Pass The Mayo

A Jersey girl defends Glen Ridge, and Alex Beam, a Boston Globe columnist, eats crow:

Two natives of Glen Ridge, N.J., objected to my calling their suburban Shangri-La a ”white-bread hell" in a column about Newton’s alarming coyote infestation. (The actual text referred to a ”white-bread hell like Wayland or Glen Ridge, N.J." and, curiously, no one from Wayland complained.) ”I was born and raised in Glen Ridge," wrote Mary Beth Olbrys, ”so you can imagine my surprise to find out that I lived my first 18 years in a white-bread hell! I would be very interested to know what experience you had in Glen Ridge that brought you to that conclusion."

Now would be a good time to formally apologize to the residents of Glen Ridge, and wish them health and prosperity in the new year.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve put my 2 cents in about GR as someone who lived there through 3rd grade enough here already (to recap: I’m not a fan and am glad to have moved to Bloomfield in 1989,) but I will say that it’s pretty hard to believe anyone would really challenge that overall GR fits the general idea of “white bread” pretty well. Where a debate could reasonably come in though would be whether you believe that a white bread town is heaven or hell.

  2. Let me make a rye observation:
    The idea of GR as “white bread” should not cause anyone to popover. Generalizations about GR might be stale, buy you’ll tie yourself up in garlic knots asserting that GR isn’t upper-crust and white. In fact, since the argument is toast from the start, it would be better just to baguette and loaf around.
    /please don’t heap scone upon me…

  3. “White-bread hell”??????? Sounds like heaven to me–too bad there arent more towns like it. One of the few left, that havent been destroyed by change.

  4. Yes, but has anyone else noticed that GR smells like rotten fish right now? (I’m not joking… there is an odd stench…)

  5. i feel your pain—i grew up in patchogue, long island. imagine my surprise, when reading ‘fatal vision’ about jefferey macdonald (who grew up around the corner from me) that dr. macdonald had to ‘climb and fight his way out of the rough blue collar town of patchogue’ or something like that; i can’t remember the exact quote since i read the book so many years ago. i loved the book, by the way, but that part was funny–i thought i grew up in this beautiful and charming little suburban town. wow, i guess patchogue must have sucked after all!

  6. >> Yes, but has anyone else noticed that GR smells like rotten fish right now? (I’m not joking… there is an odd stench…)

  7. Fran,
    Did you know Dr. McDonald? I read FATAL VISION years ago and have seen some documentaries about the case. I have never been able to come to any conclusions for myself about the case,but I lean towards the opinion that he is innocent.

  8. no, i didn’t know him, he was several years older than me. but my whole family devoured the book as he was a real local hero until that ‘unpleasantness’ in his family.
    i read the book carefully and i remain convinced that he was absolutely guilty. i found the evidence compelling, although i do believe he may have had a psychotic episode and convinced himself that he really did not do it. but there was so much forensic evidence to support the scenario as laid out by murtaugh, the prosecutor, that i feel he is where he belongs.

  9. Fran,
    From what I have read and seen, there is actually little forensic evidence to support the scenario the prosecuter set forth.. But it certainly is a very interesting case no matter what “side” one is on.

  10. Fran: “i thought i grew up in this beautiful and charming little suburban town. wow, i guess patchogue must have sucked after all!”
    Why would you even consider abandoning your positive evaluation of your hometown (which I’ve always called hogpatch”-sorry) for an evaluation by Dr. Macdonald?
    Unless you were being facetious, which always escapes me.

  11. rick, i was being facetious. sorry if that wasn’t clear. i love my hometown and my memories of growing up in patchogue are cherished and shared with my children and friends. i just thought it was so funny that someone else would see my charming little hometown so differently than i, but it reminds me of the story of the blind men and the elephant. they were each touching a different part of the elephant, so one thought an elephant must be smooth and hard, like the tusk, another thought it must be rough and dry like the skin, etc. for me, patchogue was a safe, happy suburb with just enough warts and bumps to make it intriguing. plus, we were right on the south shore, which meant–cute surfers at the beach all summer long! now what 14 year old girl wouldn’t think that was great?

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