Sandy Faye Robinson (St.George), class of 1958
- Mailing address:
- When and where were you born?
Fort Smith, Arkansas – 1940
- When did you come to Mountain Lakes?
1954 as a high school freshman. My brother Stephen went to the Elementary school over by the Mountain Lakes Club. In the winter he often ice skated to school.
- Tell us something about your family. Did your parents also live here?
My Dad worked in NYC for McCroy, McClellan, Green. He was an executive with that firm. My Mom was a housemom who also bowled with the Mountain Lakes club ladies teams and also golfed at the Rockaway.
- Where have you lived in the Borough?
Besides Mountain Lakes, I later lived in Parsippany.
- In which houses?
In Mountain Lakes we lived at 251 Morris Avenue.
- What do you remember particularly about the houses and properties where you lived?
The house is painted gray now, but was natural wood when we lived there. My Dodge convertible once rolled down the driveway and into the woods across the street because I didn’t put the brake on. We had a lovely yard and my Dad once had 200 tulips planted all along the driveway and the property borders.Anne and Dwight Eastman (the kids of Eastman family) lived right behind us and they had a tennis court. We cut through their yard to get up to the road behind (Oak Lane?) to walk to the high school. Leigh Schuster lived next door.
My window overlooked the driveway which was nice because I could keep track of my friends coming and going. We had parties on the back terrace. We had a finished basement with a fancy bar and a couple of storage/guest rooms down there. Friends would come by the house all the time and visit with Mom in the kitchen even when I wasn’t there. Ladies would stop in to have a cocktail with Mom around 5 before the Mountain Lakes Club Car train would roll in from NYC and then they’d all go down to the station to pick up their hubbies.
- What are some of your special memories growing up in Mountain Lakes?
Trees, Autumn leaves, Ice Skating the Island Beach, the raft off shore from the Mountain Lakes Club. Sailboats on the lake,Going to high school basketball and football games. Being Captain of the Blue Team. High School Fraternities for the boys. Birchwood Lake. Working summers for Richard at the Mountain Lakes Pharmacy. Getting deliveries from the Mountain Lakes Market. Senior night…getting taken to the police station for ‘borrowing’ signs to blockade the senior door.
Lee Mueller and I being the first to walk on the Boulevard late at night after a new snow. The Lakeland bus into NYC, older homes up on the hill with ballrooms. Dating older guys and skipping school to drive down to Princeton on a school day, senior year. Parties, Parties, Parties.
My best friend Lee who lived on the Boulevard. Another friend Mary Herr who lived in ‘Diaper Village” Boy friends, Bill Ryan and Bob Rohrer. The smell of burning leaves in Fall, the pristine snow on the lawns in winter, the time the police drove a car out onto the ice from Island Beach to test the ice and the police car sunk,
The crystal clear lakes, being able to walk to anywhere else in town even late at night and feeling totally safe.
- Where did you go to school?
Mountain Lakes High (the old one)
- What particular memories do you have from your school years?
Dances, games, Field Hockey with Ms. Hickenbothem, parties, parking at Birchwood, swim team with Mr. Kogen, The girls Team shows (the orange and blue teams). Being Captain of the Blue Team senior year. Teaching dancing after school at a dance school in Boonton. Going out to Jim Somerville’s house in Powerville and floating around in the river in tubes. Being a candy-striper at the Riverside Hospital. Shopping in Morristown and at the Short Hills Mall.
- Are there any special stories you associate with that time of your life?
Many…most happy, but some very sad ones as well. My brother Stephen was in a terrible car accident in 1964 (age 19) and was disabled for life. Brian Carey was killed in a car accident at the age of 18. Carol Kingsley’s brother David also died as a teen.
- Where did you and your family shop?
Morristown, Dels Village, the Mountain Lakes Market, Acme Market, Boonton, Denville.
- What were the roads and the lakes like?
