One Hundred Year Celebration

You all know how much I loved growing up in Boonton. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed Gilmore Girls so much. There was something in the fictional town of Stars Hollow that reminded me of my town. Boonton is a quaint town. It even has its own version of the bar from the show Cheers, “where everybody knows your name.” I think Casey is the only one in our family who has never been to Johnny’s.

Our roots go back to the beginning of Boonton. We have Grandma’s Carey family in Boonton in 1870, and my three-times great grandparents, John and Johanna Nolan living there a few years earlier. Some of our ancestors were there around the time Boonton became officially incorporated as a town in 1867.

This brings me to 1967, when Boonton celebrated their centennial. There were two groups in town supporting the celebration: the Brothers of the Brush and the Sisters of the Swish. I remember that many men throughout town grew beards and I believe there were contests for the best beard. Can’t you just imagine Kirk and Taylor and Sookie and Miss Patty all donning their Civil War era garb for a similar celebration in Stars Hollow?

We had a parade that summer where bearded men dressed in period uniforms, and women dressed in long dresses and bonnets and marched in a parade down Main Street. In researching this event, I read that there was a truck decorated to look like a paddy wagon, which was a police vehicle used to round up criminals. The criminals in the centennial celebration were men who did not have beards.

There was also a time capsule buried in a small park located between Boonton High School and John Hill School. Although I am not sure what was placed inside, I feel confident that it contains at least one piece of Boontonware. The plan was for it to be opened in May 2067. I won’t be there, but perhaps some of you can be there for its unveiling.

Next year will be the sesquicentennial celebration. Jamie, you will have to keep me informed. Since I won’t be around for the bi-centennial celebration, maybe I will swing through town for that event. I am looking forward to hearing about the plans.

Sisters of the Swish Centennial Photo

Gliding Around Town

Did I ever take the three of you ice skating when you were young? I know we went roller skating many times, both in Rockaway and Florham Park. Those rinks were popular destinations for birthday parties, Girl Scout trips, and outings with friends and our family. I recall holding your tiny hands as you would wobble along as you were learning and then insist on doing it yourselves as you became more confident.

But did we go ice skating during the winter? I recall only one time. It was after we moved to North Carolina, and we decided to play tourist in New York City in 2005. That was during Kelly’s 21st birthday celebration. We saw Wicked, she had her first legal cocktail, and we went to Bryant Park where we all laced up our skates and ever so gingerly approached the rink. The setting was perfect. The five of us were all together, as was Marcus, and the backdrop was the skyscrapers of the Big Apple rising majestically into the evening sky as Christmas carols played on loudspeakers while we glided around the ice. It was magical—like a scene from a movie.

As a child, we went ice skating often. Some years, Grandpa would flood the area in the backyard where our pool sat during the summer. While that rink was small and often quite bumpy, we didn’t care. It was our own private space.

Our town would often create a rink in the area below Main Street above the falls. I remember going down there with my friends and skating until  I was so cold that I could barely move my fingers.

Other years, when we would have a sustained period of cold, we would skate on the river near the pond bridge. One time, I was skating with my friends, and Grandma decided to join us. You all know that she was quite the dancer, but did you know that she was quite the whiz on the ice?

We were practicing our unsteady moves while Grandma was showing off her twirls. I never knew my mom had this hidden talent.  I knew she could make the best cupcakes in the world as well as serve up a mean creamed tuna on toast on meatless Fridays, but I was not aware that she was a talented ice skater as well.

All of a sudden, poor Grandma was down on the ice, hitting the cold, hard surface with both elbows. Trying to act very cool and not wanting us know how much pain this caused her, she slowly got up and took a few more spins.

I am fairly confident that this fall resulted in a trip to the doctor where she got a shot in at least one elbow to help ease her pain. Oh, Mom! You could have told me when it happened. I would have given you a big hug!