The Newsroom At 55 Park Place – Chapter 7 – It Just Couldn’t Happen – But It Did

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place

By Don Storch

#

Books By Don Storch

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
Snakes in the Swamp
If a Passive-Progressive Leads from behind he is a Double Oxymoron

#

Dedication

            This book is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, mentors of an only child, with daily memories of loving gratefulness, Viola Pauline (Helmstatt) Storch (1910 – 1969) and George John Storch (1903-1969)

                                                                       And To:

Norman B. Tomlinson Jr

(1927-2017)

Chapter 7

It Just Couldn’t Happen – But It Did

          I worked late last night and was at home when the phone rang. It was Herb the News Editor, “Don, a train went off an open drawbridge in Bayonne . . . get on the scene. I asked whether it was a passenger train or a freight train, “We don’t know, just head to the scene.

            There were no cell phones or GPS in those days, once I got into my car we were out of touch until I found a pay phone.

            I went past Newark Airport in my Pippin Red Hillman Minx convertible and headed toward the Pulaski skyway.  I saw a turn-off before the bridge for Avenue A Bayonne and took it.  I put down my passenger seat visor which held my New Jersey State Police press pass and heard a siren and saw in my rear view mirror an ambulance and flashing red lights.

            I pulled to the side to let it pass, only to find out it was an ABC-TV converted ambulance turned into a television vehicle.  It headed down the left side of two-way Avenue A and I tail-gated it down the wrong side of the street until it entered a gated marina where emergency headquarters were set up in the Elco Marina. I parked my car and headed to the waterfront.

            There I stood in front of a dock that seemed to be sinking into Newark Bay.  A captain from a 30-foot boat yelled out to me, “Press?  Hop aboard if you want to go out to the scene.” I stepped gingerly onto the dock and then on board the boat, with other members of the media.

            I made it a habit to carry a camera with me in my glove compartment, it was a Zeiss icon that my parents brought back for me from Germany and it was hanging around my neck.

            The captain of the boat was James Root and he suggested that the press introduce themselves because we were going to be out in the bay for a while.

            The titans of the New York media seemed to all be aboard, which proved to be somewhat embarrassing for me. Names like the New York Times, Daily News, Daily Mirror, Herald Tribune, Time Magazine, Jersey City Journal, and Life Magazine all rang out until they came to me, Morristown Daily Record.  No one could figure what a reporter from Morristown could be doing aboard.  It didn’t take long before a representative from Life came up to me and offered to buy all the pictures I was to take.  I told him they belonged to the Daily Record.

            We motored out to the scene, where the third of the first three passenger cars was still dangling from the rail trestle while bodies were being gathered with grappling hooks from the bay.   Passengers in the car were using the backs of seats as a ladder to climb out of the train before it too slipped into 40 feet of murky Newark Bay water.

            At this stage reporters from numerous locations were still trying to piece the story together.

            Every form of sea-air-land rescue craft was on the scene.

            What happened, that couldn’t, was: Forty-seven people were killed when a New Jersey Central commuter train from the Jersey Shore plunged off an open drawbridge about 10:15 AM on September 15, 1958. The train carried some 100 passengers largely executives, wealthy Wall Streeters and weekend vacationers, there would have been more but it was a Jewish holiday. On board that train and a destiny with death was Snuffy Stirnweiss, a former second baseman for the New York Yankees.

            To this day the cause of the accident has not been determined.  According to railroad authorities, “It was a routine bridge opening.  Normally, the trains stop when they get the red signal – but this fellow didn’t stop.”

            There were two earlier cautionary signals given to engineer Lloyd Wilburn of Red Bank N.J. and then he ran a red signal 550 feet short of the point of no return. An automatic derailleur threw his train off the tracks – but, somehow, it didn’t stop the train and it continued at a steady speed and plunged over the open drawbridge. The engineer died along with three others of the six-man crew.

            Two 160 ton diesels initially went off the open bridge, one dead heading, and two passenger cars, while the third one dangled on the rail trestle for two-and-a-half hours before sliding into the bay, the remaining two passenger cars stayed on the rail trestle.

            Root, our captain, told me that “Edward McCarthy was the hero of the day.”  He said McCarthy, who owns Elco Marina, went out in a small craft and rescued at least nine passengers.

            When I got back to the newsroom I learned that our photographer was also sent to the scene and managed to get a motorized sequence of photos with his 35 mm camera as the last car slipped off the trestle into the Bay.

