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July Issue 2009


  • We know youve probably wondered if there really was going to be another issue of Patriots Post. Well for a while there, so did we... Although our best intentions were to send out another issue out no later than the end of spring, other responsibilities led us in other directions.

    Much has happened since our last issue and even if you liked his music, you might be a little tired of the coverage of Michael Jacksons passing by now. It would be difficult not to note Farrahs departure and strangely and sadlyenough, on the very same day (June 25, 2009)that of one of our own, John Giase.

    By now youve probably noticed that we have a new format. We hope you like it! Patriots Post needed to evolve primarily out of necessity for a medium that would allow us to continue to grow, while hopefully at the same time, keep up with the latest technology.

    Personally, I stopped trying to be all that high tech a long time ago although I still count myself at least somewhat tech-savvy. I dont give a twit about Tweeting (Its something like that, isnt it?) I closed down my Facebook page because I hadnt even looked at it since 2007. And I cant seem to locate my password for MySpace, so hopefully Im not missing out on something big happening there.

    I caved in, and though I thought I would never,ever see the need for a PDA type device, I now cannot live without my iPhone. Ive downloaded about 75 apps so far, but really

    only seem to use about four or five that I actually need or like. One of the apps I use the most is GPS, which is another gizmo I told myself that I just didnt see the need for and would never have one. Oh well, life is change, isnt it?

    We cover a lot of ground in this issue, and we personally want to thank several of you who took the time to contribute, including:

    Joel BermanSteve SolopMike ArmstrongBob HendricksonGeorge Miller

    And last but certainly never, ever leastLinda Hacker Rasimowicz

    As always, the future of the Post depends entirely on each and every one of YOU. We look forward to receiving your updates, photos, and other items from your attic that you might stumble across and thank you for taking the time to share them with us.

    We hope you like, and were anxious to hear your reaction to our new format, so please let us know what you think! (Like we were worried that was going to happen?)


    Mitch Fahrer and Lucille Mazzarella Haley

  • 3 The Summer of 1969

    7 Bob Hendrickson

    9 Mike Armstrong

    11 Hello from Botswana!

    13 Remembering Rodney Fernandes

    15 A Photographic Look through the attic of Steve Solop

    20 Survey Says?

    21 From the Archives School 22 Commencement Program From 1964

    33 End of one sweet Institution

  • By Linda Hacker Rasimowicz

    Every time I hear Bryan Adams sing the words, those were the best days of my life, my thoughts go drifting back to 1969. It was a different world than it is today. Middle school, or Junior High as it was known then, was a learning experience far above what was taught by teachers and absorbed from textbooks. It was a time of growing up, of forming values, and opinions, and personalities. I think that there was a lot more innocence forty years ago, when we were there, than this generation of middle school students know. This story is about some of those simpler, gentler times.

    Ellen and I became friends at the beginning of 9th grade. She lived down the street from me, and we would walk to school together, to Avenel Junior High. Opposites attract - she was the vibrant, confidant outgoing to my shy, self-conscious introvert. Our friendship grew stronger, and she became my best friend. At AJHS we were blended with kids from two different elementary schools in Avenel, and several schools in Colonia.

    Ellen wanted to give a birthday party for a guy in our German class that she had a crush on. She had a small house, and I had a large basement rec room, so the party was held at my house. That night was magical at least for me. It was the first boy-girl party Id ever been to, let alone hosted. There was no fancy theme, no hired entertainment, no catered meal.

    Rodney Fernandes and Ellen Lucas

    Jeff Rumage and Lorraine Wells

  • There were snack foods and soda, birthday cake, and the hit of the menu do-it-yourself sundaes. Everyone brought his or her favorite 45s, which were played on a portable record player I didnt have a stereo. And Im sure for many of us at that party it was the first time wed danced with the opposite sex. Im transported back in time to that night whenever I hear Cherish by the Association, Traces by the Classics Four, or Young Girl by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

    That party was on March 15, 1969. It was the start of our Family of friends Ellen Lucas, Richie Olah, Rodney Fernandes, Bill Mahr, Sandy Fyke, Joann Corrao and Louise Roseman, among many others. It was the spring of 9th grade, our last year in junior high. There was seldom an afternoon, or weekend, that all or a part of our Family were not together.

