Friday, August 31, 2012

Kinnelon's Girl Scouts: Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

Rebecca Sinski, Kinnelon Girl Scout & One
of Tomorrow's Leaders
Several years ago, I attended my first Eco-Trek at Lake Rickabear, a Girl Scout Camp located in Kinnelon. It had been almost 30 years since I was last a Girl Scout, and I was really glad to see that the organization was still going strong.

The following year I was invited to an orientation for team captains to kick off the next Eco-Trek. The speaker was Helen Wronski, the President and CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey. She spoke about the importance of Girl Scouts in today’s world and how the organization has shifted its focus from the 3 “C”s – crafts, camping and cookies, to empowering young girls to become tomorrow’s leaders.

Yesterday, Helen’s words came back to me as I read a letter that was left in my mailbox by a young woman named Rebecca Sinski. She moved into my neighborhood with her family 2 years ago. In the letter, Rebecca asked for help from neighbors with one of her biggest goals- receiving the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Let me introduce to you my new neighbor Rebecca Sinski. I’ll let her fill in the details about her goals in life and her upcoming project.

Q : Rebecca, tell me a little bit about yourself.

A : Though I just moved to Stonybrook Highlands two years ago, I’ve lived in Kinnelon my entire life. This year I’ll be a senior at Kinnelon High School where I’m involved in Winter & Spring Track and Student Council. I’m hoping to have a memorable last year, make it through the college application process, and earn the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Q : What do you like about living in Kinnelon?

A : Kinnelon is beautiful, community-oriented and simply a great place to grow up.

Q : How long have you been a Girl Scout and what do you enjoy most about scouting?

A : I’ve been a Girl Scout since I was in second grade. When I was younger I loved it because I was always doing fun things with my friends but now I realize that being a Girl Scout has allowed me to do things that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to. The best part, though, is being able to help others.

Q : What is the Girl Scout Gold Award?

A : It is an 80 hour community service project designed to encourage young women to take action and make a difference in their communities.

Q : What have you chosen as your project?

A : To establish and sustain a food pantry at the Tomorrows Children’s Institute (TCI) at Hackensack University Medical Center. At TCI, pediatric patients with cancer and serious blood disorders seek treatment in a warm and caring environment from dedicated professionals. But many families and patients struggle during their time at TCI as treatment puts an economic and emotional strain on them. I hope that a food pantry at TCI will alleviate some of their stress.

Q : Why did you choose this particular organization for your project? Does the Tomorrows Children’s Institute have special meaning to you?

A : My mom, Annette, has been working at the Tomorrows Children’s Institute as an Advanced Practice Nurse for 14 years. Because of her, I’ve always had a concern for cancer patients and their families. In 2010 I started volunteering at TCI during the summer and have continued to volunteer for the past three years. When it came time to decide on a project for my Gold Award, I immediately knew I wanted the patients of the Tomorrows Children’s Institute to benefit from it.

Q : I see that you are collecting a list of specific food items.
  • Protein food: canned or dried beans (kidney or garbanzo), lentils, peanut butter, nuts, tuna fish, canned fish, canned ham, canned turkey, canned chicken
  • Grains: whole grains or regular pasta, quinoa, couscous, brown or white rice, whole grain mac & cheese, canned pasta (beefaroni or spaghetti and meatballs), whole grain crackers, granola bars, cereals (cheerios, raisin bran, whole grain, or no sugar added)
  • Fruits & Veggies: canned fruits in natural juices, dried fruit, canned vegetables
  • Other: any canned soups, canola oil, olive oil, vinegar, boxed milk (unrefrigerated cow, soy or almond)
A : Yes

Q : I noticed that your food choices are more health conscious, for instance, whole grains and no added sugar. Was this deliberate on your part or is it typical of what food pantries collect? 
A : Though most food pantries aren’t so specific in their collection requests, both the dietician at TCI and I agreed that healthy foods would be best for the patients of TCI during their treatment. Many cancer patients struggle with eating during their treatment due to side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, so it's important that the foods they do eat are high in nutrients.

Q : Rebecca, I’ll be leaving my donation at the bottom of my driveway as you instructed in your letter. But how will you continue to stock the pantry once it is setup? Also, If others outside the neighborhood would like to contribute, how can they do so? 

A : I’m going to be doing several more collections through school, church, local businesses and the hospital in order to stock the pantry. Once it is set up, I plan on making arrangements for a different Girl Scout Troop or organization to stock the pantry each month for the next year. If anyone would like to contribute, I can be reached at and we can arrange a pick up or drop off date.

Q : What are your plans after you graduate High School?

