The Autumn of 1969: Farewell Thy Summer


During my high school years, I spent a great deal of time at my desk in my bedroom, studying and doing homework, and often times writing articles for the infamous Lincoln Park Herald.

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.

Posted in 1969, Accomplishment, Acts of Kindness, Believe in yourself!, Boonton High School, Boyhood Days, Childhood Friend, Compassion, Creative Writing, Dad, Destiny, Determination, Divine Protection, Eerie, Encouragement, Faith, Finding Your Purpose in Life, Friendship, From boyhood to manhood, Giving, haunting feeling, Homecoming, Humility, Journey to Truth, Kindness, Life's Dreams, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Park Herald, Love of Family, Love one another, Mabey History, Mabey Homestead, Memory, My Old New Jersey Home, Mysteries of Old Lincoln Park, Never give up!, New Jersey, Newspapers, Nostalgia, Pamela, Radio, Route 202, Sacrifice, Small Town America, Small Town Weekly Newspaper, Spiritual Lesson, Stand Tall, The Unexplained, Wisdom | Leave a comment

A Sacred Moment of Cutting Carrots and Peeling Potatoes

Mom and I.

A Sacred Moment of Cutting Carrots and Peeling Potatoes

By Richard Mabey Jr.

Background:

It is the first day of summer vacation of 1969. I am 15 years old and have just completed my sophomore year at Boonton High School.

It was about 3:30 in the afternoon, when we got home to the old Mabey Homestead on Mabey Lane. My sister Patti, who was 10 years old at the time, ran outside to play on the swing set with her friends from the neighborhood. I needed to talk with my mom, so I volunteered to help Mom with supper.

As Mom peeled and cut the carrots, I peeled and cut up the potatoes. I told my mom, in detail, all about what had happened with the seemingly deranged man pounding on the door of Saint Andrew’s Thorpe Hall.

I remember this moment so very well. Mom held my hand for a moment and simply said to me, “Jesus was with you. Jesus protected you from that horrible man. Richie, you must remember that. Always remember that Jesus is always with you.” Mom’s kind words brought comfort to my heart.

As I watched Mom peel and cut the carrots, as I peeled and cut the potatoes, I saw the love in my mom’s eyes. And, I then realized, perhaps for the first time in my life, that with every cut of the carrot in her hand, Mom was showing her love for her family. In this very plain and ordinary act of cutting carrots, Mom was saying “I love you” so ever soft and gently.

For this was a sacred moment. As sacred as the sacrament given in the most beautiful chapel on the planet. I looked out at the back window, from where I sat at the kitchen table. There was my sister swinging on the swing set with a little girl from the neighborhood. There was the clicking of the kitchen clock, hung up just to the left of the back kitchen window. There was the voice of my mom humming the tune of “How Great Thou Art” as she sliced and cut the stack of carrots in front of her. Yes, this was a moment in time that touched the deepest chambers of my heart.

“When your Dad comes home, you’ll have to tell him about that man who pounded on the door at Saint Andrew’s Church, while you were painting,” Mom said to me in a gentle, but firm voice.

“I will Mom, I will,” I replied.

“I’ll worry about you tomorrow, you know that, don’t you?”

“I know you will, Mom,” I replied.

“I love you Richie, I don’t want anything to happen to you. You understand?” Mom said to me, as she continued to cut up the carrots into thin pieces.

I felt a lump in my throat as I held back my tears. It was not all that often that my Mom told me that she loved me, in the days of my teen years.

“I love you too, Mom,” I said to Mom as I cut a potato into small cubes.

Sometimes, the grand and glorious moments of life are not found in the monumental ballrooms of a cousin’s wedding reception. Sometimes, the most illustrious beauty of life is not found in the brilliance of a large diamond. And, all that glitters, is not gold. Sometimes, the dearest and most cherished memories that hold fast to an old man’s heart, are the ones that took place at the plain, ordinary kitchen table of the kitchen of the old farmhouse wherein that old man grew up in.

Love one another. Cherish the people you love. Tell them that you love them. There is nowhere to be found, a written guarantee that they will be with us tomorrow.