The main lake looked pretty much the same. The others were more wooded and seemed bigger. Wildwood always seemed small but there weren’t many houses around it then. The roads were narrow and the trees formed tunnels over them….they looked the same today.The only thing I see different is all of the lovely old homes being torn down and new ones of more modern styles taking their place.
- Are there any special people you remember who contributed to the life of the town? Why do they stand out in your mind?
Special people were my friends and we were high school and college age kids. My Dad died in 1964 and my Mom in 1965 so we sold the house in Mountain Lakes and moved away. Mr. McDowell was an excellent English teacher and advisor to us, especially our senior year.
- What did you do for fun, formal recreation, sports and entertainment in general?
The Lakes, The three country clubs: Mountain Lakes, Rockaway and Knoll. We went to the drive-in movie out on Rt. 46 all the time. We hung out almost every day at Paul’s Diner. Someone was always having a party or we were meeting our parents at one of the clubs. We played Tennis at the Mountain Lakes Club and swam at the Rockaway and Knoll.The high school fraternities also had bases where parties were held. We spent a lot of time riding around in cars. Everyone went to all of the high school sports events, even track and swimming. We always hung around the live guards at the Island Beach. The guys played ice hockey on the lake and we watched.
We liked the privacy of swimming at Birchwood even though there were Water Moccasins in that lake. We hung out with girlfriend in our rooms and listened to rock and roll. We liked to go into NYC and see if we could get served in bars. The drinking age was 18. We also drove over the state line to go to bars in NY state. That was pretty stupid but we didn’t know any better at that time.
Pizza at the Reservoir Tavern was the best I’ve ever had.
- Are there any special events that stand out in your mind?
Senior and Junior Prom…Orange and Blue Team Nights. Laying out on the front lawn watching for Sputnik to come over. Going to a formal dance at Princeton for the first time. Jackie Gleason played golf at the Knoll Club. Some families in town had links to the Mafia.
- Did your parents and the parents of your friends work nearby? In New York or elsewhere? How did they get to work?
Dad worked in NYC and took the train…they had their own Club Car and they played bridge on the way home.
- How did commuting change over your time here?
Don’t know…it didn’t — we took the bus into the city for shopping and did the same the last time I was there (2 years ago)
- How did various laws affect the way people lived?
Don’t know. Wasn’t aware of any unusual ones…Laws weren’t as much of a problem as prejudice. I remember that Richard Reich the Pharmacist and Lauren Gardner who lived up on the hill weren’t allowed to join the Mountain Lakes Club because they were Jewish so they joined the Knoll instead. There were NO black families in town and I don’t remember any hispanic or oriental families either.
- Did you have a sense of Mountain Lakes as a unique place in its lifestyle, its homes, as a community?
It was a storybook place to live. Lots of affluence, all the kids went to college (it was a given) there were no gangs, no drugs, but lots of alcohol (kids emulating their parents country club atmosphere.
- 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?
We were watching the motorcade in our Mountain Lakes living room when JFK was shot and had the tv in the kitchen on when Ruby was shot. My Mom and I were crying when JFK was shot.Some of my older male friends went to Vietnam. Many were exempt from the draft because they were in college. I had two friends that didn’t go to college and went into the Marines and they went to Vietnam. I had another friend who had gone to med-school via ROTC and he wound up being a surgeon in a MASH unit there.
No one I knew was killed in Vietnam….but several Mountain Lakes teens were killed in car accidents while I was in high school and college.
- What made living in Mountain Lakes special to you, as you think back over your life here?
the idealic life style….everyone knew everyone else…it was like a small town only everyone, pretty much, was very well-off economically.The education was excellent. The schools were fun. There were only about 50 students in my whole graduating class. Although there were cliques, at least in my recollection everyone was nice to everyone else and moved in and out of different groups a lot.
Living in New Mexico now, what I miss the most about Mountain Lakes is the beautiful old trees, the wandering lanes, the access to a great city and the ability to retreat from it to such a lovely place, the beautiful lakes with water so clear you could always see your feet in it.