Allen (Al) Barclay
- Mailing address:
Lincoln, CA 95648
- When & where were you born?
Westfield, NJ in 1921
- When did you come to Mountain Lakes?
Spring of 1955.
- Tell us something about your family, did your parents also live here?
I moved to Mountain Lakes to work as an engineer at Reaction Motors, which was then “up on the hill” near Picatinny Arsenal. Then RMI moved to Denville and Rockaway and became a division of Thiokol Chemical Corporation.
Shortly after the birth of my second son in 1956, we became a single-parent family, which restricted my participation in community activities. My mother lived with us when her health permitted, and helped me raise my two sons.
I left Mountain Lakes in the fall of 1960 when I was terminated from the Reaction Motors division of Thiokol Chemical, and was then immediately hired into a much better position at the Utah Division of Thiokol
- Where have you lived in the Borough? In which houses?
10 Lookout Road. (If I can find some pictures of that house, I will send them later.)
At that time, it was a small three bedroom, white clapboard house built in the twenties with one bathroom. It greatly needed remodeling and expansion, but it only cost $17,000 in 1955.
- What do you remember particularly about the houses and properties where you lived?
The houses on either side of us, and several others on the block, were the large, stucco, three-story houses so typical of Mountain Lakes. Some were well maintained, but others had not yet recovered from a lack of maintenance during the depression and World War II. Directly across the street, and farther down the block, were some relatively new houses. The vacant, wooded lot on the corner of Lookout and Lowell was a good source of native plants, including dogwood trees.
- What are some of your special memories growing up in Mountain Lakes?
My older son has fond memories of his early childhood there. I also have many fond memories, especially of my neighbors and friends.
- Where did you go to school?
- Where did you and your family shop?
- What were the roads and the lakes like?
Narrow, but well maintained. Being narrow helped keep the speed down.
- Are there any special people you remember who contributed to the life of the town? Why do they stand out in your mind?
Rev. Laurel Pancake! He was a great minister and friend. He also had a good sense of humor, and laughed about the kids nick-naming him “Rhododendron Flapjack.” He took advantage of a cocktail party to recruit me to teach Sunday school. Using the same tactic, he later got me to volunteer to help finish the new Sunday school.
Mrs. Klintrup, who operated what I believe was the only real estate office in Mountain Lakes at that time. Somehow she seemed to have an iron grip on the Mountain Lakes real estate sales, and bragged to me how she had kept some “undesirable” people, including Perry Como’s cousin, out of Mountain Lakes.
- What did you do for fun, formal recreation, sports and entertainment in general?
Island Beach and the paths in the woods above Crestview Road were great places for me and my two sons.
Although probably not apropos to this questionnaire: One event at Island Beach is still the most embarrassing incident in my life. While my two sons played with a little girl on the beach, I struck up a conversation with the girl’s mother. When we were all preparing to leave the beach, my 6-year old son jumped up and down and enthusiastically shouted, “Get her number, Dad, get her number!” Although it was a good idea, I never knew where he got it – not from anything I had ever said or done.
- Are there any special events that stand out in your mind?
The Fourth of July fireworks over the lake were tremendous, until they stopped them a year or two before we left. Also, our neighborhood cocktail and pot-luck parties.
- Did your parents and the parents of your friends work near by? In New York or elsewhere? How did they get to work? How did commuting change over you time here?
- How did various laws affect the way people lived?
When we first moved to Mountain Lakes, there were dogs and children everywhere, then a new law prohibited dogs from running loose. There were still lots of children.
- Did you have a sense of Mountain Lakes as a unique place in its lifestyle, its homes, as a community?
Very much so! It seemed that if you lived in town, you were accepted as “one of us.” It was an especially good, safe place to raise children.
- How did the world’s events – World War 1, the Depression, World War, the Korean War, the assassination of JFK, Viet Nam, Watergate, etc.- affect you and your fellow Mountain Lakes residents when you were growing up?
- What made living in Mountain Lakes special to you?
Friendly and intelligent friends and neighbors, Island Beach and the walking trails in the woods. It was a small enough community that most residents either knew, or knew of, most of the other residents. Also, exceptionally good city government