Posted in 1969, Accomplishment, Acts of Kindness, Advice to the younger set, Be Strong!, Beavertown, Believe in yourself!, Boyhood Days, Broken Heart, Compassion, Creative Writing, Cutting Carrots, Determination, Divine Protection, Early Childhood, Encouragement, Faith, Forgiveness, Friendship, From boyhood to manhood, Giving, Healing, Holy Bible, Homecoming, Journey to Truth, Kindness, Love of Family, Love one another, Mabey History, Memory, Mom, Never give up!, New Jersey, NJ, Nostalgia, Route 202, Small Town America, Spiritual Lesson, Wisdom | Leave a comment

I Remember Dad: Miracle at Hickam Air Field

I Remember Dad:

Miracle at Hickam Air Field

By Richard Mabey Jr.

What draws us to the place we call home? Is there some inner calling, deep within the core of our heart centers, that draws us to a specific, pin-point place on the planet? My people were drawn to the land known as Peace Valley, by the Native Americans. They came to this place long before the Revolutionary War, in the early 1600’s.

They sought the comfort of the foothills of Hook Mountain. The flowing waters of the Passaic and Pompton Rivers. This land, this parcel of land, of roughly seven square miles, was once known as Beavertown, before being named after the great president, Abraham Lincoln.

My father came into this world in the home that his father had built at the end of Mabey Lane. Dad grew up among the pine, the elm, the oak and the maple. He worked with his father at the family ice house, located along the old Morris Canal, just due east of Incline Plane Ten East.

But now my beloved father was in a strange place, halfway across the globe, living on an airfield in Hawaii. It is the Summer of 1943. Practically the entire world is at war. It’s been a full year now, that Dad has been in the U. S. Army Air Corps.

And as my Grandma Mabey prayed for her two sons, Edward and Richard, to be protected by the good Lord’s grace; Dad was climbing the ladders attached to long fuel tank-trucks, to fuel up the hundreds and hundreds of military planes that filled Hickam Air Field.

There comes a moment in time. A precious moment, it is. A lieutenant rode across Hickam Airfield. He watched this young private, climb the ladder to reach the top of the fuel truck. This lieutenant was watching my dad, working quickly and efficiently, almost with a cadence of overflowing enthusiasm that drew the attention of this young lieutenant.

The lieutenant asked his sergeant, who was driving the jeep, if he knew who this young, enthusiastic, hard-working private was. The sergeant simply answered the lieutenant, saying, “his name is Mabey.”

“Sergeant drive over to Mabey,” the lieutenant ordered.

“Yes sir,” the sergeant replied.

The story goes that my dad climbed down from atop the fuel truck and saluted his sergeant and his lieutenant.

There was a kind of caustic tone in the lieutenant’s voice. But it was ever-so-slightly filled with a tinge of brotherhood. A brotherhood for the cause to win the war.

“Private, how would you like to work on the planes? Fix them up?”

My father simply replied, “I’d like that, sir.”

The lieutenant then looked to his sergeant. “Sergeant have this private begin mechanic’s training, tomorrow morning.”

“Yes, sir,” the sergeant replied.

The lieutenant looked my dad in the eye. Then pointed to a nearby airplane hangar.

“Mabey, report to the hangar tomorrow morning, o seven hundred hour, right after breakfast.”

“Yes, sir,” Dad replied.

“Sergeant, let’s go,” the lieutenant commanded to his jeep driver.

My father’s life was about to change. He was about to begin a new venture, in his long-stay at Hickam Air Field.

My dad told me that story a few dozen times. Life is so funny at times. Miracles do happen. I doubt if that lieutenant had any idea why he told his sergeant to drive over to my dad that fateful mid-afternoon. I think the good Lord had something to do with it.

Posted in 1943, Accomplishment, Acts of Kindness, Be Strong!, Believe in yourself!, Compassion, Creative Writing, Dad, Days of Being a Young Man, Destiny, Determination, Divine Protection, Dreams, Encouragement, Faith, Friendship, From boyhood to manhood, Giving, Hawaii, Heroism, Hickam Air Field, Humility, I Remember Dad, Journey to Truth, Kindness, Love of Family, Love one another, Mabey History, Memory, Moving On, Never give up!, Pear Harbor, Pearl Harbor, Sacrifice, Spiritual Lesson, Stand Tall, Wisdom, World War II | Leave a comment

Grandma Moves Into The Old Mabey Homestead

Grandma Moves Into The Old Mabey Homestead

By Richard Mabey Jr.