    Of course, at fifteen years of age none of us had a license or a car. Who needed one? We walked everywhere. From what used to be the Main Library on Rahway Avenue, to Dunkin Donuts on St. Georges Ave., to Colonia Shopping Plaza or Bradlees or Korvettes. With a transistor radio in hand, tuned in to WABC or WMCA AM it wasnt the destination, it was the journey, with friends.

    John Murphy and Steve Warshany

    Joann Dangel and Sandy Fyke

  • After the success of that first party, and with June approaching, the plans for graduation parties began in earnest. I think they started in May, and just kept going right through July.

    It was always the same circle of friends, always good, simple fun. Throughout that summer our Family stayed in close touch. My parents, bless their hearts, had an open rec room policy. There was often a crowd there, playing records, dancing, talking, laughing. We kept Drakes Ring Dings, Wise Potato Chips and Coca Cola in business that summer. We had a Monopoly Marathon that literally lasted three full weeks. It was hard to say who won, Rodney by his ruthlessness or Richie by his charm (with a little bit of cheating thrown in for fun!) Ellen was at my house more than she was at her own, spending many July and August nights at sleepovers on the pullout couches in my rec room.

    September came, and with it our introduction to Colonia High School. I remember the first day it was raining so hard you could not see out the bus windows. When we got into the building it was like using some inner radar system somehow, in the madness of five-hundred-twenty-something sophomores we found our friends, and joined in the cafeteria to see who would be in our classes. Those of us from Avenel Junior High were a bit intimidated, I think, because there were so many more Colonia Junior High students.

    I remember feeling very lost in that big school among so many strangers. Soon, though, all of the new experiences football games, clubs, classes and lunches with upper classmen helped to bond the Colonia kids with the Avenel kids. Of course, this added a new dimension to our Familys infamous parties. My rec room

    was again put to use, this time as Campaign Headquarters for Student Council and Class Officer elections. Victory/Defeat parties after the football games, and the Halloween party at Joann Corraos house were a bit more crowded than before, but we still had the same good, simple, fun times, and made many special memories.

    You might wonder why Im writing about life forty years ago. I guess, since finding out about Ellens passing, and losing Rodney afew months ago, it was natural to remember the times that were so very important in my past. As our high school years progressed our Family did drift, each with different goals and more broadening interests. Some of us went on to college and some went on to get jobs. One thing that we all had in common, though, was that as adults we were all good, successful people, comfortable in the paths that we chose.

    For so many of our classmates, their paths on Earth have come to an end; but for me, the memories of those very special friends, and the Summer of 69, will live on forever.

    Jimmy Peterson and Richie Olah

  • If you know of Patricias whereaboutsplease have her contact

    Deborah Falken at .

  • Left to right: Rich, Dave, Lisa, Pop and myself

    Four years and counting At the end of 2004, I was contemplating some major changes in my life. After 29 years of owning Sensible Auto Service I was thinking it 's time to move on as the stress of not only running the business but being the main technician was beginning to take it 's toll. I had already undergone a pioneering heart procedure in 03 and I felt I needed more downtime.

    I had been head-hunted by some top people at Standard Motor Products (an aftermarket giant) to work for them as either an instructor giving their pro tech seminars or helping run their tech support desk. Both offers were very nice financially as well as a nice stroke for the ego. Since I already had an offer on the table for the business, I thought here we go. I also hoped that more free time would allow me to start flying sailplanes again and even do some vintage racing as a driver rather than mechanic.

    Little did I know just how much my life was about to change

  • In March of 05, after a routine medical procedure ( angioplasty ) I suffered a massive heart attack. If I had not been in the recovery room already I would certainly have died... as it was the doctors told my wife I might only h