I remember swimming in the nice, clean, sandy-bottomed pool that John Handwerg built between the 4th and 5th holes on the River Vale Country Club. The pool never received too much attention from the golfers, I guess because they came there to play golf and not to play in the water. The pool shut down probably prior to the war.
By far the best and most memorable memories of mine all related to the outdoors of River Vale. All the years of my growing up in town, the woods, fields and little rivers were totally open areas. Anyone could go anyplace that they wanted. I can remember coming home from school and running toward the house already removing my school clothes so I could get out into the outside world in my old clothes with a minimum of lost time. I think that I hunted each and every day of hunting season and fished every day of fishing season and even beyond that.
I always felt that all the fields and woods and streams were my private playgrounds. All during the War it was very rare to meet anyone else in the woods because all the younger fellows were in the armed forces and all the older men were working in the defense plants day and night. No one but me seemed to have the time and passion to be out in the open all his waking hours. Sometimes with a friend, but very often all alone. Either way was fine with me.
Another outdoor pastime was muskrat trapping. I did a little of that for one or two years but I guess I left that up to those who were more interested in that pursuit than I was. We would sell the pelts, usually to Gordon's Hardware store in Westwood for about 3 or 4 dollars each. I think that people that went in to trapping seriously probably made quite a bit of money during the winter months. I was not one of these people.
There are just so many things that can be put on paper. The things such as the feeling and smell of the fresh air blowing through the tree tops or blowing across the field or the total peacefulness of fishing or playing in the beautiful Hackensack River cannot be transferred to paper, so they will remain only in the memories of those who have experienced them firsthand, as those of my era have experienced them. These things, coupled with the friendliness of the adult community of the little town of River Vale, have left me with most pleasant memories of the best possible place in the world where anyone could have grown up during my era.
THANKS, RIVER VALE!
The End. (almost)