In late August of 1969, my maternal grandmother, Lydia Kemmerer, came to visit with us. Grandpa had just taken ill and was now in the hospital. Grandma found it hard to live alone at her home on Boonton Avenue in Boonton. I remember, it was just about a week or so before school started that Mom, Grandma, my sister Patti and I would visit Grandpa, every day, at the old Riverside Hospital in Boonton.

This was the time period just before Grandpa was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The doctors were just beginning to run a series of medical tests to see what it was that was robbing Grandpa of his health.

Grandma slept in the spare room, which was the bedroom that was on the right-hand side as soon you climbed up the stairs of the old Mabey Homestead. As if the odds were ten million to one, just days before Grandma moved in with us, Aunt Helen left to visit her sister Eleanor in Upstate New York.

There was a little desk in the bedroom that looked out to the woods behind our house. In the morning time, before we all gathered for breakfast, Grandma would sit at that little desk and read her Bible. Since she kept her bedroom door opened, one morning when I walked down the hallway from my bedroom, I couldn’t help but to notice Grandma sitting at the little desk. Her Bible was open to the Book of Matthew. And, the fingers of Grandma’s hands were intertwined, her forehead rested upon her hands as she was silently praying.

I guess at that moment in time, I was innately checking on Grandma, to see if she was okay. It was early morning and Dad had just left for work. I only looked into Grandma’s bedroom for a few seconds, but the scenario of Grandma earnestly praying, deeply touched my heart.

I remember going back to my own bedroom and earnestly praying at my own desk. I took out my Bible and read a few passages and returned to praying for Grandpa to come home safely.

Grandma Kemmerer was a soft-spoken woman. She had an immensely kind heart. She was a most, deeply religious woman. The ordeal of seeing her beloved husband, the only man whom she ever loved, go through a myriad of medical tests, wore heavily upon Grandma’s heart, mind, and soul.

Autumn came upon us that year, in all of its colorful glory. The green leaves of the maples and oaks changed to colors of lemon yellow, bright orange, and burnt red. The air began to change from sun-filled warmth to a crisp, cool, coldness. Coats were dug out from the back of the closet.

When I school started, I so dreaded not being able to go to the hospital during the day to see Grandpa. I would bring my Bible to school with me and during my study hall periods, quietly read the sacred pages. And, then secretly pray within for Grandpa to come home, safe and healthy again.

Posted in 1969, Accomplishment, Be Strong!, Beavertown, Believe in yourself!, Boyhood Days, Destiny, Determination, Divine Protection, Encouragement, Faith, Finding Your Purpose in Life, Forgiveness, From boyhood to manhood, Giving, Grandma Kemmerer, Healing, Holy Bible, Homecoming, Hook Mountain, Humility, Kindness, Lincoln Park, Love one another, Mabey History, Memory, Moving On, My Old New Jersey Home, Never give up!, New Jersey, Nostalgia, Small Town America, Wisdom | Leave a comment

Farewell Thy Summer of 1969

Farewell Thy Summer of 1969

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.

Posted in 1969, Accomplishment, Acts of Kindness, Be Strong!, Believe in yourself!, Boonton High School, Boy Scout Troop 170, Boy Scouts, Boyhood Days, Broken Heart, Childhood Friend, Dad, Destiny, Determination, Divine Protection, Dreams, Encouragement, Faith, Friendship, From boyhood to manhood, haunting feeling, Healing, Homecoming, Hook Mountain, Humility, Kindness, Life's Dreams, Lincoln Park Herald, Love of Family, Mabey History, Mabey Homestead, Mabey Lane, Memory, Moe's Sweet Shop, Moving On, My Old New Jersey Home, Mysteries of Old Lincoln Park, Never give up!, New Jersey, Newspapers, NJ, Nostalgia, Old Beavertown, Old Lincoln Park, Pamela, Romance, Route 202, Sacrifice, Scouting Journal, Small Town America, Small Town Weekly Newspaper, Spiritual Lesson, Stand Tall, Troop 170 | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Gentle Call of Home

The Gentle Call of Home

By Richard Mabey Jr.

In my nostalgic walk up Main Street, from Moe’s Sweet Shop to home, I finally arrived at the top of West Drive. There, standing atop the country lane, I could see my old home from an angle that I had not looked at the old farmhouse in a long time. I was weary and worn and the humble farmhouse was almost calling me to the warmth, security and love that abided within its walls.

