A quiet final day at Glen Ridge Pool

Photos by Daniel Jackovino
Above, enjoying the quiet day at the pool are Glen Ridge Community Pool employees, from left, Jillian Parker, Avery Eaton, Mikaela Benkert and Erin Duckett.

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — Because of the rain, most everyone with plans for the Glen Ridge Community Pool this past Labor Day did not show and only one diehard did for his customary laps. Summer returned in the afternoon, but by then it was too late for anyone to enjoy it except for the staff. There were nine on hand, five boys and four girls, local high school students employed by the borough. With the pool furniture folded and stacked, the only thing left to do was cover the tables beneath the canopy where they sat. The girls were sitting around one table outside the pool manager’s office and the boys were nearby.

One girl was Avery Eaton, a drummer in the Glen Ridge High School marching band; the sophomore has been playing drums since first grade. The halftime show this year is music from The Who’s “Tommy.” Eaton loves it.
“I played bongos and congas in the last show,” she said.

Another girl called out to say that was music from the movie, “On the Waterfront,” in celebration of Leonard Brestein’s centennial last year. This girl was Erin Duckett, a GRHS senior who is also in the marching band. She plays alto saxophone, but this year she is the drum major conducting the band.

“Drum major is a leadership role,” Duckett said. “They pick you to be conductor based on leadership.”
She showed her smartphone, which displayed a video of her conducting choreographed musicians on the field behind the high school. Conducting is not an easy job.

“You have to conduct before the tempo changes,” she said.
Also there was GRHS freshman Jillian Parker, who was nervous and excited about starting high school and plans to join the Girls’ Club so she can help organize the Candy Cane Dance scheduled for Dec. 14. The dance is not for ninth-graders and sophomore girls must wear short dresses while junior and senior girls wear gowns.

“My sister was part of the Girls’ Club,” Parker said.
The fourth girl, Mikaela Benkert, said her school does not have strict dress codes like that. Benkert is a Bloomfield High School senior who sings soprano for The Madrigals. She has appeared on her high school stage in “Pippin” and “The Wiz.”
“I wasn’t comfortable dancing until ‘Pippin,’” she said.

The pool manager on the final day was Bob Silvera, the principal of School No. 8 in Belleville. It was a good summer, he said, with maybe increased attendance because a Nutley pool was closed.

“I like talking to the kids,” he said. “I just talk to everyone, every member.”
He said the pool has about 90 employees, ranging in age from 14 to 65.

“I’m not the oldest anymore,” he said, going outside to help cover the tables and call it a season.