• SPFHS Alumni News

    Just posted July 12, 2024:

    Feeling Shady Rest in his roots:

    Gary Jones, SPFHS class of '79

    Gary Jones' life experience and current job mean that he experiences a part of local history, and American history, for that matter.  He has come full circle; from growing up spending time at the historic Shady Rest Country Club in Scotch Plains, to now being the Building Attendant for Scotch Plains at Shady Rest, this history-rich place that he senses in his roots.
    Jones went to LaGrande and Brunner elementary schools, Park Middle School (now Nettingham Middle School), and SPFHS.
    For the past 40 years, he has been working on and off for Scotch Plains Township.  He started by raking leaves, and is now in the Recreation department, as the Building Attendant for Shady Rest Country Club. 
    Looking back, Jones recalls, "I had a couple of nice teachers, a lot of good friends I went to school with".
    When Jones was a little kid, he caddied on Shady Rest Golf Course.  He also sold golf balls on the golf course for 10 cents and 15 cents.  In addition, sometimes he played on the golf course.  
    Jones believes that he met John Shippen Jr., the famous pioneer African American golf professional, at Shady Rest.  Now all these years later, his job brings him to spend time at this place he loved so much growing up.
    "It is a privilege that I am in the building. When I was little, I met Mr. Shippen but I didn't know who he was. I was too young". 
    Looking back, Jones sees this experience as special.  "Wow, I really met this guy, and this guy was famous!  I never really knew that as a young kid".  
    Currently, as Shady Rest Building Attendant, Jones is usually present when there is an event at Shady Rest.  "I take pride in this building. I meet a lot of good people who come to this building. I enjoy the job. I really do". 
    Jones' grandparents lived in Fanwood.  He has a lot of family and relatives that lived in the Kramer Manor neighborhood of Fanwood- Scotch Plains. 
     As a kid, Jones at one point in time attended the church known as "Church of the Living God", in the Kramer Manor neighborhood right across from Kramer Park, he said.
    Jones is a person who is proud of his life history, and proud of his current job, which provides him with a front row seat in a history-rich place that carries a meaning deep within his life, as well as deep within the lives of so many others.
    "I like to see these kids really learn history, and I really want to see the people come together.  Scotch Plains is a beautiful place to live.  It really is".
    Shady Rest was the first African American owned and operated country club in the United States.  For more information on Shady Rest, as well as on the life of John Shippen Jr. , please visit the Preserve Shady Rest committee website: https://preserveshadyrest.org/index.html
    For information on the historic Kramer Manor neighborhood of Fanwood and Scotch Plains, where many of Jones' relatives lived, located across town from Shady Rest and celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2024, please visit https://www.socialjusticematters.org/kramer-manor

    Whether you just graduated last year, or graduated 70 years ago, please email us at spfhsalumni@aol.com with your alumni news.  Thank you.

    Please email us, so we can post your news- no matter how big or small- and keep this page up to date, active, and interesting!  Thank you for your time!

    Below is some news from the past few years.

    Carolyn Quinn '79 is an author, who is working on some new projects.  In the meantime, please visit her website at http://www.carolynquinn.net to learn about her published works, including her most recent book, "Keep Your Songs In Your Heart: A Novel of Friendship and Hope during World War II", which Carolyn wrote especially for middle grade children.


    David Lange '15 writes about the book he is authoring:

    As a proud Class of 2015 alumnus, I owe so much of my success to the quality education I received at SPFHS. This is why I wanted to share with the alumni community that I am in the process of writing my own book! It's called A Farm on Every Corner and it's about how our country has to transition to a decentralized, (hyper)local food system if we are going to thrive in the twenty-first century....

     David Lange
    Program Manager, Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative 
    Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business

    "A Farm on Every Corner takes an unflinching look at the state of America's food system and how wasteful, inefficient, and unsustainable practices at every step of the supply chain have us hurtling towards a bleak future. In its place, a radical decentralization and localization of food production and a transformation of how our country grows, ships, eats, and disposes of its food are critical for a more sustainable, robust, equitable, profitable, resilient, healthier, and tastier future.

    I wrote this book because during my time as a manager of my local farmers market, I became obsessed with the power of local food and how it has the potential to radically reshape our society and economy for the better.

    My hope is that, in reading this book, you will discover the powerful forces acting on every facet of our food system and how our country will need to change it to thrive in the coming decades. In this book, I hope to instill the same sort of passion and excitement that I have for local food and agriculture in you. Ultimately, I want you to see this book as a tool to help you make a positive difference in your own family's and community's food sovereignty.

    In this book, you'll learn about the myriad components of America's food ecosystem and how we must dramatically rethink how our communities fit into it.

    • Meet incredible people shaping our future food system from indigenous food labs to applying heritage techniques to the modern kitchen.
    • See how communities are rebuilding food sovereignty everywhere from fruit trees at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to chickens right in your own backyard (and even apartment!)
    • Learn how the massacre of 40,000 elephants in the 1970s gave way to a radical new paradigm for meat and dairy and how modern agriculture has been bought and sold by massive corporations... and how small farmers are fighting back.

    You will love this book if you have ever been curious about where your food comes from, whether it's strawberries from Chile in the middle of winter or melons from an once-empty parking lot in Detroit.

    A Farm on Every Corner is a non-fiction book that speaks to everyday Americans and local food enthusiasts alike who are looking at issues surrounding community food sovereignty and radical centralization of agriculture for the first time."  - David Lange '15



    Below, Bob Andrews '71 writes about his interview project: 

    Dear Class of 1971, Scotch Plains Fanwood High School:

    Fifty years since graduation, almost.  Half a century.  Two and a half score of years.  Or was it yesterday?  I refuse to multiply the number of days since then.  Probably about as many days as gray hairs on my head and in my moustache.  Dear classmates, friends, fellow travelers, as we tilt toward our 50th anniversary, I would like you to help contribute to a special project by way of celebrating our class and remember those who no longer are around to help us celebrate it. 

    Two years ago, the amateur journalist in me took an inspiration from author Studs Terkel, and I toured the country interviewing my college classmates as we celebrated turning 64 years old and living the lyrics of the Beatle’s song.  The interviews I gathered were submitted to the alumni office of my college as well as posted on Soundcloud via my personal website.

    I would like to partner with the class of 1971 and do the same by recording the interviews and, if I can figure out how to get the interviews transcribed into print, gifting the High school a book of these interviews.  Words do linger beyond ourselves.  It might also be entertaining to take a photograph of each interviewed classmate and contrast it with our yearbook photo.  It would make an interesting chapter heading.  My Culmen sits on my bookshelf still.  I still have the supplement as well as Last Will and Testament of the Class of 1971.  Sadly, for too many of our friends, theirs came sooner than it should have. 

    My intent is to begin the series come summertime and travel the country to visit those who are willing to participate.  I’ve crossed the country three times before on my interview and writing gigs in my little Miata.  I think I have one more left in me.

    I’m not into nostalgia.  I am interested in a retrospective earned by the years.  Where are you all now?  ?  Did we learn anything?  Do we want to share anything?  What were your expectations then and what happened?  What special memories do you cherish?  Are there wounds you remember and believe could be shared.  How has your life been?  How similar or different is the person of 2021 from the person of 1971?  What are you grateful for?  Do you have hopes?

    Persons interest in participating are invited to contact either my email, through my personal website (which will authenticate I am who I am).  Letters can be posted to my home address:  The Reverend Robert John Andrews, 207 Maple Street, Danville, Pennsylvania 17821. 

    Thank you. 

    Bob Andrews