I walked along Route 202, which was also known as Main Street, taking in the majestic splendor of the old Mabey Homestead. I then walked down Mabey Lane. The little country road once was a ribbon that led one all the way to the old Mabey Icehouse. Now, it simply stopped a ways down at the home that my grandfather had built when he was a young man.

I walked to the driveway of my house and for a moment or two, took in the wonderful scene of the tall, towering maple tree upon which I had built my three-tier tree fort. There beneath the canopy of maple leaves, humbly stood my sister Patti’s little dollhouse. It was essentially my sister’s clubhouse, a refuge for her and the two neighborhood girls, who were both close to Patti’s age.

As I looked at the cute little dollhouse, I saw my dear, sweet, gray striped cat, Little One, sitting beside the small white building. He looked up at me as if to be calling me home. As strange as it may sound, when Little One came over to me. It was as if he was welcoming me home. I picked up the cute little cat and held him in my arms. He looked up at me, and eyeball to eyeball almost spoke to me. It was as if my 15-year-old self was his daddy and he was thanking me to be held in the security of my arms.

At that moment in time, I noticed that Patti’s white, wood-framed dollhouse was in dire need of being painted. For one split-second, I felt a deep, heart-felt questioning that flowed from the core of my soul. I had put so much time, hard work and effort into painting the inside of Thorpe Hall, I neglected the painting needs in my own backyard. I was now only half-way through painting Thorpe Hall and I still had to paint the kitchen, the downstairs hallway and the five or six classrooms on the first floor. I took a deep breath. My beloved cat gently purred as I petted his forehead.

A gentle summer’s breeze swirled about me. I felt the presence of the Divine Spirit calling me home. My little cat looked up to me, as I held him in my arms. For one solitary moment there were no worries about SAT tests, final exams, book reports, term papers and the bullies at Boonton High. There were no worries about the time table to complete this vast painting project of the inside of Thorpe Hall, and figuring out how to raise more money to buy more paint.

There was only the warmth of the sun shining brightly from the heavens, a gentle breeze, the comfort of the shade of the old maple tree and a beloved little cat purring in my arms.

Posted in 1969, Accomplishment, Acts of Kindness, Be Strong!, Beavertown, Believe in yourself!, Compassion, Creative Writing, Destiny, Determination, Divine Protection, Dreams, Encouragement, Faith, Finding Your Purpose in Life, Friendship, From boyhood to manhood, Giving, Hook Mountain, Humility, Journey to Truth, Kindness, Life's Dreams, Lincoln Park, Little One, Love of Family, Love one another, Mabey History, Mabey Homestead, Mabey Lane, Memory, Moe's Sweet Shop, Moving On, My Old New Jersey Home, Never give up!, New Jersey, NJ, Nostalgia, Old Beavertown, Old Lincoln Park, Richard's Maple Tree, Sacrifice, Small Town America, Spiritual Lesson, Stand Tall, To thine own self be true., Walking Distance, Wisdom, Wisdom of Animals | Tagged | Leave a comment

I Remember Dad: Remembering Dad’s Love For Life

By Richard Mabey Jr.

Dad’s love for life, his boyish impetuosity, his ability to bring heart-felt joy to others, was so well exemplified when he became the pirate character’s assistant for a few minutes during one of our visits to Disney World.    

My father kept a part of his boyish spirit tucked into the chambers of his heart, all of his life. He saw opportunities for joy, splendor, fun and child-like wonder, in places where a thousand other people simply passed by or ignored the golden opportunity to bring a moment of joy and splendor to the lives of others.

One such classic example, came during one of our visits to Disney World in Florida. It was in the Summer of 1995 and Dad had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Dad was in the midst of radiation treatments. He asked his doctor if it would be okay to take four days to visit Disney World. Dad’s doctor gave my father the green light to go to Disney World. I remember that Dad told me that his doctor told him that it might do him a world of good to get away for a few days.

So, my mom and dad, my sister Patti and I visited Disney World for a few days. I remember this moment so very well. There was a person dressed in a cartoon-like character, pirate outfit. This pirate character wore a blue-striped shirt and a bright red hat. He was off to the side, away from the flow of people moving from one ride to another. He simply walked around in a small radius of about 10 feet. This pirate character would wave to people, salute them, or simply act silly.

Well, I think it would be safe to say that well over a thousand people passed by this pirate character. Many of them probably never even noticed the pirate’s silly antics. Some did see the pirate, but just simply glanced over for a second or two and then carried on, briskly walking to the next amusement ride. Some did stop for a moment to wave at the funny, pirate character.

