Does anyone else remember Edna Mohr’s song (c.1959), My Garden State. It begins, “A trout stream rushing down a mountain side,…” This little ditty was popular throughout the southern Pines during the 1960s. In tiny two- and four-roomers, ancient schoolmarms, pre-glacial relicts, belted out old-timey tunes on classroom pianos. Even in high school, a year of New Jersey history was prerequisite for graduation. Jerseyman Clubs, school historical associations, were popular venues even with the cool kids.
Ben, you’d be surprised at how many people Down Jersey, with sand-in-shoes, still truly appreciate this place. The earlier cited Jersey tune ended on a rather bizarre impassioned pledge that we so innocently took to heart, “When I am far from hone, I always get that yearning, that aching homesick feeling that is forever burning, burning. No other place on earth will ever do! My Garden State, I’m so proud of you.”
“So what’s so funny about New Jersey?” my old Rutgers professor MA Rockland would ask. After a litany of Jersey jokes, he proudly concluded, “I’m from New Jersey.” Hokey, Mohr’s song certainly was, but so were NJN’s Uncle Floyd Show and Jean Shepard’s Shepard’s Pie (ah, we have crust). A quick check on the net indicates a copy of My Garden State exists at the Atlantic County Library, for the more adventuresome aficionados of obscure Jerseyana. Gabe, you game for Lines on the Pines if I retrieve a copy?
Back when I nine or so, I didn't have cable TV in my room. All I had was this tiny portable B&W television which would barely pick up any channels. WNJT-52 was one of the only ones that I would be able to get that had anything interesting on. I would go to sleep but wake up around 11 or so and flip it on (and keep the sound turned low so I didn't wake up my mom.) Back then they played a lot of international stuff, student films, and other sort of off-the-wall programming.
I always thought the song was really cool. I was just beginning to get into New Jersey history (reading the Jersey Devil book and Beck's books) and had my 4th grade New Jersey history class. I don't mean to sound corny or anything, but the song kind of spoke to me in a way. So it was a nice thing to watch and then go back to bed.
I really miss the late night fringe programming that the PBS stations used to play.