ridge kids would go to the right to Eastbrook, Norgate, Roslyn Rd and many others.

Then there was the West Brook Rd / Quackenbush routes. If you took a right when you got up the steps or simply walked across the baseball field toward the little tree in the corner - you were headed to Roslyn Rd, East Gate, Norgate, Eastbrook, Arrow Lane, etc - Margaret Silvers, Karen Eide, Chic Voorhis, Ann Rimmer, Katie, Hank, Doug and many others would take that route. If you went up the steps and headed straight you headed for Quackenbush, North Rd and E Glen Ave.

Above - the long, narrow macadam path I would usually take to and from school.

Then there was the long macadam pathway that led to E Glen Ave - this is the route I took most of the time but I also took Westbrook to Quackenbush if I happened to be walking home with Gary Vukov, Ken Merrill, Jan Koper - they lived along the way. For me, taking that route was not a long distance but it would take me longer to get home because I would get side-tracked trading baseball cards or talking with friends or exploring the woods or the field by the Breitweiser's!

Going home for lunch was great! You had basically an hour and you'd get home pretty quickly. I would often run home if  there was a new song I liked on the radio - WABC-AM radio in NY tended to play their popular songs at specific times! Otherwise you'd watch a favorite rerun of a tv show then take the walk back to school.

When you got to ride your bike to and from school that was even better!

When walking along those 3 paths today - they really haven't changed and they bring back a lot of memories of running home to catch the end of a World Series game on the radio or if it was the fall, getting home to play football while there was still enough light!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Glen School Checkerboard!

Yes, I know this is a fluff story - but I was at the school recently (passing through as usual) and taking photos. Roamed around behind the school and saw that the checkerboard is still there - well kind of. It's a bit over-grown. The original (I think) alternated between cement (white) and macadam (black) and had a corner that was filled with sand - the sand is still there too but grass has filled in.

Above a photo of Glen School just before it opened in 1959 as construction was winding down. You get a great view of the checkerboard as it looked when new! We probably played some sort of game incorporating the boxes. The large white box at the top corner was sand. The perimeter has now filled in with trees and brush over the years.

The perimeter that has a little slope used to be wide open and led to a small creek where we used to hang out looking for salamanders and turtles. The perimeter has been completely covered now. Like all things, our playground seemed so big back in the day but is pretty small - it was a lot of fun though! If I remember right we had an amazing swing set, a well-made, colorful slide, see-saws and monkey bars. Just about every good weather day would be spent out there!

Above is the checkerboard as it appears today (August, 2011). I was psyched to see it still there despite being over grown.

Above the back of Glen School from the checkerboard. The three doors you see represent our first, second and third grade classrooms (left to right).

Above the checkerboard during the winter - photo was taken in December, 2008.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Grace Hensley: A 1st Grade Class Update!

The blogosphere - there are so many blogs out there - some for politics, some to talk about one's interests. Then there's this kind! I'm not saying this is the best kind but I started this almost 3 years ago and never expected much from it but selfishly it has brought a lot to me. I mean imagine my excitement when my first grade teacher - Pat Mercer emailed me back in early 2009 and said "This is Pat Mercer" - whoa!

Well the good things keep coming! This next story is one of those you wouldn't think would happen but hoped would. It's an update to an earlier story about our first grade class - you can find the original story  about our class using the search box on this blog.

Grace Hensley - born Grace Mulligan - she probably would've given anything to be a teacher but for one school year - Glen School 1961-62 - she was just that! She was my first grade teacher's right hand that year.

You have to understand our first grade class was huge - 32 kids in all and Pat needed help! Well as luck would have it this was the year Grace - age 50 - was looking to go back to work and applied at the Ridgewood, NJ Board of Education. They immediately sent her to Glen School.

Above is our first grade class - Pat Mercer is on the left and Grace Hensley on the right!

Above photo: back row l to r: Raleigh Hensley's sister-in-law Bertha, Grace's husband Raleigh Hensley, Grace's daughter Jane, Grace Hensley. Front row l to r: Kathy's cousins Sally and Jimmy, Kathy Hensley. This was about the same time Grace would have been assisting Pat Mercer in our first grade class.