I am proud to say that it was my dad who went over to talk to the pirate character. The pirate would answer Dad with silent, cartoon language and universally understood body movements. Then, the pirate character, once again, began saluting the throngs of people walking by. Out of the blue and being completely in the moment, Dad began joining the pirate character in saluting the people passing by.

Well, within a few seconds a small crowd gathered in front of Dad and the pirate character. They began saluting back to Dad and the pirate character. Children stopped, stood at attention and saluted the pirate and his newly adopted assistant. Then, the parents of the children joined in. Smiles abounded. Laughter began filling the air. People suddenly stopped their mad dash to the next ride and found joy, wonder, laughter and splendor in the moment.

My father had the uncanny gift to find joy and upliftment in the simplest things of life. To some extent, for those few minutes, my dad’s childlike joy even brought a certain joy to the pirate character himself.

I try my best to emulate my father’s love for life. To bring joy and happiness to others. In these days of political differences and highly opinionated perspectives, it is not easy. But from time to time, I think of how my dad could take the simplest things in life and breathe a certain joy into them.

From serving as a Scoutmaster, to his work as a long-distance truck driver, to his later-life service a crossing guard, Dad found splendor and joy in places where all so many people would simply walk past.

Posted in Accomplishment, Acts of Kindness, Be Strong!, Believe in yourself!, Compassion, Creative Writing, Dad, Destiny, Determination, Disney World, Divine Protection, Dreams, Encouragement, Faith, Finding Your Purpose in Life, Forgiveness, Friendship, Homecoming, Humility, Humour, I Remember Dad, Life's Dreams, Love of Family, Love one another, Mabey History, Never give up!, New Jersey, NJ, Nostalgia, Sacrifice, Spiritual Lesson, Stand Tall, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment

I Remember Dad: Dad’s Love for His Grandmother

By Richard Mabey Jr.

Dad as a baby, being held by his grandmother, Dora Mabey.

One of the single most positive role models for my dad, when he was growing up, was his paternal grandmother, Isadora Dolson Mabey. My great grandmother was born in 1878, just three years after General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. Great Grandma grew up in New York City. How she came to meet and know my great grandfather, William Mabey, who lived in Beavertown, now known as Lincoln Park, is a great mystery.

Dad was born in the very home that his father built, at the end of Mabey Lane. Dad was the fifth of nine children, he had eight brothers and one sister. My grandmother often told me that of all her children, my dad was the closest to his grandmother.

Dad, himself, often told me that when he was a boy that he would often walk up Mabey Lane to visit his grandmother. Great Grandpa Mabey went Home to be with the Lord in 1936, after suffering from a severe stroke. He was 67 years old. Dad was eight years old at the time.

What I remember most about my great grandma, when we would visit her, is seeing her sitting in her big rocking chair in the living room of the old Mabey Homestead. Dora Mabey was a rather frail looking woman, but at times she was tough as nails. And, at other times she was sweeter than Tupelo Honey.  

When I was a little boy, my mom would have me wear my little suit to visit Great Grandma Mabey. Mom would wear one of her best dresses and Dad would wear his navy-blue suit. It was a different time in the early fifties and having Sunday dinner with Great Grandma had an air of formality about it.

They say that you’re not supposed to remember things from early childhood. But I remember our visits with Great Grandma Mabey, very well. She had a rather high-pitched voice, with a kind of shrill to it. She was rather animated and would use her hands a lot, to drive home a point.

I remember Great Grandma telling Mom and I these wonderful stories about my dad as a young boy. How he loved to climb the big, tall maple tree in her backyard. Destiny called me to build a three-tier tree fort on that very same tree, shortly after we moved into the old Mabey Homestead.

Apparently Great Grandma Mabey was Dad’s confidant. He wrote her many letters when he was at Hickam Air Field, in Hawaii, during the Second World War. When Dad first started dating Mom, she met Great Grandma Mabey shortly after meeting Grandma and Grandpa.

Fortunately, Great Grandma gave the nod of approval to her grandson to marry Mom. That sounds so funny, in these modern times. But it was a different time, a different culture, in the early 1950’s.