             I was assigned the side-bar story and the lead was, “It was awful, it just couldn’t happen – but it did.

To Be Continued . . . 

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The Newsroom At 55 Park Place – Chapter 6 – ‘It Was Johnny’s Dream Car’

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place

By Don Storch

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Books By Don Storch

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
Snakes in the Swamp
If a Passive-Progressive Leads from behind he is a Double Oxymoron

#

Dedication

            This book is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, mentors of an only child, with daily memories of loving gratefulness, Viola Pauline (Helmstatt) Storch (1910 – 1969) and George John Storch (1903-1969)

                                                                       And To:

Norman B. Tomlinson Jr

(1927-2017)

    Chapter 6

                                                    It Was Johnny’s Dream Car

            Death never stopped the news from flowing, and Norman would have wanted the story to go on.  So, I will continue from where he became the news to the past of my ‘war stories’ because he always told his reporters, “That journalists should tell the story, not be the story.” 

            However, death makes everyone part of the story at some point in their life.

            One night in Morristown four HS teens were having a good time when they all got into Johnny’s Dream Car, sped down a road in town and slammed into a tree at 80 MPH – all were dead.

            It was Tommy Koyce’s beat, a native of the town, a Seton Hall graduate, a good old Irish boy, a news hound of professional quality, and one who loved the fire house and those that in-habited them.

            It was his story and he wrote it with compassion as the readers would expect.

            The next day I was asked to write the sidebar, the think piece, the follow-up story and here’s what I wrote:

             “It was John J. Clarke’s ‘dream car.”

            Yesterday thousands viewed the remains of the mangled 1954 red Mercury convertible that had been the pride and joy of 17-year-old Johnny.

            “He wouldn’t settle for anything else,” said Bill Caporaso of Cap’s Shell Service on Speedwell Ave., who sold Johnny the car.  “He told me months ahead what he wanted, he wasn’t particular about the color but it had to be a convertible.

            Johnny waited a long time to get the car, but in a short time on clear Wednesday night four teenagers were killed in the twisted steel of Johnny’s “dream car.”

            Johnny, who lived at 335 South St. Morris Twp., was a careful kid said Caporaso. “I never saw him go fast, he told me when he got his license back – never again not me, I’ve had my warning.”

            Riding in Johnny’s “dream car” to a rendezvous with death were: John Bingham of 440 South St; David Coudoux, 16, of 103 Woodland Ave; and Joseph Papreka Jr., 16 of Fox Hollow Rd., all of Morris Twp.

            Crowds flocked to the parking lot of Wiss Brothers Inc., yesterday to see the remains of the death car. “Did you ever see steel bend like that,” said an onlooker.

            The front of the car had the impression of the two-and-a-half-foot diameter tree that took the impact.

            Parts of the pine tree were embedded in the front of the car.  It hit dead center.  The motor was in the front seat.  The brake pedal was shoved chest high through the steering wheel.

            The drive shaft buckled and tore loose.  The two rear wheels pitched inward setting the rear end higher than the front end.

            Although the tires on the front of the car were in good condition, the rear tires were practically bald.

            Viewers gasped at the sight, one said: “nice kids but get-em in a car and they go crazy.”  Another said, “they can’t go fast enough – what a way to die.”

            A teacher at Morristown HS figured the car hit with 88,300-foot pounds of force. His figure was based on a speed of 80-miles-per-hour.

            When the high school let out yesterday afternoon hundreds of students made a visit to the scene of the crash and to see the car that carried four of their classmates to a tragic death.

            A Girl, shaken at the sight said, “If my boyfriend ever goes over 50, I’m going to stop going steady with him.”

            “Man, am I going to slow down,” said one youth.

            Gary Moskowitz, 16, of 50 Western Ave. recalled a statement made only a week ago by John Clarke: “He told us,” he said, “that he was going to turn over a new leaf and stop speeding.”

            Gary added, “all I can say is – this is a good example for others.”  At the high school where most of the student body was in a state of shock and disbelief, several students expressed a desire to put the wrecked car in the middle of the park or on Memorial Field as an example for all of the student body.

            “Everybody felt awful,” said one boy, “most of the girl students cried thought out the day.” “We’ll all remember the accident,” said one student, “but few of us will profit by it.”

            A girl took one quick look at the car, and quickly stepped back.  Turning toward her girlfriends, she said “let’s get out of here.”  She stepped into her red convertible and slowly drove away.  What she had seen obviously had an effect.

