Historic Preservation Committee
Elizabeth Hopkins Miller
- Mailing address:
Fort Lauderdale FL
- When and where were you born?
Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, NJ -- 1946
- When did you come to Mountain Lakes?
- Tell us something about your family. Did your parents also live here?
- Mother: Helen Member Hopkins;
- Father: John Estaugh Hopkins;
- Three brothers:
- John Haddon Hopkins (Class of 55);
- Edgar Member Hopkins (Class of 58;) and
- William Estaugh Hopkins (Class of 60)
- Where have you lived in the Borough? In which houses?
63 Ball Road
- What do you remember particularly about the houses and properties where you lived?
Living in a large home with wonderful dark paneling and built in cabinetry and the close proximity to the center of town.
- What are some of your special memories growing up in Mountain Lakes?
I have only good memories of Mountain Lakes and its beautiful surroundings. Ice skating on the big lake; sleigh riding on Pollard Road and Glen Road; July 4th festivities at the Club; the sailboat races on Sundays.
- Where did you go to school? What particular memories do you have from your school years? Are there any special stories you associate with that time of your life?
Lake Drive, Wildwood, the new High School. Beyond the setting of Mountain Lakes and all that it offered, how could one not mention the quality of schools. I thank the schoolteachers I had along the way, great teachers like Miss Calendar, Mrs. Wade and yes, even Mrs. Brocklebank.
I remember the gym in Lake Drive School playing dodge ball but then also using the gym to practice air raid drills - sitting on the cold steps. We also had a Maypole in the back of Lake Drive on May 1st with different color streamers.
Testing the system as most pre-teens do. A group of girls got together and made "sack" dresses out of sheets. We dyed them different colors, pinned flowers to the bottom and wore them to school (Lake Drive) on the same day. We were promptly sent home to change into more proper attire.
During my high school years, we had the GAA show and championship high school teams in swimming and football (the Class of 62).
- Where did you and your family shop?
- Yaccarinos (later known as the Mountain Lakes Market);
- Morristown for clothes (Epsteins and Bambergers)
- What were the roads and the lakes like?
The lakes were plentiful and clean except when the lakes turned over at the end of summer.
- Are there any special people you remember who contributed to the life of the town? Why do they stand out in your mind?
All of my teachers and my friend's parents.
- What did you do for fun formal recreation, sports and entertainment in general?
Everything was so geared around the town and my friends. Living in Mountain Lakes gave you such a safe feeling like living in a castle with a moat.
- Are there any special events that stand out in your mind?
I remember the day my brother came home from school and his new jacket was burned. My mother started scolding him (I am sure she thought he was fooling around with cigarettes and matches). He started crying and said that a house on Briarcliff was on fire and he tried to do something with his jacket. I believe it was the Wood's house and several children died in the fire.
Did your parents and the parents of your friends work nearby? In New York or elsewhere? How did they get to work? How did commuting change over your time here?
Didn't change at all for my father. He rode the train in everyday for my entire life. He worked on Wall Street in New York at J.P. Morgans. I still remember the names of his card-playing buddies who rode the train with him. He walked down the hill in the morning and up the hill every night to the station.
- How did various laws affect the way people lived?
Mountain Lakes was a tight town. By this I mean you always felt like Officer Castelucci was looking over you back. We all liked Officer Ernie Ginder. He was a nice man who really cared about the kids in town.
- Did you have a sense of Mountain Lakes as a unique place in its lifestyle, its homes, as a community?
Yes, yes, yes and even more so after I left seeing that the real world was quite different.
- How did the world's events -- World War I, the Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the assassination of JFK, Viet Nam, Watergate, etc. -- affect you and fellow Mountain Lakes residents when you were growing up?
I was in Mrs. Watts history class when JFK was assassinated. Mrs. Watts explained to us how the transformation of power would take place should Kennedy die, which of course he did. The Viet Nam war, well, that was difficult. We lost David Nash from our class. I went to Washington DC and found David's name on the wall. You have to understand that your friends in Mountain Lakes were your extended family. They became part of your being. David and I went through school from Kindergarten to 12th grade together.
- What made living in Mountain Lakes special to you, as you think back over your life here?
Living in Mountain Lakes gave you the feeling of community and of being a family. The families shared similar financial and educational levels and this afforded us a special bond. Probably some people thought of Mountain Lakes as snobby because the people who lived there had more money than most, but we weren't snobby, we were just fortunate that we could live in a town where we had good families and good schools.
Available Oral Histories