An Early Celebration of Earth Day
Today is Earth Day which might not mean all that much to most people but will to many of us “baby boomers.”
It was first celebrated in 1970 as a peaceful demonstration in favor of environmental reform and took place in colleges and universities along with many public schools and local communities. I’m not sure of all the details but I do have rather fond memories of how we marked the occasion while I was a student at Central Regional High School.
A rather large group of us who lived in Seaside Heights, Seaside Park and Pelican Island rode out bikes to the high school in Bayville in I believe both 1972 & 73 which were my junior and senior years. Times were very different then and during the 13-mile trip we really didn’t encounter any traffic because there was very little at that time of year, even on Route 37.
The J. Stanley Tunney Bridge had just opened which made going from the island to the mainland a lot easier. I’m sure many have no idea that before that there was only the Mathis Bridge which was used for traveling in both directions. Like I said times were very different.
We rode our bikes over the bridge, down Route 37 to Washington Street and I remember we stopped at Huddy Park in downtown Toms River for a break. Then we proceeded down Route 166, cut through Beachwood onto Pinewald Road until we arrived at school very late.
At that time we were on split sessions and the morning session for those of us in high school ended at 12:20. I don’t remember what time we reported to school but it was clearly closer to the end of the day than the beginning.
We tried in vain to explain that our motivation was simply to try and reduce engine emissions while celebrating “Mother Earth” but that didn’t go over well with school administrators. We were marked for being late and told never to do it again which we did not until the next year.
I don’t remember much about the ride home but all these years later what I regret most is not having a picture of our group. It would have been one for the ages.
Happy Earth Day and remember. Stay healthy my friends!