- Mailing address:
- When and where were you born?
1953, Long Island
- When did you come to Mountain Lakes?
- Tell us something about your family did your parents also live here?
My parents (Bill and Helen) and the three of us (Bill, my youngest borther Brad, and I) were all there together. We moved to Mountain Lakes from a rental house in Bernardsville NJ — at the time my parents really couldn’t afford the town but they said they wanted to live in a town where the schools were good. Dad had quite a succession of jobs and Mom was definitely a “stay at home” mother.
- Where have you lived in the Borough? In which houses?
We only lived in one house — 116 Kenilworth Road — you could see the high school from our kitchen window. I was devastated when our father informed us in 1969 that we were moving to Connecticut so he could be closer to work. We “survived” the move but up until the time my mother died in 1993 she continually reminisced about that house. The happiest times of her life were spent there.
- What do you remember particularly about the houses and properties where you lived?
Some of the houses were absolutely huge which was certainly fortunate for some of the rather large families!!
- 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?
Wildwood Elementary, Lake Drive, Briarcliff, and then the High School. While attending both Wildwood and Lake Drive I remember walking home every day for lunch. Certainly the Memorial Day parades where it seemed that everyone in the community participated. July 4th at the Club, GAA shows and the Blue and Orange motorcades — I could go on and on.
- Where did you and your family shop?
Mostly in Denville for everyday things but also in Dover, Boonton, and Morristown.
- What were the roads and the lakes like?
I think I spent my entire life riding the roads on my bicycle. In the winter, when the lakes were frozen, I remember skating from Wildwood Lake through the canals to Mountain Lake and back. The annual trout fishing contest — I won something one of those years and my picture was in the local paper.
- Are there any special people you remember who contributed to the life of the town? Why do they stand out in your mind?
Henry Ready for the chorus and his extreme patience in trying to teach me to play the violin. Donald Duckles — HS English teacher — if only for the name. Senor Beltran — a terror when teaching HS Spanish but, in retrospect, a great teacher. Mrs. Wade — my 5th grade teacher at Briarcliff. Wanda Cunningham — home economics instructor — everyone else seemed to hate her but we connected. Mrs. McDade for all those years of piano lessons — she told me I’d be sorry later on for not practicing and she was right.
- What did you do for fun formal recreation, sports and entertainment in general?
I really don’t remember much in the way of formal recreation. The town was one where you felt free and safe to explore, from early in the morning until the sun went down. There was a movie theater in Denville but we didn’t go there very often.
- Are there any special events that stand out in your mind?
The time that the HS football team beat Glen Ridge — I don’t think it had ever happened before!
- 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?
Most folks seemed to work in NYC. Commuting into the city was by bus — I seem to remember it costing 35 cents for a one-way fare. My parents friends were almost all from Mountain Lakes.
- 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?
My most vivid memory was certainly the assassination. I was in 5th grade and overheard other kids joking about how Kennedy had been killed. I remember going home and watching television the entire weekend, out of shock and disbelief.
- What made living in Mountain Lakes special to you, as you think back over your life here?
It seemed so utterly idyllic at the time.