I still remember Great Grandma telling these wonderful stories of how my dad, when he was a boy, would shovel her driveway for her. How he would do a lot of chores, around the house, for his grandmother. One thing that was very near and dear to Great Grandma’s heart, is that Dad would always plant a garden for her. And, when he came home from the war, one of the first things that Dad did was to plant a garden for his grandmother.

In October of 1959, Great Grandma Mabey went Home to be with the Lord. Dad bought the house from his three aunts and we moved into the old Mabey Homestead in November of 1959. I was just six years old and in the first grade.

In the 1960’s, our black and white television, complete with a rabbit ears antenna atop it, was located just to the left-hand side of where Great Grandma had her grand and glorious rocking chair. Often times Dad would look at that place, between the television and the staircase banister. It wasn’t uncommon for Dad to say to me, “I can still see my grandmother sitting in her rocking chair, right there.” Then, Dad would point to that sacred place.

Many times, as a child, when I would go to bed at night, I could hear the creaking sound of a rocking chair. My dad was a very practical man. He was a deeply religious man. From time to time, he would tell us that he saw Great Grandma sitting in her rocking chair, when he would climb down the steps, on his way to work in the early morning.

I know people love to put limits on what is possible and what is not possible. But, can love be limited? Can God’s love for us be limited? I simply present this true-life story as a testament to the infinite power of love.

Posted in Acts of Kindness, Be Strong!, Beavertown, Believe in yourself!, Boyhood Days, Compassion, Dad, Destiny, Determination, Divine Protection, Dora Mabey, Early Childhood, Encouragement, Faith, Finding Your Purpose in Life, From boyhood to manhood, Giving, Healing, Heroism, Homecoming, Humility, I Remember Dad, Journey to Truth, Kindness, Life's Dreams, Lincoln Park, Love of Family, Love one another, Mabey History, Mabey Homestead, Memory, My Old New Jersey Home, Never give up!, New Jersey, NJ, Nostalgia, Old Beavertown, Old Lincoln Park, Sacrifice, Small Town America, Spiritual Lesson, Stand Tall, To thine own self be true., Uncategorized, Wisdom | Leave a comment

I Remember Dad: The Front Page

By Richard Mabey Jr.

One of the greatest honors that was ever bestowed upon me, was when I was presented the golden opportunity to write the front page story for the old Lincoln Park Journal about my dad and Jack Floyd receiving the Scoutmasters of they Year Award. This was back in early 1987. Dad received the Scoutmaster of the Year for the Boonton District. And Jack Floyd received the Assistant Scoutmaster of the Year Award for the Boonton District.

At that point in time, Dad was serving his 21st year as Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 170. And, Mr. Floyd was serving his 24th year as Assistant Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 170.

I was the one who took the picture of my dad and Jack Floyd standing in front of the “Scout Awards Wall” of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church’s Thorpe Hall. It is a most strange and bewildering thing, because I was the very person who created the Scout Awards Wall, back in the Summer of 1969, when I painted Thorpe Hall for my Eagle Scout Project.

Dad and Jack were as close as brothers. After Jack’s first wife passed away, Jack remarried quite a few years later. Jack asked Dad to be his Best Man when he and Lee married. My dad was deeply honored.

Jack was like an adopted uncle to me. Dad, Jack and I, and the scouts of Boy Scout Troop 170 shared 10,000 memories together. We went on several week-long, rugged hikes of the Appalachian Trail. We went on dozens and dozens of scout campouts. We survived the rapids of the Delaware River on quite a few, week-long canoe trips.

When I received my Eagle Scout, Dad told me that he just wanted to be my dad and not my Scoutmaster for the important event. So, I asked Jack to honor me, by presenting my Eagle Scout medal to me. Jack told me that he was honored that I asked him. And, I hold the historic record in Boy Scout Troop 170 of being the only scout to have received the highest rank of scouting from Assistant Scoutmaster Jack Floyd.

Both Dad and Jack lost their battles with cancer. At times, I can feel their spiritual presence so strong. When I am faced with making a hard decision, going through rough times, or just struggling with my writing; I can hear the gentle echo of both Dad and Jack’s voices sharing words of assurance with me.

In so many ways, I have been very blessed to have had so many positive role models in my life. Things were not always honey and roses. There were times when I had to learn the hard lessons of being disciplined.

Like when I got a D on my first chemistry test in high school. Dad’s answer to the problem was very simple. “Richie, you need to study more,” was all Dad said about the subject. And, my father was right, he was all so very right. I really had not put my best foot forward in chemistry class. I am glad to say that I earned a B as my final year-end grade in that chemistry class.