            A mother and her two children approached the wrecked vehicle with hesitancy.  The boys, about six-years-old, were afraid to go too close.  Their mother said, “See that.”  One boy looked at his mother and said, “a pole mommy?”

            “Yes dear,” the mother said. “That’s what speed does.”

            What strikes me about this piece and the one before on LeMoyne Goodman, they adhere to the facts, report the truth and follow the tenants and the good principles of journalism.

            There was a fidelity to the truth in the 50’s and 60’s by journalists in our newsroom that doesn’t seem to exist with the journalism of today.

            It is that simple and unfortunately the lack of truth has trancended from politicians to the media and the latest of posts in our social media on the web. 

            The pendulum has swung too far to the left, but I have faith it will swing back to the middle for both the sake of journalism and society.

To Be Continued . . . 

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The Newsroom At 55 Park Place – Chapter 5 – Bulletin

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place

By Don Storch

#

Books By Don Storch

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
Snakes in the Swamp
If a Passive-Progressive Leads from behind he is a Double Oxymoron

#

Dedication

            This book is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, mentors of an only child, with daily memories of loving gratefulness, Viola Pauline (Helmstatt) Storch (1910 – 1969) and George John Storch (1903-1969)

                                                                       And To:

Norman B. Tomlinson Jr

(1927-2017)

                                                                    Chapter 5

                                                                     Bulletin

          As I sat alone in the newsroom with empty desks, old typewriters, absent of people, the AP ‘A’ wire came to life and bells started ringing singling a bulletin.

            I got up from my desk tore the story away from the teletype machine, the headline read: Norman B. Tomlinson Jr., Dead At 90.

            It was one of those flash forwards I warned you about.

           All of a sudden it was December 7, 2017, I was deeply saddened to learn of Norman B. Tomlinson Jr’s passing after a brief illness at the age of 90. There was no one in the newsroom to commiserate with.

            A mentor was gone, a life well lived, after a lifetime of achievements in the publishing world – no small achievement.

            He taught me to write the way in which I would tell a story to my mother, he said, “then the whole world will understand what you are saying.”

            Although diminutive in size, Norman was no small player.

            He graduated from Princeton University, receiving an A.B. degree with honors in 1948 and then went on to Harvard Law School receiving a J.D. degree in 1951 after which he served two years in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps during the Korean War.

            He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1954, personally telling me that he believed he did so on first try because of his excellent penmanship, we all knew otherwise.

            He did his clerkship, but immediately joined the family business, The Morristown Daily Record as general manager.  The paper was established by his grandparents.

            Norman’s father, Norman Tomlinson Sr., known in the newsroom as, ‘Father,’ frequently asked reporters to pick up mail at the next-door Morristown Post Office. He was Editor and Publisher, a position he held until fully retiring in 1970 at which time he named his son, known by his informal signature of “nbtjr,” as president and editor-publisher.

            Norman enjoyed following professional sports – especially the New York Giants.

            One Sunday evening I was invited to join Norman, his wife Barbara and his young daughter, at the time, Kate, for dinner.  The New York Giants were on TV that evening so it was necessary for us to be finished with dinner by 8PM so we could watch the game.

            I got up from the dinner table to join Norman in the living room, put my crumpled cloth napkin on the table and preciouses, Kate turned to her mother and said, “Mr. Donald didn’t fold his napkin.”

            Never let a reporter into your home, they never stop reporting.

            Norman gathered his clipboard for note taking and we watched the Giant game.

            He was not afraid to take a stand on issues that he believed in, even if others disagreed.

            He was instrumental in the founding of the County College of Morris, he believed it necessary for the county to have an educational facility that was more than a trade school and began an old-fashioned newspaper campaign.

            He was also involved with a legal case that won girls the right to be newspaper carriers.

            All the while he continued the newspaper’s growth and leadership in the industry in the last quarter of the century.  Its coverage grew beyond Morris County, and in April of 1973, The Daily Record published its first Sunday edition.  It was also one of the first newspaper’s in New Jersey to publish in color.

            The family decided to sell the paper to Gannett in 1989, and it sold at the time, for a record price for a daily newspaper, reportedly at $155 million.

            But Norman wasn’t ready to retire to Florida yet.  He became a partner in New Jersey Monthly in 1976 and subsequently it became a fully-owned subsidiary of the family business with Norman as publisher and editor-in-chief.  He was aided by his wife, Barbara, and daughter, precious Kate, who later took over her father’s position as publisher and editor-in-chief, a position she holds today.