A : I plan to attend college next year where I hope to study either communications, journalism or English.

It has been great chatting with you, Rebecca. Best wishes for a successful project and a bright future. 

~ Mary Beth Grybowski

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Meet William P. Child: Smoke Rise Map Creator

William P.Child, a long time former Smoke Rise resident, is the creator of the Smoke Rise Map described in Support St. Hubert's Chapel in Smoke Rise!

He reached out to us after that article was published and shared wonderful details about the map, growing up in Smoke Rise and his love of art and music.

I'm pleased to share those details with you here.

William P. Child writes,

Growing Up in Smoke Rise

I was born and lived a few years on Long Island, N.Y., but for most of my young life I grew up in Smoke Rise, living at the same residence, 445 Pepperidge Tree Lane, for over 20 years - with my family, parents Ernest (Jim) Child Jr. and Elizabeth (Betty) Child, brother Jim and sister Susan - from 1955 to 1975/76? when we moved to Lake Mohawk, in Sparta to have a lake access residence for our family deep keel sailboat and small water ski runabout.

I am proud to say I am from Smoke Rise, and have many fond memories of life there.  My dad could never beat Mr. Ray Edwards in sailing back in the day, though he tried every Sunday, so his name might not be on the sailfish winners plaque (though it might be for second place?).

I went to Kiel, Stonybrook, junior 7th and 8th grades and the first year of high school at KHS, before transferring to Avon Old Farms in Avon, Ct (same school Pete Seeger graduated from in 1936 and Kristian Bush of Sugarland graduated from in 1988 - Bush's family is renown for the Bush Beans famous product, the one with the dog on the commercial that might give out the family recipe if allowed). 

I was in one of the first "rock" bands, The Aztecs, that played for Kinnelon Junior and High School dances back in the mid 60s and am friends on Facebook with an original member of the Aztecs and Smoke Rise neighbor, Gregory Applegate Edwards. (I'm friends on Facebook with several old friends from Smoke Rise and Kinnelon.)

I have myself written over 135 original songs (copyrighted 31) and am in the Jefferson Township Community Chorus, which performs on Jefferson Day (super nice fireworks display at night too!), including a song I wrote in 2005 "My Sweet Home Jefferson," that we have sung there the last 5 years. Music and art, and Nature are major aspects of my makeup and it all started in Smoke Rise during my youth.

For fun you can hear some of my songs on Youtube or at

The Smoke Rise Map

I extensively hiked the terrain, trails, etc. of beautiful and misty at times Smoke Rise on many short hikes (many off-trail) several times a week for many years, keeping written logs and rough sketches of all springs, rivulets, interesting rock formations (Sacred Mesa is one discovered? and shown on my map just west of Hawks Wing - my given name to Green Hill just south of Pine Tree). All of the Indian (Lenape or Delaware) names, as stated in the Legend on the map itself, were derived from various books mostly those of Herbert Kraft and M.R. Harrington

Other interesting names were derived from my investigation/knowledge/creativity. It was a long painstaking process (you should see my normal handwriting.. ugh) to get all the details onto the board with quill pen and nib and ink, and brush on the water color layers for elevation visual aid -- all with no major uncorrectable or cover up for "mistakes".

I finished the map original and, it being the country's bi-centennial in 1976, thought it might be great to have copies made and sell them door to door, framed or unframed (interesting that many of the frames were obtained at the present frame shop in Sparta before I was the resident framer as I am presently). I went to The Fairfield Press in Fairfield, N.J. and agreed to pay for 400 copies (a mere start and about 30 second run, then stop the 4 color separation offset litho process large machine).

The original map (in my attic) had a much darker blue to the ponds and lakes but the artists at the Fairfield Press colored them in with the blue you see on the copies now. I still have some of the original copy run in my back porch. I recently sold one to Ms. Karin Rohrer who lives in New Hampshire now (if I remember correctly).

I signed the map in the lower right hand corner with my then abbreviation "logo" C (wrapping around wp) Child/William Phillips. After obtaining a Master Arts degree in Painting, from Long Island University in Greenvale, N.Y., I decided it was better on new projects to spell out, clearly, my name for future clarification of the true artist.

St. Hubert's Chapel

I wish you all good luck with the fund raising program for a very worthy continued preservation of St. Hubert's Chapel (I've rowed and sailed there many times). It's a GEM of a structure like a jewel in a "jewel of a lake" as well. Check out the structure's (reddish stone Old English Cotswold (name of Smoke Rise Mansion, too) style and symbolism of Avon Old Farms, funded and designed by the first woman, Theodate Pope Riddle, architect licensed in Connecticut, who was a survivor of the Luisitania (refusing to take up room in a lifeboat that more needy needed, grabbed a life jacket and jumped overboard). She vowed if she survived to use any power or monies her family had to make a school for young men, that they might make a better world for all (students actually worked the farm in the early years).