I regretted not having enough information about Grace and as with other favorite Glen School teachers who have since passed away - I always hope a family member will Google their mom's name and find the blog and that's exactly what Grace's daughter Kathy did!

With the help of Kathy, here is a wonderful and heartbreaking update to the Grace Hensley story.

Grace Hensley was born and raised in Jersey City, NJ and graduated from Dickinson High School. Grace always had fun telling everyone that she attended school with Frank Sinatra - which she did, though Sinatra was younger.

Above is Dickinson High School in Jersey City, NJ as it appeared shortly after it was built - this is where Grace graduated. A truly impressive building.

Above is Dickinson High School as it appears today - gone are the rolling grassy slopes and in it's place - parking lots of course!

Grace met her husband Raleigh at an Uncle's house and they were married in 1943. Raleigh was from Kentucky and was in the Army at the time. He was stationed in Paramus, NJ (he manned a searchlight for an anti-aircarft group - yes in Paramus, NJ!)

Above is Raleigh Hensley in the Army.

Upon getting married, Raleigh was shipped off to Europe where he served in the war.

As a young wife, Grace came to love interior decorating - much to Raleigh's dismay. At least he got to paint - but then Grace started hanging wallpaper (which she was quite good at!)

Grace also loved to cook and entertain family and friends - she loved her family more than anything.

Grace and Raleigh would settle into domestic life and had 2 daughters - Jane born in Jersey City, NJ in 1948 and Kathy born in Ridgewood in 1952.

The Hensley's would reside in Jersey City (Grace's hometown)  for a while after Raleigh's return from the war until Raleigh was discharged from the army.

The Hensley's would move to Ridgewood, NJ in 1950 and bought 108 Circle Avenue! Can you imagine the cost of that house in 1950? $9,000!!!! It's just crazy what our folks paid for their homes in those days! Anyway, Grace and Raleigh truly made this home their own and Kathy recently took a picture of it when passing through during her reunion weekend in 2010.

 Kathy's own 2 children would be born in Ridgewood as well despite the long trip from Vernon, NJ which is where they lived!

About being assigned as a teacher's assistant Kathy's says of her mom:

"....I know she loved her I said, that first year was the best. What a wonderful way to get back into the have a job she adored!"

Above is the Ridgewood, NJ Board of Education offices where Grace worked from 1962-1977. The 1961-62 school year would be the only one that Grace would be in a classroom, but she would remain with the Board of Education in Ridgewood as a secretary until her retirement in December 1977 when she and  her husband Raleigh left Ridgewood for Hamburg, NJ.

Above Raleigh and Grace Hensley.

After she moved away from Ridgewood, Grace kept in touch with the many friends from work - she truly missed working there.

Kathy also says: "What she did miss the very most was being in your class and working with Pat."

At the age of 9, Kathy remembers her mom talking about our first grade class - telling stories about us painting with straws and Pat Mercer's classic, funny ways to get us to remember things like the order of the planets! Pat's way always made Grace smile and laugh - she loved it!

Pat and Grace got along incredibly well and Grace would often refer to Pat as her "third daughter".

At the end of our first grade school year, Pat married Rennie DiLauro. Kathy remembers this about Pat's wedding:

"I remember at the end of the school year when Pat & Rennie got married and my parents went down to Margate (NJ) for the wedding. I don't remember my mom ever looking forward to a wedding as much as Pat & Rennie's!"

Kathy also recalls Grace - having returned to the Board of Education - hearing about Bruce Cuneen's passing (he was a young boy in my class who was sick and passed away at a very young age) and the untimely passing of our principal Art Linden and his wife Mary and how sad she was about it.

Kathy fondly remembers babysitting for 2 of Pat's 3 kids - Joanne and John when the DiLauro's lived on Spring Avenue in Ridgewood.

After Grace and Raleigh retired they enjoyed their 6 grandchildren - daughter Jane would have 4 children and Kathy had 2 - Taryn and Patrick. It truly breaks my heart to write that Kathy's beautiful daughter Taryn was killed in a drunk driver accident in 2004. I just don't have the words Kathy................Grace too would pass away in 2004 and Kathy took comfort in knowing that her mom never knew about her granddaughter's accident.

Above, Kathy's beautiful children - Taryn and Patrick.

Above, Kathy's daughter Taryn.