I think that love is the key that unlocks the door to most every problem that we could ever face in life. Love melts away the ugly wall of prejudice. Love inspires. Love can take us to another dimension, to find hidden talents sleeping deep within our inner selves. For love truly is the key to life.

Posted in 1987, Accomplishment, Acts of Kindness, Be Strong!, Believe in yourself!, Boy Scout Troop 170, Boy Scouts, Compassion, Creative Writing, Dad, Destiny, Determination, Divine Protection, Dreams, Encouragement, Faith, Finding Your Purpose in Life, Giving, Healing, Homecoming, Humility, I Remember Dad, Journey to Truth, Kindness, Leadership, Life's Dreams, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Park History, Lincoln Park Journal, Love of Family, Love one another, Mabey History, Memory, Modern Life, Mourning, Moving On, My Old New Jersey Home, Mysteries of Old Lincoln Park, Never give up!, Newspapers, NJ, Nostalgia, Old Beavertown, Old Lincoln Park, Sacrifice, Small Town America, Small Town Weekly Newspaper, Stand Tall, The Mourning Heart, To thine own self be true., Troop 170, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Leave a comment

I Remember Dad: Remembering Dad’s Love for Life

By Richard Mabey Jr.

Dad having fun at Disney World!

My father kept a part of his boyish spirit tucked into the chambers of his heart, all of his life. He saw opportunities for joy, splendor, fun and child-like wonder, in places where a thousand other people simply passed by or ignored the golden opportunity to bring a moment of joy and splendor to the lives of others.

One such classic example, came during one of our visits to Disney World in Florida. It was in the Summer of 1995 and Dad had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Dad was in the midst of radiation treatments. He asked his doctor if it would be okay to take four days to visit Disney World. Dad’s doctor gave my father the green light to go to Disney World. I remember that Dad told me that his doctor told him that it might do him a world of good to get away for a few days.

So, my mom and dad, my sister Patti and I visited Disney World for a few days. I remember this moment so very well. There was a person dressed in a cartoon-like character, pirate outfit. This pirate character wore a blue-striped shirt and a bright red hat. He was off to the side, away from the flow of people moving from one ride to another. He simply walked around in a small radius of about 10 feet. This pirate character would wave to people, salute them, or simply act silly.

Well, I think it would be safe to say that well over a thousand people passed by this pirate character. Many of them probably never even noticed the pirate’s silly antics. Some did see the pirate, but just simply glanced over for a second or two and then carried on, briskly walking to the next amusement ride. Some did stop for a moment to wave at the funny, pirate character.

I am proud to say that it was my dad who went over to talk to the pirate character. The pirate would answer Dad with silent, cartoon language and universally understood body movements. Then, the pirate character, once again, began saluting the throngs of people walking by. Out of the blue and being completely in the moment, Dad began joining the pirate character in saluting the people passing by.

Well, within a few seconds a small crowd gathered in front of Dad and the pirate character. They began saluting back to Dad and the pirate character. Children stopped, stood at attention and saluted the pirate and his newly adopted assistant. Then, the parents of the children joined in. Smiles abounded. Laughter began filling the air. People suddenly stopped their mad dash to the next ride and found joy, wonder, laughter and splendor in the moment.

My father had the uncanny gift to find joy and upliftment in the simplest things of life. To some extent, for those few minutes, my dad’s childlike joy even brought a certain joy to the pirate character himself.

I try my best to emulate my father’s love for life. To bring joy and happiness to others. In these days of political differences and highly opinionated perspectives, it is not easy. But from time to time, I think of how my dad could take the simplest things in life and breathe a certain joy into them.

From serving as a Scoutmaster, to his work as a long-distance truck driver, to his later-life service a crossing guard, Dad found splendor and joy in places where all so many people would simply walk past.

Posted in Accomplishment, Acts of Kindness, Be Strong!, Believe in yourself!, Central Florida, Compassion, Dad, Destiny, Determination, Dreams, Faith, Finding Your Purpose in Life, Friendship, Giving, Homecoming, Humour, Journey to Truth, Kindness, Life's Dreams, Memory, Modern Life, Never give up!, Sacrifice, Spiritual Lesson, Stand Tall, Thanksgiving, To thine own self be true., Wisdom | Leave a comment