- Mailing address:
- When and where were you born?
1948, Summit, NJ
- When did you come to Mountain Lakes?
- Tell us something about your family. Did your parents also live here?
My dad was built two NRA rifle ranges, as he was a qualified instructor – one in the Tourne prior to it becoming a park. The park service did not allow it to continue. A second range was constructed near Birchwood Lake and Crystal Lake. The railroad tie backstop still mostly exists. My mom was the president of the Women’s Club, and College Club.
- Where have you lived in the Borough? In which houses?
31 Lookout Road (corner of Glen Rd.) and 130 Laurel Hill Road.
- What do you remember particularly about the houses and properties where you lived?
31 Lookout Road – Replacing the oil burning furnace which blew up in the dead of winter by using sledgehammers to break the cast iron into manageable pieces. Same sledgehammer we used to knock a hole in the back side of the chimney in a glassed in porch to make a “see-through” fireplace.
- What are some of your special memories growing up in Mountain Lakes?
Ice skating, sled riding down Glen avenue, and walking the streets in the snow.
- Where did you go to school?
Nursery school on the Boulevard across from the old Firehouse, first year Wildwood opened going to kindergarten in Ms. Calendar’s class, Lake Drive, Briarcliff, and MLHS. (Class of ’66).
- What particular memories do you have from your school years? Are there any special stories you associate with that time of your life?
Too many to elaborate. All mostly good. Less organized activities – we made our own football, whiffle ball game rules in front yards. BB guns, Cherry bombs, firecrackers and slinging crab apples off a stick were fairly routine.
- Where did you and your family shop?
I spent most of my money on baseball cards at the Stationery. My parents used the Dell’s village Acme, Two Guys from Harrison in Dover, Worman’s Liquors, Anchor Hardware.
- What were the roads and the lakes like?
Not much different than now. No sewer lines – fewer water plants.
- Are there any special people you remember who contributed to the life of the town? Why do they stand out in your mind?
Lots of teachers. They mostly seemed to care about individuals.
- What did you do for fun formal recreation, sports and entertainment in general?
Little League, Saturday morning basketball, swim meets. Tennis in high school. Movies at the Boonton Theatre, often sneak in without a ticket by a side door. Pea shooter from the balcony. Repeated from above – we made our own football, whiffle ball game rules in front yards. BB guns, Cherry bombs, firecrackers and slinging crab apples off a stick were fairly routine.
- Are there any special events that stand out in your mind?
Riding my bike with crepe paper and baseball cards tucked between the spokes in the 4th of July Parade on Lake Drive Road. GAA show and traveling play troops at the Briarcliff school theatre. 4th of July fireworks.
- 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?
My dad worked as an engineer at Boonton Molding on Myrtle Avenue across from Drew Chemical. He was very involved with the invention of “Boontonware” – heavy dark green or cream colored plastic dishes for everyday use. It was the forerunner of the thinner and china-like prints on “Melmac” plastic dishes. He later worked in New York at Rockefeller Center for Curtis Wright and Reeves Brothers involved with new forms of plastic foam used for insulation and mattresses. He tried the train from Mtn. Lakes, Denville (electric train – overhead wires), carpools and bus from Cobb’s Corner (Esso station on Rte 46 across from the Reservoir). He left the house most mornings between 5 and 6, returning home around 7.
- How did various laws affect the way people lived?
There were fewer. We didn’t use seatbelts, we used to ride on our tailgates down with feet dangling, hunted in the Tourne just behind my house. Crime was not much of an issue – we never had a key to our house, the doors were never locked.
- Did you have a sense of Mountain Lakes as a unique place in its lifestyle, its homes, as a community?
Somewhat, but more so as the years passed on reflection.
- 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?
The cold war and the Cuban missile crisis was the most sobering. Playing Freshman football with military jets flying low overhead made a big impression.
- What made living in Mountain Lakes special to you, as you think back over your life here?
The island community where crime passed us by. Everyone walked or rode bikes to school, swim meets, Little League, Saturday morning basketball, canteen at Lake Drive, ice skating or swimming at the lakes. Lots of crime and drugs in those “other” towns like Parsippany and Boonton. Most people knew, or knew of each other.