The Jersey Skiff has often been called the Sports Car of the Water, easily recognized and highly touted as a Jersey shore invention and the most famous of all the different boats built along the coast.
Highlands’ own Stewart King was one of the original builders of the skiff, back in the days when it was a wood lap strake construction with oak ribs all riveted together. Stu had more than 200 patents for skiff designs which he and his family built at the King Boat Works on South Bay Avenue.
But the King men weren’t the only famed family members in Highlands. No one who went to school here in the ‘50s and ‘60s could forget Goldie, the matriarch of the 20th century clan.
Goldie Viola Bogue herself was a native of Highlands and was a no nonsense woman with a big heart, a stern voice that gained immediate attention, and at the same time a loving mother. She was also the lady who checked on kids’ attendance in school…at the local Public School, Goldie was the truant officer, at Henry Hudson, she was the attendance officer.
She was a lady who loved her hometown, loved it so much, in fact, that she always used to say she just couldn’t get away. In actuality, she did get away…she and her husband George, also a native of the borough and the son of the original Sea Skiff builder who continued the family business through his and the next generation, loved to travel. Goldier boasted she visited every one of the 48 states of her time except Oregon. And she’s never found anything better than Highlands, she’d say, adding, “and I don’t suspect Oregon’s any nicer than any other place.”
As the truant officer at the elementary school, Goldie got the list of all the children who were absent from school each day, then either telephoned their homes or stopped and made a visit to find out why. She’d forgive late arrivals, knowing they probably were sent on their way to walk up the hill on time, but probably dawdled along the way. Kids of that age didn’t really resort to playing hooky, too much, she’d say, either because they just weren’t that adventurous or were afraid of the consequences.
It was an era when chicken pox,, mumps, measles and the like were common and ran rampant through a classroom. Goldie knew which disease was running at any particular time, but she still made those phone calls or visits just to be sure.
It was a different story at Henry Hudson, where the teens were a lot more adventurous and knew when the fish were running or a few had something special planned. It was an era she explained in an interview once, when “the parents expected the children to do their share, and the children just don’t sometimes, especially when working parents had to leave home earlier in the morning than the students.” Some parents would really be surprised, she said, when she alerted them to the truancy; others didn’t seem to mind too much.
Although there’s no doubt just about every Highlands school age youngster of the 50s and 60s from kindergarten through high school knew Goldie King, there were so many more who knew her as well because of her involvement in so many community activities. She was a virtual pillar of the Methodist Church where she was the organist, and active in the church’s Golden Circle ladies group. She was also an avid bowler and active in the PTA and many civic activities.
At home, Goldie and her husband raised seven children and their offspring continued the King tradition of working hard, doing good for others, and reminding everyone that Highlands was the best place in the world to live.