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Chronicles of a Footloose Forester

By Dick Pellek

 

This Was Home For More Than 55 Years

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A picture can prompt 10,000 words

this photo was rejected for inclusion in a book of memoirs because of presumed copyright law violation

 

At first glance,  the photo above seems to be some kind of residential area dissected by a couple of major roads and sprinkled by trees and other greenery.  To a handful of residents of Netcong, New Jersey, the scene holds more than a bit of nostalgia, recent history, and personal stories.  The scene also has present day links to a distant geological past.

Thanks to modern satellite imagery, digital mapping, and computer sharing technology; we are in a position to say a great deal about what is in the photo above.  As the only living person who has the longest memory of the subject matter, and a personal interest in preserving some small part of the history, the Footloose Forester deigns to describe the scene above.

Starting with the yellow stickpin, the rectangular patch of grass marks the place where the Pellek family lived for about 55 years until the house was torn down.  Today only a couple of Norway Maple trees remain along the sidewalk on Church Street.  Children who attended St. Michael's School adjacent to that patch of grass can still relate to the scene; and those who attended prior to the year 2000 may remember the red house up the street, right out the windows that faced in that direction.

John and Helen Pellek moved into the house at 14 Church Street in the early 1940s.  The Footloose Forester was pretty young at the time, but does remember such things as the radio announcement of the bombing of Pearl Harbor; and the end of World War II when he joined with his older brothers and neighborhood kids (the Sipples, the O'Brians and Hank Shubert) in parading up and down Church Street banging on pots and pans.

The photo below shows Footloose Forester in knee pants, just as he described in one or two of his other chronicles about those growing up years in Netcong.  His sister Mary is three years younger; and in the photo below appears to be about three years old at that time. She and Footloose Forester are the only ones from that photo still alive to say something about that particular photo scene, although three later siblings; Roberta, Jim and Paul can also relate to it.

 

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Photo taken at 14 Church Street, Netcong, NJ in 1940s

 

The first house in the background is no longer there.  It was torn down prior to the razing of the Pellek home a few years later, about 2001-2002.  With reference to the Google Earth photo, the exact spot where we were standing for the photo is directly north of the mounds of glacial boulders framed with a yellow box.  A couple of those smaller boulders are shown protruding from the ground near my father's right arm, in the family photo. 

The glacial history of Northern New Jersey is especially interesting because the land shows distinct zones that were entirely covered with ice, southern reaches that were untouched by the glaciers, and a long ragged zone of geomorphological land forms that mark the southernmost advance of the most recent ice age feature--the Wisconsin Glacier. The Lakeland Area of New Jersey is unique precisely because the varied after-effects of glaciation pock the area with lines of scoured stone ridges, numerous small lakes and ponds known as kettle lakes, expanses of sand deposits known as kames; and the terminus of the Wisconsin Glacier at Netcong and other known locations.  It was the deposition of a deep trove of subterranean boulders, assorted rocks and other unconsolidated glacial till materials near St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church that makes the Google Earth scene so special.  Remnants of that subterranean trove of moraine material are clearly visible at several places in the Google Earth photo.

A person who wishes to see the Google scene more clearly should zoom in with the Google Earth computer software at map coordinates: lat. 40.895272 and long. -74.709688.  Visitors to Netcong can drive to the present day parking area and witness lane barriers constructed from medium sized boulders, some of which show smooth and rounded sides that were polished as they were transported within the Wisconsin Glacier some 25, 000 years ago.  One does not have to  be a geologist to note the different kinds of rocks standing side-by-side.

 

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Scarified and polished boulders used as lane barriers on the left; and a bank of shattered shale stone on the right

This photo is the evidence that was excluded from a book for presumed copyright violation

 

At other places they will see a stony bank of broken rock shards of a dark shale, predominately.  But at the top of the parking lot they will see the remains of large boulders of sandstone, gneiss, green and pink granite, conglomerate, limestone, and shale that were transported from different sources of bedrock as the Wisconsin Glacier finally slowed to a halt and deposited all of them into a common trove of unconsolitated materials at the terminal moraine in Netcong, New Jersey. 

 

 

 

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