Grace was 92 years old when she passed away. Grace & Raleigh were able to celebrate 53 years of marriage together. Kathy and her sister Jane are graduates of Ridgewood High Scool - Jane was Class of 1965 and Kathy Class of 1970.

Above: a stunning Kathy Hensley - Ridgewood High School yearbook photo - 1970. How many yearbooks did she sign!

I am very grateful to you Kathy for going out of your way to contact me. Kathy recently got together with our first grade teacher Pat DiLauro. I hope you can crash one of our reunions!

Grace Hensley contributed so much to our first grade class and the combination of her and Pat as a team are a major reason why that class is so memorable.

Kathy in front of 108 Circle Avenue in Ridgewood, NJ 2010 - where she grew up!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The "Can't Get Lost In Bergen County" Signs!

Remember when you got your permit - your license in Ridgewood NJ? It was exciting to be sure - for me being so young I didn't turn 17 until November of my senior year but when I got my license - whooo - had wheels with my girl!

I was driving around in a '65 Rambler which looking back was actually a pretty cool car - though I didn't think so at the time. I remember when Paul Adamo got me a "good" deal on an 8-track tape player - I hooked it up under the front seat for some reason - I guess to keep the radio untouched.

Driving around Bergen County - I knew my way around pretty good - but Bergen County towns had these great signs - they were at every major intersection - they would list 4 towns - all different directions, sometimes not - you would look quickly and say "Oh, yeah, just go this way". You could not possibly get lost in Bergen County.

Whoever came up with that idea - thank you! Many late nights the signs bailed me out!!

They used to be black & white but recently I was down in Ridgewood (trying to find Jill's house) and I was pleased to find one of those classic "can't get lost in Bergen County" signs (now green & white) - happy to see they still do them!

You Gotta Come to the BF/GW Reunion - Here's A Growing List!!

Hey I'll post an ongoing list of who's coming to our reunion - we don't even know cost, etc yet but it will be at a hotel in deference to those flying in.

Please check out the BF/GW blog for current details and the list of who's coming - you can find the blog at

Details will be posted everywhere so you can't miss them. Also we'll set up a temporary BF blog so you can check the details and maybe a couple of stories - I will also search for BF teachers - Rusty I'll need your help!

Saturday November 12 is the date - mark it down - awesome people are coming! I will make personal appeals to everyone in the next week! Beth Perdue, Diane Coleman, Jan Potdevin(!), Daun, Appleton, O'Connor - you've all got to come -

Who's Coming So Far:

Ann Rimmer
Katie Knight
Karen Eide
Cara Worthington
John Wescott
Terri Dimodugno
Penny Ward
Ken Merrill
Maryanne Vaz
Margaret Silvers
Gayle Allard
Cathy O'Neill

You wanna have a great weekend - come to this!

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Glen School Candids!

Here's some more candid Glen School era photos! Thanks everybody! Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge!

Above is part of my class during a field trip to the Central Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of Katie Knight. From l to r: Lisa Faeth, Suzy Nunno, Carl Vrabel (ready for lunch!), Beth Perdue, Penny Ward riding the statue and Jill Neandross peeking in from behind!

Above from l to r: Ricky Flannery, best friend Melanie Teasley and Skipper Hartman in my backyard.

Above is a photo of Margaret Silvers' 1966 birthday party. Mags didn't get the opportunity to celebrate her birthday at home too often because her family always left for Maine. I will add the names later but that's Margaret first one on the left in the first photo and that's her in the second photo. Photo is property of Margaret Silvers.

Above from l to r: Virginia Flannery and Cynthia Pomeroy (Cindy's mom!) at a bar-b-que at the Menghin's house.

Above me in my bedroom - folding my pants??? - the box in the photo on my dresser is filled with good baseball cards!

Above photo is of later Glen School kids programming the Commodore PET 2001 computer - what an antique. There are actually clubs where members own and get together to talk about and use their Commodore PET computers - wow!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reflecting ----- Again!

So I'm looking at myself and wondering "Why do I still write this blog?" - honestly, how much can one say about an elementary school - about one's life when they were a preteen?

