Princeton pancakes and Sunday morning neighborliness prevail

Princeton Packet
11 April, 1989

Princeton pancakes and Sunday morning neighborliness prevail

A few still Whispered about it at the pancake breakfast Sunday morning. The murder of a Princeton grande dame Emily C. Stuart was “horrible,” “tragic,” “shocking for the family,” said a few, sipping coffee at the Hook & Ladder icehouse on Harrison Street.

Thankfully, however, no one talked as many had talked earlier in. the. week about the “horrible” community—how the murder signified Princeton’s “changing for the•worse,” “going downhill fast,” being taken over by “the newcomers and the yuppie young people” who are selfish and don’t care about the town. Earlier M the week, some lobbied for imposing town curfews, doubling the police force, banning door-to-door solicitation. One longtime Princeton resident and usual Prince, ton cheerleader, said the murder co nced her she would like to click her heels and gonvi back home. to Kansas.

If anyone harbored these negative thoughts upon’ entering the firehouse on Sunday morning, he or she had these ideas smothered in syrup, butter, pancakes and community camaraderie. What a tonic the event was for the shock and depression blanketing the town — not only because everyone had a good time, but also because it disproved many of the apocalyptic notions about Princeton.

Hundreds of people — young yuppies and old preppies, newcomers and longtimers, and everyone in between — crowded into the firehouse to socialize and stuff their faces on Sunday morning.

Similarly, the volunteers — both the firemen and the members of the H&L Ladies Auxiliary sponsoring the • pancake breakfast — reflected a wide range of ages and length of time affiliated with Princeton. The new, young residents seemed to care as much about the event and were as committed to the welfare of the town, as those who had been on the Princeton volunteer scene for a number of years.

Two H&L firemen slaving behind the hot stove to prepare pancakes and sausages each celebrated a birthday on April 9. Henry Tomasi, H&L treasurer, tamed 28; Bill Hunter, H&L president, became 55.

Mr. Hunter spent the first hours of his birthday from 12 midnight to 5 a.m. cooking sausages. He greeted the other firemen as they arrived at the firehouse between 6 and 7 a.m. for the first pancake breakfast ever sponsored by the auxiliary.

Mr. Tomasi, who heads security for Nassau Savings & Loan Bank, never left his station behind the hot griddle— probably because his 21-year-old girlfriend was cheering him on. Shelley Martin, also an employee of Nassau Savings & Loan, happens to be president of the auxiliary.

Ms. Martin, relatively new to.Princeton volunteerism, works closely with 79-year-old Jean Toole. a 45-year member of the auxiliary.

Mrs. Toole, as well as Jean Hunter, wife of Bill Hunter, credited the young blood with reviving the auxiliary. The organization had been dormant for a year and in September was started up again. The several hundred dollar success of this breakfast not only will help pay for uniforms for the women who want to march in parades, but also finance a scholarship fund.

The only person hobbling around in the firehouse was no senior citizen, but rather 28-year-old Joe Meyers. Just two weeks after undergoing major ankle surgery, Mr. Meyers insisted upon pitching in by making pancakes. He never actually sat down while-cooking. He leaned his weight on his good leg and ‘braced himself against a stool. The only break he took was when he limped on crutches to the men’s room.

The older of the birthday boys, Mr. Hunter, noted that Mr. Meyers “deserves a Purple. Heart for his performance this morning.”

The non-workers those consuming ‘unlimited quantities of gooey pancakes — included inure volunteer firemen, a Princeton Youth Baseball Association coach, -a Princeton pediatrician, a Princeton municipal judge. Princeton University groundskeeper, a Merrill Lynch.; executive and an Epstein’s Salesperson; Excluding-children, ages of the pancake gobblers ranged all the’ way from 86-year-old Herbert McAneny to my l6-year-old daughter about-to get her driver’s permit.

No one was talking politics — just a lot about baseball, weather, potholes, family, and “what a great idea” it was to have a pancake, breakfast. The only tense moment of the morning occurred when a fire alarm at the American Boy Choir School was sounded.

Responding to the call were predominantly those volunteer firemen who had their mouths full with pancakes and sausages. Longtime fireman Mark Freda and new within the past year fireman Otto Cifuentes, sprinted out the door. Those who stayed behind heard the firetruck roar out of the fire station, but the pancakes kept flowing forth from the kitchen.

And what’s that about Kansas? As 1 was leaving, I overheard a newcomer brawn — from Kansas — say how impressed she was with the event. “This is just like what they have back home in Kansas. Everyone is so nice. They really seem to care about one another.”

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