            Norman was a philanthropist and readily gave back to the community that was good to him.

            He had many interests, he served as a trustee of The Peck School, The Pingry School and was a supporter of local hospitals, the Morristown Medical Center in particular. He endowed the Norman B. Tomlinson Jr. Book Prize, which is awarded annually for the best English-language work of history on the World War I era.

            Norman became a full-time resident of Miami Fl where he maintained a vacation residence for many years. He was an enthusiastic supporter of local charities there, including the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

            He was a low-key giant in the publishing field, although diminutive in size, as I said.

To Be Continued. . .

                                                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Newsroom At 55 Park Place – Chapter 4 – Teacher Good American

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place

By Don Storch

#

Books By Don Storch

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
Snakes in the Swamp
If a Passive-Progressive Leads from behind he is a Double Oxymoron

#

Dedication

            This book is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, mentors of an only child, with daily memories of loving gratefulness, Viola Pauline (Helmstatt) Storch (1910 – 1969) and George John Storch (1903-1969)

                                                                       And To:

Norman B. Tomlinson Jr

(1927-2017)

Chapter 4

       Teacher Good American

     After 12 days of investigation by the Hanover Park Regional Board of Education it was shown that, “Miss Le-Moyne Goodman is in every way a good American.” She was asked to return to her English teaching position.

            Nevertheless, she decided to hold to her plan to resign. 

            The Board was subsequently honored by the New Jersey Association for distinguished service to education.  The award recognized the Board’s defense of freedom to teach.

            In an editorial in the Daily Record on June 20, 1958, it said:

            “There is a close similarity between the feelings of the Hanover Park Regional HS Board of Education and the Daily Record in L’Affaire Le-Moyne Goodman and the famous Hiroshima Essays.

            “The board said it feels that the error lies in not presenting to the reader a discussion of the background and conditions under which they were written.

            “Board President John Hall said ‘It is our duty as educators to teach our students how to think by presenting all the facts of a problem and challenging their minds into molding free decisions – not to teach them what to think.’

            “In part, the Tuesday editorial in the Daily Record said, ‘A teacher who makes pupils think is indeed a good teacher, but better is a teacher who presents them with all the facts in order to come to a conclusion. . .’

            “Did Miss Goodman present Truman’s and Stimson’s views on the dropping of the A-bomb? Did she present the entire A-bomb picture completely?’

            “The board did a fine job in this situation but we must disagree completely with one of its finding.  It said that the publication of three particular essays in the ‘The Triad’ was not in itself a serious mistake.

            “We think it was a mistake, a serious one.  These essays went into print in a paper distributed to 14, 15 and 16-year-olds and undoubtedly was seen by their younger brothers and sisters. Any statement like, ‘I feel ashamed to call myself an American’ is bound to influence the young reader.

            “We agree with the board that Miss Goodman has made mistakes but is entitled to another chance.

            “At the Wednesday night meeting, the press was attacked and booed by some of those present for its handling of the situation.

            “Although the Daily Record did the best job in the matter, according to those displeased persons, we must say that as a whole the daily press carefully, accurately and extensively covered the story”

            As the reporter who disclosed this story and having covered it from beginning to end I believed, but did not report this opinion at the time, that Miss Goodman used ‘poor judgment’ which she admitted at the time.

            One weekend months later I was playing baseball for the Maplewood Maples in the semi-pro Essex County League in Maplewood NJ.

            In between innings a fan walked up to me, whispered in my ear, “The Maplewood Board of Education is going to hire Miss Goodman to teach English at Columbia High School.” He then disappeared into the stands.

            It was a Sunday and as soon as I got home from the game, I called the superintendent of schools in Maplewood.  I said to him that I had it on good authority that the Board was going to hire Miss Goodman at Columbia High School to teach English.

            He confirmed the tip and I had another exclusive.

            The next day we reported that Le-Moyne Goodman was going to be hired as an English teacher at Columbia High School.  Of course, we rehashed all the past controversy’s.

            She went on to have a very successful career at Columbia, well respected by her students and alumna of today.  She is now retired and the past is prologue, but will live on.

To Be Continued . . . 