It is fun but it is like thereapy I guess - I loved that time (growing up) - I loved my teens - I love my current life - yes, I have fitfully progressed! There have been sad times but I never tried to dwell on those, yet life can be cruel sometimes - like when my dad became ill suddenly. He loved to golf - he never had much time to do it but he loved it. When I was a teen I was embarrassed to be with my folks - they didn't understand me, etc - it's not true of course, its just what I was thinking as a teen in search of myself. Embarrassed about my parents(!) - can you imagine!!?? How terrible and how incredibly patient were my parents to let me ride it all out. I would be crushed if my kids thought that about me!

Well when I finally broke out of those teen years - I saw the light. I was in retail before changing careers and I thought, "Gee, Dad is retiring, how cool would it be to meet up for lunch every 2 weeks or so and golf together once in a while" - to laugh about our lives together - to say sorry without saying it but showing my dad this was the real me - to hoist a drink together. Then he got sick - it was devestating.

Maybe this (the blog) is a way for me to revisit a time when my folks were around and I was psyched about it - not embarrassed - who knows.

Am I really becoming this deep - me of all people!? Most times in my life have been incredible - truly. My own family - having children, wow! There have been the tough moments to - losing my folks obviously - a friend who lost a young child to a freak accident - worst wake I have ever been too (love you Sally) - losing uncles and aunts, some whose lives were cut too short - Carl Vrabel's dad (it took me a while to get over that) - Jan Potdevin's mom - Jim O'Brien - how did I never say anything to you about losing your dad so young? There have been difficult moments for others and some I won't share here but I have thought of you - but yes during all these bad moments I felt terrible - in fact that's why for me I DID feel so selfish about Jan Potdevin showing up unexpectedly at our Glen reunion - what an unexpected special moment - the best kind - I know she didn't want to do it - but she did it - all by herself - an hours drive not knowing what to expect - I understood but how happy I was when Terri said "Guess who's here!" - I didn't even get to say thanks and goodbye to Jan that night....Gayle Allard - man, some of these people didn't know me well - but I knew them - and seeing them every day, being around them - something I will always remember. 

I would write this blog even if I thought people wouldn't read it - but knowing that people you've grown up with might read something you wrote - is both liberating and somewhat nerve-racking - they might see an honest and sometimes heart-on-your-sleeve expression of yourself. I can't imagine doing this in any other format - blogging gives you license and allows you to be yourself - as Annie once said a year ago or so "You're like the confessor" - I swear I don't get lost in this stuff - but I truly am who I am as a result of so many things not the least of which was attending Glen School.

I also struggle at times that I still haven't reconciled Artie's death - it is truly the most inexplicable thing to me. How can you go from such a high to such a low so quickly? Yes - it is selfish of me. My reconnecting with him and losing him just as quickly - was crazy. How can you not see someone for so many years and feel like this is family that has passed away(?) - how is it possible that losing someone like Artie can effect you in such a way? Artie's family had scattered mementoes of Artie's life in the rooms where his wake was held and had asked us to feel free to take one in his memory - I so regret not taking one of Artie's mementoes - you feel funny at the time but.........

In 1993, when Artie grabbed the mike at our 20th high school reunion and asked all the Glen School students present to gather for a picture (there were 14 of us there) - we did it automatically and we thought wow, yeah this is cool. You know, you graduated high school with so many people - but the kids you went to elementary school with - it's different, its more intimate and here was someone else being the first one to express that (you wouldn't do it for fear of seeming corny). About gathering for the picture, it was so much better (at the reunion) than trying to make fake talk with people about what you're doing, where you're going, where you vacation, etc (all the things that make reunions such a drag). I honestly didn't know what to expect at that particular reunion - almost didn't go to it in fact - I didn't want it to be "this is what I'm doing, what are YOU doing" - I wanted it to be special - and it was. Karen's hug was perfect....perfect (don't laugh) - it made my evening, it convinced me that this was a reunion I couldn't miss - she was the very first person I really saw from the Class of '73 and it was the best. Is it why I hung out almost exclusively with Cara Worthington (whom I was crushed for that night - her husband had just passed away) and Karen Eide that night - I felt so comfortable with them - don't get me wrong - it was incredible seeing everyone I graduated with - then you leave and continue with your life but it was nice ya know? It's a bond - Artie couldn't explain it and neither can I and therein lies the beauty of it. My wife Caryn had come with me in 1993 - she understood and was so accomodating to me - thanks......

