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Fond Memories of Wood-Ridge

Fond Memories of Wood-Ridge
By Patti Knowles

My grandparents, John & Helen Knowles, moved to Wood-Ridge around 1930 with my aunt, Marcella Knowles Galten & my dad, Johnny Knowles. They purchased their home at 207 Valley Boulevard and the kids attend Assumption School. Grandma once told me that they paid $25 month for the house & the first winter they were there the roof was blown off in a storm & they had to get a loan to replace it, which was another $5 month!! A lot of money for the times! She had to scrimp & save so she made most of the clothes for her kids.

Johnny went to WRHS and in 1946, I think, he joined the Navy. After seeing the world and being discharged, he went back to W-R and got a job at Wood-Ridge National Bank. He got married to my mom, Kathleen McGuinness of Jersey City & moved her to W-R.

In 1951 he joined the Wood-Ridge Police Dept.

My parents had 4 girls, Marcella in 1952 (she passed away in 1966), Patti (Me) 1953, Kathy 1955 & Susan 1957. We lived at 365 Highland Ave. All of the girls attended Assumption School and Patti & Kathy graduated from WRHS. My parents moved to Florida in 1972.

I remember 4th of July Celebrations that were held at the high school field. There were foot races and games. I won a $5 gift certificate, one year, from Maryann's (Owned by Mrs. Rosalie Saggio, wife of Joe Saggio of the WRPD.).

My grandparents' house was on the corner of the Blvd & Columbia Blvd. There were parades on Memorial Day (Decoration Day, my grandma called it), and my grandparents hosted their friends on the front stoop, where they had a great view of the parades. My dad usually marched, either with the police department or the Holy Name Society of Assumption parish and all of us girls were Girl Scouts who also marched. The parade ended at the American Legion, on the Blvd between Highland & Marlboro where there were hot dogs, soda & ice cream for everyone!

I remember sledding down Highland to 10th Street in the winter & the police would block off 10th St. so we would be safe.

We would play stick ball on Seventh Street.

I remember when the new slide was installed at the park at the Blvd & Highland. It had a "HUGE" bump in the middle & we were all so afraid of the height!!

At Christmas time, the fire department would drive Santa Claus all around the town on a fire engine, tossing candy to us and calling to each of us by name!! It just had to be Santa...who else would know us all??? (Thank you, Ernie Rolfs!!)

Growing up in Wood-Ridge was very innocent. We would get on our bikes in the morning & ride all over town & down to Woodland Park. We could be gone all day and no one needed to worry about us. Everyone knew everyone else. If we misbehaved we knew our parents would hear about it!!

We would hear the whistle at Wrights at 4:30 and then the traffic on Highland Ave. was crazy...for 20 minutes!

I attended Kindergarten in the High School in what was later the Mechanical Drawing room. I had Mrs. Liming for the first half of Kindergarten but she came down with pneumonia. So the second half we had Mrs. Hiltbold (sp?). Kindergarten closed early that year. They started building Windsor School so it would be ready for the fall. Then it was off to Assumption & 8 years of uniforms. In 1967 I graduated and then I attended WRHS.

When we were in the 7th grade we started attending "Social Dancing" in the All Purpose room at the High School on Thursday nights. I think this was the town's way of making sure we knew all the "social graces" & the Assumption School kids went with the public school kids. What a blast! Mrs. Updike came with her little record player and taught us the fox trot, jitterbug & who knows what other dances! Girls had to wear dress & white gloves; boys had to wear ties! That was probably 1965 - 67.

One day, sometime in the 60s, Frank Lovejoy stopped by our house on Highland Ave. and told my parents that he had been born in the house next door (371) but had moved to our house (365) as a little boy! That was our claim to fame!!

In High School there were dances on Friday nights until 10 p.m. We'd have some garage band playing the latest hits!! In the summer there would be Block Dances between the high school & Windsor School.

My grandmother, Helen Knowles, was instrumental in organizing the "Golden Age Club". She was also a member of the Rosary Society at Assumption.

I left WR in 1972. But my memories of growing up in such a town grow sweeter every year!

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