 

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The Newsroom At 55 Park Place – Chapter 3 – Local Journalism

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place

By Don Storch

#

Books By Don Storch

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
Snakes in the Swamp
If a Passive-Progressive Leads from behind he is a Double Oxymoron

#

Dedication

            This book is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, mentors of an only child, with daily memories of loving gratefulness, Viola Pauline (Helmstatt) Storch (1910 – 1969) and George John Storch (1903-1969)

                                                                       And To:

Norman B. Tomlinson Jr

(1927-2017)

 Chapter 3 

Local Journalism

            Local journalism can be boring, covering borough council meetings, township committees, board of education, zoning board of adjustments and planning boards.  Out of all these meetings news most often comes out of the zoning board of adjustments.

            Most residents of these suburban communities have little concept about the form of government under which they live.

            But this is the grass roots of good and bad government and it is where corruption begins to reach the Swamp of DC.  But few residents pay much attention to it.

            I have had my share of mundane stories, but I would like to bring to you some of the highlights of my journalism career and reflect upon this period of time as compared to journalism in the twenty first century.

            I covered six communities in Morris County with stories ranging from the mundane, which I have just described, to murders, fatal car, plane and train crashes, charges of un-Americanism, plans for a third jetport in the New York metropolitan area and the presidential election of John F. Kennedy.

            The culture of journalism in the newsroom of the Morristown Daily Record was out of the century before the twentieth.

            Beating the State’s newspaper of the time, the Newark Evening News within our confines was primary, and if you could accomplish that outside of our area of coverage you could be a hero.

            Eleven AM was heartburn hour in our newsroom, that was when the Newark News arrived on Norman’s desk as he scoured the paper for reporters’ missed stories, even corporate releases that weren’t sent to us.

            It was a pleasure at times to go to lunch with News Editor Herb Thorpe knowing that you weren’t scooped for the day.

            But the day finally came along that took me away from the journalism of the mundane and projected my story into national prominence.

            As I was preparing to go out on a date in June of 1958 I received a call from the news desk that something was going on at Hanover Park Regional, but the information wasn’t any more specific, other than it was taking place on my beat.

            I cancelled the date and headed for Whippany.  Hanover Park Regional High School, especially for the time, was a modern college campus like atmosphere.  At the time Reader’s Digest did a feature on the school with the headline ‘What Happened to the Little Red School House?’

            It was dusk by the time I arrived at the school and I went directly to the administration building and looked for an open door.  I finally found one, the hallways were dark, but I noticed a light shining from a conference room in the distance.  It was then that I literally bumped into another person and it was Lee Crowell of the Newark Evening News and he said, “What are you doing here?”  I said, “I guess the same thing you are.”  But neither of us knew why.

            We proceeded to where the light was coming from, peered into the conference room with Leslie V. Rear, Superintendent of Schools, sitting at the head of the table surrounded by a cadre of Legionnaires.

            Neither one of us had a photographer with us.  It would have made a dramatic picture through the window of the door most wearing VFW or Legion hats.

            Rear saw us peeking through the window.  He briefly recessed the meeting and came out to talk to us.  He said the meeting was nearly over and that afterward he would come out and give us a briefing.

            He later explained that Miss LeMoyne Goodman, an American literature teacher and faculty advisor to the school newspaper, The Triad, was being accused of un-Americanism because she selected three essays to be published in the paper critical of the United States for dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima during World War II.

            The students came to these conclusions after reading John Hersey’s book ‘Hiroshima.’

            They said in their conclusions in the school newspaper, “I feel ashamed to call myself an American when I think this country of mine could purposely do such damage to such a humble people as the Japanese.”

            The next essay said, in part, “Hiroshima has awakened me and shaken the American propaganda dust from my eyes I now see clearly.”

            The third essay said, “Could there have been any other way, and what have we started?”

            Remember this was still the McCarthy era where he was unearthing ‘commies’ from the streets of Hollywood to Broadway.

            I drove back with my information to the newsroom with my head spinning, wishing there was someone in the newsroom that I could bounce my facts off of before I wrote my story.

            I knew it would be the lead story the next day, un-Americanism was big news – who am I to deliver that story I thought?

            When I arrived Jack Sands was just leaving, it was 1 AM.  “I said Jack I have a story I must bounce off of you that concerns me, it deals with un-Americanism charges of a school teacher at Hanover Park Regional High School. 

            We discussed the facts and how it could be presented without interpretations of bias from either side, it was a serious issue at the time and I believe it was to be a lead story the next day that hopefully was unbiased with my byline, one of which that I am still proud of this day.

            The story had legs, as they say, and was reported around the world.

            The left-wing media of the times, which the New York Post was, reported it with a headline that said, “The Teacher Who Wanted Her Students to Think.”

