GLEN RIDGE, NJ — Labor Day weekend, at least the Saturday right before the holiday, looked to be a ho-hum day at the Glen Ridge Community Pool. Not many people were there, even with the pool closing for the season in two days.
This may have been caused by a threat from an off-coast hurricane that ended up turning out to sea and never really made a bother. But even with the pool unbusy, there were still experiences during the summer that were exciting. Lillian Ratish, a fourth-grader at Ridgewood Avenue School, went down the Shore for a week.
“It was the best time in my life,” she said. ‘I got to walk the dogs on the beach.”
And that was not all. The beach held a discovery.
“We found a live clam that was hurt but in two seconds it felt better,” she said.
“A little wild-life rescue,” said her dad, Robert.
“Yes,” said Lillian.
Robert said he and Lillian had started the summer at the pool and were ending there because it was a last chance to swim. Both agreed that in the event of a huge storm, which on Saturday was in everyone’s mind, they would watch movies if they had electricity at home.
“Another thing I liked this summer,” Lillian said, “we went on the longest bike ride ever. We rode the entire length of Ridgewood Avenue.”
Apparently true. Robert said Michael Donovan, the principal of Ridgewood Avenue School, had planned a treasure hunt for his students by posting clues, on Instagram, of stops along Ridgewood Avenue. If you figured out the clue and found the stop, you would be rewarded with a Popsicle. “So we got on our bikes and followed the clues,” Robert said.
Colin Dowd, a classmate of Lillian, was on the other side of the pool. He told his father, Sean, that Lillian was not his girlfriend, when asked, but he did spend a week in Maine and saw whales. His sister, Avery, a seventh-grader at Glen Ridge Middle School, went to Maine, too, but she also went to a waterpark in Keansburg.
“It was really cool,” Avery said. “You go through a tunnel that is blue and yellow.”
The tunnel, she explained, is made of translucent plastic and and a person could slide through it on a mat, a tube, or with nothing.
“That’s all you see,” she said, “yellow and blue.”
Avery said she took the tunnel without a mat or tube.
“At the end, it was different,” she said. “Then you go into a bowl and just spin around.”
“Like a toilet bowl,” Sean said.
But it was not all a spinning good time: There was homework. Avery, who is going into a pre-calculus class, had to complete a nine-page packet of mathematical problems for the first day of school.
“It was about 40 questions,” she said.
And it was not all whale watching for Colin, either.
“I had to make a slideshow about myself and my summer,” he said.
Colin’s slideshow included pictures of his family and the family cats, Chai and Latte. Oh, and one other thing, Colin and his dad took part in Mr. Donovan’s Ridgewood Avenue hunt.
Jason Blatt, another borough resident, said coming to the pool was his relaxation because he pretty much spent the entire summer working.
“I come as much as humanly possible,” he said about his trips to the pool. No, that was about it: Cape Cod two times and the community pool whenever possible. That was his summer.
“He also fell down a flight of stairs at work,” interjected his wife, Cathy.
“Yeah, that’s the most exciting thing that happened all summer long,” Jason confessed. “This is the relaxation that gets me better.”
He explained that he was at work, made a misstep and took a fall down eight stairs. He was in the emergency room at Overlook Hospital for almost five hours.
“I messed up my knee, ankle and foot,” he said.
Jason said the accident happened at a job site on July 25 and he was still out of work. He is a plumber.
“He does aquatherapy here,” Cathy said.
“I get in the water and walk around,” Jason said. “I have no return date to work. It’s life; it happens.”
Well, at least the hurricane pushed out to sea. So, until next year, we say goodbye to the Glen Ridge Community Pool.