The Autumn of 1969: Farewell Thy Summer
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Late August seemed to come all too quickly, for the Summer of 1969. For soon it would be Autumn. And, that meant returning to Boonton High School to begin my junior year. A sadness fell unto my heart.
It was very early Monday morning, the last Monday of August. I awoke, still half asleep, to hear my dad downstairs eating breakfast, talking with my mom. WOR, AM-710, played on the radio. It was the infamous “Rambling with Gambling.” John Gambling would provide a potpourri of easy listening music, local news, traffic updates, and weather reports to the tristate area.
In a few moments, I heard my dad start up his Ford Econoline pickup truck, begin to ascend Mabey Lane, and then drive off to work along historic Route 202, which passed in front of the old Mabey Homestead. Then I heard my mom collect the cereal bowls and coffee cups, as she began to wash the morning breakfast dishes. Ever so slowly, I fell back to sleep.
In that little time, of the early morning hours, I dreamt of my return back to Boonton High. I would see Pamela Rawlings once again. I wondered if my class would still be placed on the second floor, for homerooms. All during my sophomore year, the only time I would really see Pamela was in the hallway, at her locker, before homeroom time. And, then at the end of the school day, waiting for the school bus, standing beneath the infamous covered walk of Boonton High School. Sadly, Pamela Rawlings was not in any of my classes in my sophomore year.
During the whole time of the Summer of 1969, I only saw Pamela two or three times in town. Once at Moe’s Sweet Shop. Another time at the Shop-Rite. Then one other time, I had seen her at the hardware store. We were both with our fathers. A certain sadness befell upon my heart, as I drifted back into sleep and thought of Pamela. At dear old Chapel Hill School, Pamela and I were the best of friends. But, sadly, our close friendship seemed to have drifted apart in high school.
After breakfast, that last Monday morning of August, I climbed back up the stairs of the old Mabey Homestead. I sat at my desk and began writing an article for Mr. Marino’s legendary Lincoln Park Herald. This was the grand and glorious weekly newspaper of my little town. I began writing an article summarizing the special events that Boy Scout Troop 170 took part in during the summer.
Summer was now drifting away, evaporating, fading into the ethers as a stream of smoke from a summer campfire. Autumn was now arriving. Soon the leaves of the maples and oaks would turn from bright green to lemon yellow, burnt orange, and rusty red. The carefree days of summer were now funneled down to a small handful in number. I sat at my desk, looked out to Mabey Lane, and felt the sadness loom into the chambers of my heart. I returned my focus on writing my article for the Lincoln Park Herald. The Autumn of 1969 was soon to be born.