            No, Ms. Goodman said to me, who was 26 when all of this occurred, “I used bad judgment in the selection in selecting the essays.”    

            From the outset there were 12 days of investigation by the Board of Education with tons of media coverage while Ms. Goodman went into seclusion in Pennsylvania, which we uncovered.

            When all was said and done, Ms. Goodman resigned from her position, her resignation was not accepted by the Board and she was cleared of all charges of un-Americanism.

            Nevertheless, this is in part the story I wrote at the time:

            The Headline on June of 1958:

            Essay Teacher Quits; Board Won’t Take It

            By Don Storch

            Hanover, June 12, 1958 — “You know what the people around town would say, they still have that commie teacher in Hanover Park” . . .

            Ms. LeMonye Goodman declared here yesterday at a press conference following a faculty meeting at the Regional High School.

            But, “the people around town” will never get the opportunity to make such a statement. The 26-year-old school teacher has handed in her resignation, although the board last night voted 4-3 not to accept it.

            And if many the many irate citizens have their way, Ms. Goodman will never hold another teaching position . . .

            But this proved to not be true.

To Be Continued . . . 

 

           

 

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The Newsroom At 55 Park Place – Chapter 2. – The Beginning

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place


By Don Storch

#

Books By Don Storch

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
Snakes in the Swamp
If a Passive-Progressive Leads from behind he is a Double Oxymoron

#

Dedication

            This book is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, mentors of an only child, with daily memories of loving gratefulness, Viola Pauline (Helmstatt) Storch (1910 – 1969) and George John Storch (1903-1969)

                                                                       And To:

Norman B. Tomlinson Jr

(1927-2017)

The following is Chapter 2 The Beginning  

Chapter 2

The Beginning

 

            And, so where do I begin, yes in the beginning.

            The second and North turn of the Tri-City Stadium race track in Irvington NJ was not visible because of a fence, but I could see the rest of the track from the bedroom of the apartment in which I grew-up as an only child.

            I vividly remember the day my parents looked at this apartment as a rental, I was with them.  They had looked at the rooms of the one-bedroom apartment they were about to rent, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, a hallway with a bathroom off of it and my bedroom — a railroad apartment.

            I sat looking out the bedroom window which was to be mine, mesmerize by the race track which would be my view, while my parents looked at the basement storage area and the furnace from which it would be heated.

            The year was 1939 and I was 5, a depression baby.  I was still sitting looking out my bedroom window when my parents re-found me.

            They rented that apartment for $40 a month and they had to pay for the heat and electricity.  We burned coke in those days in a furnace to heat our apartment.

            There were only four houses on the street in which I lived called Mill Road, off of which you would enter the Tri-City stadium after the last house, and each had four apartments.  My house was the second as you went up the hill, and across from my house was Union Place and empty land upon which cows would graze.

   It was called the Tri-City Stadium because one lap around the track would put you in three different townships, Hillside, Union and Irvington.  I lived in Irvington, and in those days, we were known as the Camptowner’s.  It was farm country.

            Imagine growing up in a bedroom overlooking a Midget auto racing race track as a child.

            There was no TV then, but my bedroom window provided more than a child could ask for in those radio days.

            My parents converted the dining room into their bedroom, so guests had to walk through their bedroom to enter the living room.  And if you were entering the house from the front of the building, you walked into my parents’ bedroom.

            Times were different, most of their friends came through the back door unannounced, entered the hallway and then visited in the Kitchen.

            The four houses on Mill Road were owned by Cohen, I don’t remember his first name because that’s the only way my father addressed him.

            Yes, he was a Jewish entrepreneur and I’ll never forget when his wife spoke when he thought she shouldn’t, he said, ‘shut up woman.’

            My father used to fix his 1939 Pontiac, a junk of a car, that he mistreated converting the trunk into spare used parts from the apartments, that he would reuse.

            The race track was a pleasure, albeit for a short period of time.

            The track opened in 1933, and to put things in perspective, I was born in 1934.  At that time, it was a 1/5-mile cinder oval track until 1939.

            In 1940 it became a 1/5 -mile paved oval track and races might have run until 1942, but that may be questionable because World War II broke out in 1941 and gas was rationed.

            The track shut down thereafter and never reopened and subsequently became my playground.

            But there were memories in that short period of time.

