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Fond Memories of Wood-Ridge

Fond Memories of Wood-Ridge
By Herbert Flavell

| To view additional photos by Herbert Flavell, click here |

Our family had many roots in Wood-Ridge.  Grandfather James Kerr and 4 or 5 uncles were in the Fire Dept my Father George Flavell also was for over 25 years.  Most women in our family belonged to the Ladies Aux Dept. of Wood-Ridge.  All are gone now, I guess I'm the oldest Flavell left at 67.  Six of us Flavell kids went to W-R High, two live in upstate N.Y. one in North Jersey and three in PA at this website: www.angelfire.com/pa/bonniedellfarm.  

We moved here because Wood-Ridge once was like this area in the 30s and 40s.  I remember as a kid working at Strunks farm on Rt 17 and setting pins at the Fiesta and Eclipse Bowling Alleys.

We lived at 169 Hackensack St. the lot north of our house was a Ford dealer used car lot.  I remember as a boy of 8 being a crossed the street at I think at 158 Hackensack St listening to their radio on Sun, Dec 7, 1941 as they reported on Pearl Harbor.  We then moved to 301 Route 17 a cold water house where my family lived till they widened Rt 17.

My mother is seated left end. My grand mother Margaret Kerr seated 2nd from right. Mrs Fowler standing left end and her Mother not sure of her last name standing middle of top row in uniform.

My father tended bar at Joe's Bar and Grill now Nicks I think, he worked there till he retired in his 60's.  He passed away here in PA. in 1989 and was buried from the funeral home north of W-R high school.  I have many more memories of the good old days in Wood-Ridge .  I remember Doc Young the dentist south of the high school . Boy do I remember him.  All the kids in school called him Horse Doctor Young but he knew his dentistry. He did lots of work FREE.  I think where his house was is an apartment now.

I remember Chief Bugnon, Chief Tommy Stevens, Patrolman Tony Spina, and many other Wood-Ridge policeman.  We attended many of the nice picnic's the Fire Dept had each summer.  Before my father worked for Joe's, he had his own ice and coal business.  I was with him in his truck one day and the fire whistle blew. He flew to the fire house, jumped from his truck and ran for the fire engine.

My father George Flavell

Someone yelled "hey George your truck is rolling" there I was sitting in a truck rolling down the hill toward 4th Street. Lucky for me he caught the truck.  My Grandparents who lived at 63 4th Street would have been very surprised to see their oldest grandson in a truck wreck on their corner. Hmmm, oldest I think I was 4 at the time.  My Grandfather, James Kerr was an engineer at Bergen Pines he was also Fire Chief.  His son, my Uncle Arthur was also Chief.  Most of his other son's were also in the Dept.  They all served our country in WWII.

Let me mention a few names that in Churchill's words "never before have so many owed so much to so few".  That describes the teachers we grew up with. I can only name a few, most would be in their 80s or 90s now.  Carl Mueller boys gym teacher, football, basketball and baseball coach.  Nick Franicola, Asst Coach for those sports.  Bob Stoesser, English and Miss Reed also English. 

Paul Davis Supt of schools, Mrs Murry, Mr. Bowles science, and Mrs Trullenger. I delivered Mrs. Trullengers mail for 2 years when she lived in the North Arlington River View Gardens at 425-G before she moved to California. Those are only a few that helped shape the lives of thousands of kids that walked the halls of Wood-Ridge High.

Here is me from 1945 what a handsome guy.
Where did he go?

What I say next may amaze you, it has many other people that know this fact. My Mom and Dad lived in a little house behind what I think was called the Hilltop Tavern. The tavern was on the even side of Hackensack St at the Carlstadt border. They lived there when I was born on October 13, 1933, in Hackensack Hospital. I was the only one of 7 born in the hospital. We moved shortly after my birth to 169 Hackensack St. This may shock the family that lives there now, but 3 kids were born in a bedroom of that house.

My earliest memory is my father holding my hand as he walked me to my grandmothers at 63 4th Street. I wondered why we were walking because I loved to ride in his Ford Truck.  He wanted to take as long as he could because my mother was delivering my 1st sister Dorothy. This was on August 13 a few years later. Then came my 2nd sister Margaret on March 13. Then came a 3rd sister Marion but on September 14 she missed the 13th by 10 minutes darn daylight savings time. Then my 1st and only brother George was born on June 13th.

Then our youngest sister was born, she missed by a mile. Claire was born on Feb 27th.  Our fascination with 13 don't stop there. Our first daughter was born on November 13th.  Uncle Sam paid $25 to deliver her because I had been drafted into the USA and was stationed at  Ft Knox, KY. Hold on now, I'm not done yet. 

Our first Granddaughter was born on June 13th. Then to top that she delivered a son 3 years ago on November 13th. That's 3 generations of 1st born's on the 13th, a few being on Friday the 13th. My mother lost one child but I don't remember much about her except she was buried with my great grandfather in a cemetery in Hackensack, she was still born. I don't know how the school is now, but when I started kindergarten, it was on the lower floor of the high school. 

Kindergarten to 4th grade was there. For 5th and 6th we walked from the Heights border of Rt. 17 to the "Old School" by the Police Station. We ate lunch at Nana's house on 4th Street. Then 7th to 12th I was at the high school.  We had our share of crime then.  My mother was abducted as a child and taken into the woods on the hill between 6th and 8th St. I think that's the area. They caught him before he touched her and threw him in jail.

Good thing they did.  My grandfather was called "Big Jim" he was 6ft 3 and about 260. I remember one night walking home after a basketball game. There was a path down the cliff by Cliff St. that I used to go home. A car pulled up next to me, the door opened. As it did the light went on, there was a naked man. He yelled "get in kid", I yelled like he** and ran.  


I wonder how many of you remember the W-R Boy Scouts, Troop 3?  I do.  I remember the $3 sleeping bags and $3 rucksacks we purchased from the Rutherford Council. We had many, a great weekend camping trip at the East-Wood Cabin at Camp Tamerack in Oakland, N.J..  I remember one weekend that we met at the 102 bus stop to go to Hackensack. We boarded the Squeaky Hanna Banana line (Susquehanna Railroad) west bound and arrived at Oakland in the midst of a bad snow storm. 

By the time we walked to the entrance to Camp Tamerack, the snow was over 2 feet deep. We still had to walk over one mile to the cabin. You could see where I walked because I left the imprint of a gas lantern on one side and the imprint of a portable radio on the other. When we arrived at the cabin my feet were so cold that they had turned white, my first of 6 cases of frost bitten toes. I sat on my feet for hours to warm my toes.

To celebrate our safe arrival we threw rolls of toilet paper in the trees the next day. We had many great weekends at Camp Tamerack, many we slept in tents others we attached poncho's together as shelters. One night as we were trying to sleep under our poncho's in the rain, a deer ran over the end of our poncho and caused it to collapse on us. We got soaked that night.  More to follow...

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