Fast forward to the 2009 Glen School reunion - when Artie signed on early as a blog reader and as a booster for all this stuff, complete with his utterly unreadable text messages(!) - I was psyched! Wow - here was a guy I loved growing up - he never knew it though - but here he was signing on to what I was envisioning because he felt the same way - hell he always felt the same way. "A Glen School reunion Artie, but at the school!" "Yes!" he would say - "We can make that happen!!"

When I read about Margaret Silvers' and Doug Terhune's successful attempts at gathering their old Glen classmates AND Mr. McFall - I was hooked - that was also in 1993!

Maryanne Vaz told me recently - you were so quiet in school - indeed I was, painfully so sometimes - it's tough when you're trying to fit in - its so difficult when you're younger and I was in some cases almost 9 months younger than my classmates. But here we are - at this age writing so fondly about one's time growing up - and I demanded that Maryanne come to the reunion (You just have to come!) and she did (all thanks to Rusty Wescott) - how cool is that - Maryanne Vaz - who would have thought it possible to find her - thanks John! No apologies - I got probably more out of it than anyone.

Just want to say thanks to all who understand and who share this special affection for one's class.......looking forward to the BF reunion and absolutely can't wait for the RHS 40th reunion.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Coming Soon: Life in Salem Ridge!

I've put together some great stuff about growing up in and around Salem Ridge thanks to Else Ege and Margaret and others. That will be coming soon!

Summertime at Glen School!

The Endless Summer - it was a great surfing movie but it's also how we all felt as summer was about to begin during Glen School! These days its all about Block Island for me - a little heaven on earth as far as I'm concerned, but when I was little the summer was everything!

As we approached the last day of school each year, we'd clean out our flip-top desks - the windows in class would be wide open with the breezes and the smell of the summer air and it would be near impossible to concentrate on anything but the 2 1/2 months of fun that lay ahead!

Above is our actual 2nd grade classroom as it looks today. Each classroom had an inside door to the hallway and a door that led directly outside which is the door we used for recess and to leave for lunch and the end of the day. The windows were huge and I remember cutting myself once on the sharp metal corners. There was no air conditioning like today. We'd sit and daydream about the summer while our teachers would try and make those last days interesting!

Starting with our last day of school each year, my garndfather would take me and one of my cousins to Palisades Park where he'd let us do whatever we wanted - we went on everything and spent a lot of quarters. Then usually a couple of days later another cousin (Carolyn) and our families would go to Palisades Park and do it all over again. What a blast - we must have done that for 5 or 6 years in row.

Above is a photo of a busy Palisades Amusement Park.

At Glen School, I was in the summer recreation program for several years - you know, we made things - tons of things - pot holders, laniards and popsicle stick-whatevers. Lots of games and sports. It was definitely a lot of fun.

Karen Eide when asked if she was in the Summer Recreation Program recalls: "Yes! How many laniards, pot holders and popsicle stick creations did my mom endure!?"

Ken Merrill remembers: "......every year - enjoyed it very much! Lots of arts and crafts and sports!"

Beth Daly too remembers: "Yes I remember summer rec - my mother had boxes of things made from popsicle sticks! All of us (there were 6 kids in my family) went to it at one time or another. There is nothing like that here anymore but what a bonus for our parents!"

Above - we would do a lot of the art stuff here under the overhang in the courtyard when we belonged to the summer rec program.

Above is a sampling of the classic potholders we all made!

There was camp at the YMCA in town which included swimming, archery, games and great hikes.

Above from l to r: Ricky Flannery, Randy Sharp, Kent Meneghin and Bruce Meneghin on the first day of camp.

My friends and I would bike all over the immediate area around Glen School and when I got a little older we even rode with our canteens and pocket knives to Saddle River and Woodcliff Lake!

When I was 6 and 7 there were annual trips to the circus with the neighborhood kids!

Above - my dad took us all to the circus twice. We all got dressed up for it! From l to r: Randy Sharp, Kent Meneghin, Jimmy O'Brien, Ricky Flannery and Bruce Meneghin. This was Spring 1962.

