Alice (Koch) Fink
- Mailing address:
- When and where were you born?
1946 in Takoma Park, Maryland
- When did you come to Mountain Lakes?
- Tell us something about your family. Did your parents also live here?
I moved there with my mom, dad, 1 sister and two brothers; I was the oldest. Dad got transferred from CA to NJ and he asked the real estate agent for the town with the best schools.
- Where have you lived in the Borough? In which houses?
91 Lookout Road
- What do you remember particularly about the houses and properties where you lived?
Our house was a relatively small ranch, the other houses in the neighborhood were very large. Great wooded lots to play in and climb trees.
- What are some of your special memories growing up in Mountain Lakes?
Fourth of July, swimming at Island Beach and Birchwood, sailing in our Sunfish on the big lake, GAA Shows at MLHS(go Blue team), Saturday afternoon football games, sports activities at MLHS, Paul’s Diner, the Community Church and Youth Fellowship, Reservoir Tavern.
- Where did you go to school? What particular memories do you have from your school years? Are there any special stories you associate with that time of your life?
I attended 6th grade at Lake Drive School. In the fall of 1958 I entered MLHS and was a member of the first class to go all the way through the “new high school”. I was very active in girls sports, loved the GAA show, chorus with Mr. Ready.
- Where did you and your family shop?
Del’s Village-Stationary Store, Acme Grocery, Tweeds Children’s Clothing Store; The Park Beauty Salon, Worman’s Liquor Store and when we needed department stores we went into Morristown.
- What were the roads and the lakes like?
Roads were great especially in the winter when some were closed for sledding. The lakes were great for swimming, but I always remember how cold the water was when the beaches first opened in June. I loved ice skating on them in the winter.
- Are there any special people you remember who contributed to the life of the town? Why do they stand out in your mind?
- Bill Kogen-taught me how to swim and taught 8th grade math
- Mr. Ready-taught music and lead the chorus
- Dr. Laurel Pancake and Dr. Larry Kalp-for their spiritual guidance and for officiating at numerous family weddings and funerals
- What did you do for fun formal recreation, sports and entertainment in general?
Swimming, Ice Skating, Sailing, NJFHA (field hockey), GAA Show, girls sports activities at MLHS
- Are there any special events that stand out in your mind?
Fourth of July, Saturday Football games, GAA Shows
- Did your parents and the parents of your friends work nearby? In New York or elsewhere? How did they get to work? How did commuting change over your time here?
Dad worked in Denville at Reaction Motors; most of the fathers of my friends worked in NYC and took the train. I only knew two kids who had mom’s that worked.
- How did various laws affect the way people lived?
No answer for this one.
- Did you have a sense of Mountain Lakes as a unique place in its lifestyle, its homes, as a community?
Since I had lived there for so many years, I didn’t know how special it was until I went to college and then later as an adult raising a family of my own. Only in retrospect did I realize what a special place it was to grow up.
- How did the world’s events — World War I, the Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the assassination of JFK, Viet Nam, Watergate, etc. — affect you and fellow Mountain Lakes residents when you were growing up?
I remember being in class at MLHS when JFK was shot. The principal made an announcement and everyone was crying. When my husband was in Vietnam from 8/69 to 8/70 I lived back at home and got lots of support from my parents friends since most of them had served during WW-II.
- What made living in Mountain Lakes special to you, as you think back over your life here?
It was a very nurturing and safe environment, kind of an upper middle class cocoon. It was small and everyone knew everybody. I attend my high school reunions (Class of 1964) and we all shared so many of the same experiences. My mom even comes to the reunions so she can see all of the “kids” again. We only had 100 kids in my graduating class so we all knew each other.