I actually found out about Avon Old Farms School through a good friend, Bob MacGinnis (sp?), back in the day who attended Avon as well. His parents may still live in Smoke Rise (I haven't been in touch with Bob for years). See how influential Smoke Rise was to my life! The map was pretty much a labor of love.

Thank goodness beautiful and historic Smoke Rise is still going and I hope doing well in these tough times.

Sincerely and flattered,
William P. Child

Thank you, Bill!

Do you have memories of life in Kinnelon and Smoke Rise? Which were your favorite haunts? Let me know!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

St. Hubert's Chapel, Garrett Orr, Smoke Rise Memories

St. Hubert's Chapel
The recent article about Support St. Hubert's Chapel in Smoke Rise has generated wonderful email messages!

Joan Semmler Oravits, who contributed an article about Growing Up in Smoke Rise (at 153 Green Hill Road), recently forwarded me photos of "some old Smoke Rise treasures" that she has had for years. They are pretty marvelous as are the details that she shares with us below.

First, Memories About Living in Smoke Rise

Joan has the following to say about Laurel Lane.

"I remember Laurel Lane. There was a wonderful lady who gave us piano lessons in the early 1960s who lived on that road. Her last name was Wycke (not sure of spelling) and she gave lessons to what seemed like then half of the Smoke Rise kids! She would hold recitals several times a year in her home, always a nerve wracking time so I remember those quite well. She was a dear lady and, unfortunately, passed away from a heart attack about 2 years after our lessons started."

About Tom Kline, Joan says,

"Did Tom have a brother named Phillip? I believe Phillip Kline (also on Ski Trail) graduated the year before I did from Kinnelon High in '68."

[FYI - Kinnelon High School is holding a 50th anniversary event on September 15th, 2012 from 7 to 11pm at the Sheraton in Mahway. Here is a link to the KHS 50th Anniversary flyer with information and to a message from Debbie Bartkowski Annaheim '77 [if the message doesn't work for you, let me know. I came across it on the Facebook Page for the KHS 50th Anniversary Gathering.]

Second, St. Hubert's Chapel Items

Joan shares two items where St. Hubert's Chapel features prominently.

First is a tile which Joan  framed. As she explains, "it shows a black/white drawing of the Chapel with "St. Hubert's Chapel, Smoke Rise, New Jersey" on the front. This belonged to my mother (Rita Semmler) and she had it for a good many years hanging in our kitchen on 153 Green Hill Rd. so it has to be from the late 1960s or early 70s. I think it must have been a Smoke Rise fund raiser item for whatever cause, possibly for the Smoke Rise Community Church."

St. Hubert's Chapel

Next is an oil painting that Joan had an artist paint of the chapel in 1977. As Joan describes,

"One of my mother's best friends in those days worked for an art gallery in Kinnelon and my mother used to have items framed there. On one visit there with my mother where we were viewing some paintings by local artists I suggested that St. Hubert's would make a wonderful subject and I would be so interested in talking to an artist who would be open to the idea of doing one. Long story short - the gallery owner must have talked to a few artists and one, Garrett Orr, agreed to do the painting for me!"

St. Hubert's Chapel by Garrett Orr

Joan continues,

"It was so long ago, but I think he must have started this painting in the winter and maybe walked across the ice at some point to take some preliminary photos for sketches. 

His first finished item had the ice all around the chapel and I felt like it did not show "water" was around it so he redid that section and broke up the ice so I could see water. He was a wonderful man and I think did a wonderful job of capturing the little chapel as it was during that time. 

I'm not sure what happened to him as I was living in New York City then and only came home on weekends to visit my parents. I did not know then how special that painting would be to me as time went on and today it hangs in a special place where I can see it every day. It is one of my favorite items and has survived through 2 major tornadoes here without a scratch!"

Thank you, Joan!

By the way, here's what I located online re: Garrett Orr:

From Outdoor Advertising Collections in the Hartman Center - Garrett Orr Papers, ca. 1890s–1994 "Orr started out as a graphic artist and went on to become the Art Director of Outdoor Advertising Incorporated (OAI) and the President of the Art Directors Club of New York. This collection documents his artistic output and includes original drawings, water colors, and paintings produced by Orr for the outdoor advertising campaigns of Gillette, Ipana, Lucky Strike, Mazola, Seagram, Verney, Viceroy, and White Rose."

If you have photos and stories you'd like to share, let me know.

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