            My favorite driver was Johnny Ritter, he drove a yellow midget racing car at the Tri City stadium with the number 3 and was inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

            The number three became my favorite number and is so today, the color yellow is only second to my favorite color of blue. The number on the house in which I lived then was 133.

            He was a mite of midget racing, just barely five feet tall.  He was born in Austria and his career ended at Medford, Massachusetts in 1948 when he was fatally injured by an out of control race car while fixing a tire on his own car in the infield pit areas. He

            My other favorite driver was Johnny Pierson who was the 1941 AAA track champion and also drove at the Tri-City stadium in a maroon colored car.

            It was a period of time when the Offenhauser engine was powering many of the Midget racing cars of the day.

            I can still smell the fuel as the fumes from the engines, mixed with castor oil, would drift into my bedroom.

            During an intermission from racing on special days of celebration, like 4th of July, the track would bring in attractions such as Ken Butlers’ Daredevils who would crash into cars, drive through flaming buildings and jump off a ramp over several cars, it was a circus type of atmosphere.

            Butler lost his leg in racing, but produced daredevil acts across the country and at Tri-City Stadium that enthralled the crowds.

            I will never forget the building of a major wooden house at the start line of the Tri-City track in which he set it on fire and then drove a car through the flaming building.

            Racing in those days was a Barnum & Baily act.

            Because these houses were so close to the track, the owners would put courtesy tickets in the mail boxes of the renters, to keep them from complaining about the noise, smell and crowds.

            Kids would come by and steal the tickets by putting chewing gum on the end of a straw and stick it down through the slot in the mail box. 

            It didn’t matter to me, I had the best seat in the house from my bedroom window.  In fact, I didn’t go into the stadium until it closed.

            World War II came along and I was now 7 and the window on my world of the Tri-City race track came to an end.

            It became my playground, I rode my bike on the track where Johnny Ritter made history, where Johnny Pierson became a track champion and where Ken Butler performed daredevil acts.

            It was a wooden stadium in farm country.  To the South of the stadium there was Tuscan Dairy and cows overtook the lands while the Tri-City stadium was deteriorating.

            The configuration of the stadium was bowl shape with a depression in the ground and this was eventually filled with ash and other recyclables of the day and in 1958 they built a bowling alley on the tract of land.

            My Mom always reminded me to remember where I came from, I always did.I believe that sometime before it became a dump, I invented what is known today as baseball’s T Ball.

            I asked my Dad to make a wooden platform from which a pipe would be attached that would project upwards around the strike zone of a kid, attached a radiator hose from a car with a clamp to the top upon which I could put a baseball.  He did what I asked and I hit taped baseballs into the Tri-City stadium all through High School.

            I loved growing up in Irvington.  And the Tri-City stadium was more than a race track to me, it became my playground.

To Be Continued. . . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                       

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The Newsroom At 55 Park Place – Chapter 1 – Reporter

 

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place


By Don Storch

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Books By Don Storch

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
Snakes in the Swamp
If a Passive-Progressive Leads from behind he is a Double Oxymoron

#

Dedication

            This book is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, mentors of an only child, with daily memories of loving gratefulness, Viola Pauline (Helmstatt) Storch (1910 – 1969) and George John Storch (1903-1969)

                                                                       And To:

Norman B. Tomlinson Jr

(1927-2017)

The following is work in progress and as you may have already noted, memoir has been deleted from the book cover.  A Chapter will be published each week. 

Chapter 1

Reporter

            I borrowed my Dad’s car, drove west to Morristown New Jersey and pulled into a parking space in front of a soda shop. It was near the local movie house and across the street from the library.  I walked into the shop looked for the newspaper stand and bought the local paper, the Morristown Daily Record, it cost me 5 cents.

            It was 1957.

             I went back to my car to scan the classified section for jobs, and there it was, an ad for a reporter, the very job I was looking for.

            I went back into the store and asked the clerk where The Newsroom at 55 Park Place was on the Morristown Green, a roundabout that was called a square in the center of town.

            It was quaint, historic, a place where the Revolution was fought and one of many places General George Washington slept – the father of our country.

            Today his statue may be in line for desecration, or worse removal.  After all he too was a slave owner and probably harassed women.

            There at the end of the first turn was an old three story white building with the name, Morristown Daily Record.  There was an open parking space in front of the building.  I parked, got out of the car with paper in hand and walked in the front door.

            It was the front office where they sold papers and took classified ads.  A woman asked if she could help me.  I said I was here to apply for the reporter’s job you were advertising for.