Another big event of course was the Fourth of July - Dad marched in the parade. Ridgewood always had the biggest parade around and like Artie Brierley I would count the fire trucks - there was an endless line of them - the coolest part was the simultaneous sound of all the sirens at once - it was awesome! I'll never forget too - just like my sister Ginny - going to Vets Field for the fireworks with friends and seeing family and relatives - "OMG really - must I sit here? What if someone sees me?" - I'm trying to be cool ya know! The things you do when you're young.

Above l to r my uncle Ralph (Carolyn's father - my favorite cousin!) and my dad after marching in the parade!

There was also a  memorable trip to Lake George one year when we went to just about every childhood theme park in that area including Frontier Town, Storytown, Gaslight Village, Magic Forest, North Pole among others - I remember our station wagon was covered with cardboard bumper stickers that they'd put on your bumper with metal wires. I remember the motel we stayed at showed first-run outdoor movies by the pool at night and one night we got drenched in the middle of the movie!

Above my sister Ginny and I at Frontier Town - for a few years I lived in my holster!

There were weekly crossings of Route 17 to Grand-Way to buy model kits, records and trading cards. Can you believe as little kids the amount of times we'd cross a busy highway like that - and we did it when we were really young because in 1967 they built an overpass which made it safer to cross but by that time we were 10 and 11 years old!

One year I went camping with the Meneghins which was a great time!

Above the Meneghins and I somewhere I think in Pennsylvania - it was a lot of fun!

We'd go fishing at Hall's Pond, Saddle River and the Duck Pond.

Above Ricky Flannery feeding the ducks at the Duck Pond!

Bar-B-Ques at the Menghins or the Flannerys - Cindy Pomeroy would usually be there too!

Above is a bar-b-que at the Meneghins. Cindy Pomeroy is there. It was probably a year later that I asked Cindy to go steady and gave her my id bracelet which I gave to her between throwing the baseball around on Auburn Ave! My Winnie Cooper! I remember playing spin-the-bottle once in a friend's tent and Cindy and I would redirect the spun bottle to hers or my direction - yes it was fixed and all inocent too - there always seemed to be a crowd around us!

We'd swim whereever there was a pool and we always joined Graydon every year. My sister would be on the grassy or "cool" side and me on the sandy side! Lessons in the early morning when the water was at its coldest - blue lips and all. We held our breath under water, learned the "dead man's float", kicked a lot and floated on our backs non-stop for 40 minutes or so.

Above Graydon Pool at sunset - photo is from the Ridgewood Blog and is the property of "Alan" (there was no last name). Photo was taken in 2010.

Above, me and my best friend, my cousin Carolyn. We were like glue for nearly 20 years!

The Meneghin's and Jimmy O'Brien and I would play never-ending board games, we'd plan bike trips, sleep outside in each others yards, play baseball, football, kick the can at night. I would cut the Meneghin's lawn when they went to the Cape and get paid for it and they would do the same for us.

We'd probably go to 5 or 6 drive-in movies every summer at the Paramus Drive-In or the Route 17 Drive-In in Upper Saddle River. That was so much fun especially when you're little. Pajamas, pillows, snacks, 2 movies, intermission to allow you to que up at the refreshment stand and seemingly all the time in the world! 2 minutes till showtime!

Above is an actual shot of the Paramus Drive-In. Its from my personal collection.

Then there was the Jersey Shore. We spent many summer vacations at Long Beach Island when I was little. You couldn't wait to hit the Parkway - the anticipation always so exciting!

One year when I was in 7th grade we went to Chadwick Beach which is the same island as Lavellette and Ocean Beach among others. Vacation does something to you - it gives you confidence you don't normally have at that age - people don't know you but you're all on the same page when you're away. On that vacation I remember seeing a girl on the beach during the day - you know, you're like 11 or 12 and you're with your family - I'll never forget asking her quickly if she would meet me at the beach that night - she said yes and we met at around 8pm on the beach - it was wonderful! My parents were great about it and ultimately knew what I was doing but allowed me this wonderful shot at independence. We just sat on the sand and talked about what else - our families, school, where we were from - then a simple kiss goodnight - wow enough to make you sail through the rest of the summer - we wrote for a little while, but you know, your life goes on - you don't forget these things though! Vacations always allowed you the freedom to just be yourself.