            She told me to go through the door in front of me and walk down the hallway and the news room would be on my left and ask for Herb Thorpe.

            I opened the door and immediately heard a bunch of clacking, someone whistling, the wall to my left was a partial partition with frosted glass on the top.

            I asked for Herb Thorpe, and found the whistler.  He didn’t whistle a tune, it was a nervous whistle, off key and he was holding a metal ruler. I introduced myself and he asked me to sit down alongside of his desk.

            His desk faced the partition, another desk faced a wall and a third faced the opposite wall from the partition at that end of the room. There were some five desks in the middle of the room with old see through Remington typewriters sitting on the top.  The desks were metal with a rubber like surface. There was a bank of wire service machines alongside the partitioned wall, all clacking away with rolls of paper spewing over the top onto the floor.

            The names on the sides of the machines were Associated Press and United Press International, one teletype machine had no name on it, it was news from the Dover Bureau.

            The phones on each desk were stand-up Bell Telephones with either a headset or a receiver you held apart from the mouth piece you spoke into.

            At the far end of the newsroom there were two more desks, one facing the partitioned wall – the sports desk – the other facing the wall separating the newsroom from the classified section of the paper – the social desk.

            There was one window in the room overlooking the Morristown Post Office.

            The metal ceiling was high enough to shoot baskets, walls had wooden tongue and groove paneling half way up.

            Herb was the News Editor and he introduced me to Norman B. Tomlinson Jr. son of the Publisher Norman B. Tomlinson Sr., known to all as ‘Father.’

            I was to find out later that junior was a graduate of Princeton, graduated from Harvard Law school and passed the Bar on the first go around.

            Norman was short with a butch haircut, one eye looked in a direction than the other.

            They both interviewed me, I told them that I had just been honorable discharged from the United States Navy and before that attended two years of college before being drafted.

            I told them I worked on the ship’s newspaper while in the Navy, among other things, within the hour I was hired at $70 a week with a flat $20 a week expense account, which was to cover gas and other incidentals.

            It was the beginning of a beautiful job that had nothing to do with work for the rest of my life.

            Of course, I needed a car and a brand-new Hillman Minx, Pippen red convertible, was in my vision; $2,000 and several car payments later, I had a car with 100,000 miles on it in the first year of a beautiful relationship.

            My first day on the job I was assigned to do a feature on a Presbyterian church that burned down two years ago in Long Valley N.J, which wasn’t even in Morris County, the coverage area for our paper.

            The church was breaking ground to rebuild and it was important to Norman that we beat the Newark Evening News to the story.  This was the State’s leading newspaper and our primary competition, because any reporter at the Daily Record that was beat to a story in their coverage area by the Newark News had hell to pay for at ‘heartburn hour,’ which was 12 noon in Morristown, which was when the News arrived.

            Our reporters were out gunned by their reporters by 2-1 on every beat.

            On this story, we beat the Newark News on the rebuilding of the Long Valley church by one year, no one even noticed but Norman.

            The church wasn’t easy to find for it wasn’t there yet, and we didn’t have GPS, just Triple A maps, but we got the interview.

            When I got back to the newsroom, Norman had the lead for my story, “Rising like a Phoenix from its own ashes . . . “

            How trite, I thought . . . it was the last time I ever took a lead for any story from anybody.  I prided myself in my leads because I believed it was the lead that drew the reader  into the content of the story, and the shorter the better.

To be continued . . . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Newsroom At 55 Park Place – A Story

 

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
A Story

By Don Storch

#

Books By Don Storch

The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
Snakes in the Swamp
If a Passive-Progressive Leads from behind he is a Double Oxymoron

#

Dedication

            This book is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, mentors of an only child, with daily memories of loving gratefulness, Viola Pauline (Helmstatt) Storch (1910 – 1969) and George John Storch (1903-1969)

                                                                       And To:

Norman B. Tomlinson Jr

(1927-2017) Continue reading

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Judge Exposes Trump ‘Witch Hunt’ By Special Counsel Mueller

 

Washington DC (Storch Report) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller may no longer have ‘unfettered power’ in search of a crime with the intent of bringing down a president. Continue reading

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Camelot & The Privileged

(Storch Report) — Perhaps no better image romantically or symbolically portrays the wealthy, the privileged and the powerful  of the time, albeit short-lived, than that of the Broadway musical, Camelot, and the 1,000 days of Jackie and President John F. Kennedy in the White House that still captivates a nation’s imagination to this day. Continue reading

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