The Jersey Shore was also where I first discovered head shops where I bought black-light posters, beaded necklaces and bracelets and I would always stock up on a supply of Archie comics on vacation too! I wanted to surf in the worse way - but never gave it a try.

Above Ricky Flannery on one of the many beach vacations we took in Long Beach Island - circa 1962!

The ice cream trucks today play the silliest music but when we were little the Good Humor guy rang these loud bells and you could here him coming in the distance as soon as he turned onto your street. Like clockwork he would come during the dinner hour - mom or dad would give up a quarter and you'd run outside, see everybody else coming out their doors, try to be the first one in line, get your ice cream and put it in the freezer for after dinner!

Above - an american classic - the "Good Humor Man". He was the most popular guy of the summer and nothing would get you out of your house quicker than the sound of those bells!

We also went for family "rides" - this was such a baby boomer thing - it meant driving all over the place - to no place special! We'd seemingly visit every town in Northern NJ and NY State - "Oh look that's where Major Andre was hung for treason during the Revolutionary War!" - but we'd always end up at Terwilliger's for ice cream - lines out the door but worth the wait. (Now that's another thing, can you imagine telling poor Major Andre "Hey, 200 years from now people will drive by your monument, look and then go for ice cream!) Van Dyk's was our baseball ice cream place and I'm psyched that they're still in town - I was sad to see T&W's close - my accountant's office is right door to where it used to be.

Above - the counter at T&W Ice Cream - circa 1950's.

And then there was Labor Day weekend - this was always the last weekend of "freedom" before returning to school. The week leading up to Labor Day you'd go "back to school" shopping and always try to get clothes that made you look cooler than the year before - or in my case not! I'll never forget my first attempt at trying to look Mod - wow!

Summers are a wonderful time of year and probably the one time of year when you make the most memories but now I look forward to spending them with family, coaching and watching my son Ricky play baseball! It all goes way too fast and THIS Labor Day weekend, instead of trying to buy "cool" clothes we'll be taking my daughter Jennie up to URI for her freshman year - and that's near BI!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BF Reunion Coming in November 2011!

Hey the BF reunion is coming in November. It looks like it will be held at a hotel for more "quality" time with everyone. We will know more details shortly. It will probably be November 12.

Hope everyone can make it! Then its 2 years to the big one!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Girl Scouts at Glen School!

Among the outside activities many of us took part in at Glen School was the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts or as Artie Brierley used say (regarding the Cub Scouts) - "the boys in blue".

By the time the girls at Glen School reached 2nd or 3rd grade, a lot of them would join the Brownies. Being with your firends and the chance to make new friends made this a fun experience for many. Brownie life was made up of meetings, dues, refreshments, games, baking, crafts and trips to nursing homes and more.

Above is a classic photo courtesy of Judy Wilson Glen School Class of 1969. It's Mrs. Cook's class - probably 1st or 2nd grade. You can see some of the girls in their Brownie uniforms which told you they had a meeting after school. While I can't make out everyone, Barbara Demick is first in the front (l to r), Kim Vukov is just behind her, Breitweiser, Janice Avery, Judy Wilson, Margaret Silvers (with head turned) and Karen Stewart I think. Help me if I'm wrong Mags!

The Brownies would work to earn their merit badges badges for a variety of tasks. The badges would be awarded and sewn onto their sashes.

If a girl kept going, after 2 years they would become a Girl Scout. As a scout they would continue earning merit badges for somewhat more difficult tasks.

Above Ridgewood Girl Scouts being honored.

The Brownies and Girl Scouts have always been famous for selling their cookies and our local girls were no different. In fact, I want to say that the cookies back then were actually better - they were made by the Burry's Company. Everyone has their favorites. The girls would sell to family and friends but would also do a lot of door to door selling back then - a time when everyone in the neighborhoods knew each other and it was much safer to sell that way.

Above: Girls Scouts and Brownies banning together to sell cookies for camp.

Above: It's amazing the photos you find on the net. This is what a box of Girl Scout cookies might have looked like in the early 1960's.

Meetings would take place at the homes of mom's who were leaders. The girls would pay their monthly or bi-weekly dues. There would be a variety of activities and refreshments and the girls would continue to work on and plan their merit goals.

Above is a photo that is the property of Patricia Nagy Cove. It is Ridgewood Girl Scout Troop 86 giving a carved pumpkin show at Patricia's house in Ridgewood.

There would also be camp overnights at Pound Ridge, NY.

Above: Another classic photo from Judy Wilson Glen School Class of 1969. It is 1967, Troop 216 camping at Pound Ridge, NY. The girls are from l to r: Diane Delorenzo, Judy Wilson, Amy Vest, Sarah Avery, Debbie Reagan and Pam Morton.

I recently asked a few Glen School alums about their scouting experiences - here's some of what they shared:

Margaret Silvers: "I was Girl Scout Troop 199. I remember because my brother Robbie would tease me about my troop number. It's so hard to say, "one-ninety-nine"...........he tormented me about my troop number! Mrs. Breitweiser was a troop leader I remember. My mother filled in one year and I think she hated it! At that time, Sally Reese would push us to "cut" the thursday afternoon meeting and pocket the .25 cent dues!"

Katie Knight: "I was a Girl Scout. The troop number escapes me. In 4th grade or so, I remember being sad that my brothers all attended a very cool Boy Scout camp (Camp Yaw Paw) in Mahwah (NJ) every year and I sat in a classroom and drew pictures of my family! Mrs. Yingling was the troop leader when I was in 6th grade and she was very cool - we studied flowers, herbs - took lots of hikes, looked at the stars - it was great! I seem to remember her being a Quaker which I thought was impressive!"

Beth Daly: "I was a Girl Scout all through Glen but I can't for the life of me remember who our leader was."

Jennifer Marcello: "I was a Brownie. Can't remember the name of our troop leader but she lived on Van Emburgh. (I have a) vivid memory of making sugar cookies to take to a nursing home. Also remember selling cookies as a Girl Scout back in the day when you could safely go door-to-door alone."

Cara Worthington: "Karen's tv commercial, camping at Pound Ridge and making numerous sit-upons!"

Diana and Cynthia Wagner were both scouts. Cynthia remembers: "Yes, we were in the Girl Scouts with a mother who was a leader (their mom). We went to Travell where my mom had her troop and she even made me become a cadet in junior high school! I got a job as soon as I turned 14 so that I would have an excuse not to join (again)!

Ann Rimmer: "(I was a) Girl Scout for a year or two. I remember going to Girl Scout camp which was a lot of fun!"

A couple of years ago, when I started this blog, Beth Daly had asked me if I remembered the tv commercial Karen Eide did for the Girl Scouts. I remember a lot of things and I was embarrassed that I did not remember this about Karen! I asked Beth Daly more about it and she had told me it was a big deal - the girls all gathered at Karen's the day it was first shown on television. When Beth shared that story with me, I thought "Surely there must be a way to find that commercial somewhere." I actually wrote to a few places - Girl Scouts Organization, etc - trying to found out how one would go about finding a video of a vintage commercial like that. I even wrote to Karen on Classmates but we all slowly stopped paying to be on there. Then Karen found this blog and got in touch. Of course one of the first things I asked her about was the commercial. Karen told me about it and as luck would have said "Yes - I have it on DVD!" I was obviously thrilled and patiently waited for the day Karen would put it on the web. While I don't manage to go on Facebook a lot, I was fortunate enough to be on the day Karen posted the news on her wall and she gave me permission to use it here! The commercial alone makes this story - thanks Karen!

Having viewed the commercial, it definitely looks familiar and while the girls all gathered over at Karen's to watch it, I'm sure all of us were told about it and I can see myself rushing home from school to see it - "Baseball(?) - not now, gotta go, Karen's on tv!"! How cool that it is preserved for all of us to enjoy!

Of the commercial, Katie Knight shared this: "Yes, I was in the troop that tried out for that commercial. I do remember one girl being so upset and crying so hard when she didn't get picked that they let her be in the commercial. I used to watch it at Karen's house when it was on!"

Annie told me: "I totally remember the Karen Eide commercial! She was the perfect pick!"

There was just no better way to conclude this brief story about the Girl Scouts at Glen School then with Karen's actual tv commercial. Just click on the little arrow below and enjoy!

If you have anything you'd like to contribute to this story, please email me!