Memory of John Lookhoff

Memory of John Lookhoff as relayed to Borough Historian Dan Myers in 2007.

If we go back up to Jacqui Avenue to the railroad station, the freight station.  Now that freight station years ago when I was like five, six years old, they used to bring cattle in there.  The farm is down on Lake Valley Road now was Dan Evans and Ed Evans owned that farm at that time.  And the farm is still there.  And what they did—Dan Evans used to go out to Wisconsin and buy dairy cattle and have them shipped by rail to Morris Plains to that freight station.   Well, they didn’t call it a locomotive in those days, they called it a drill and the drill used to come in at 8:00 at night and back in that siding for the freight station.  Then they would take the cows off there and they’d march them down the ramp and down that slope / ramp that is there yet.   And they used, where the parking lot is now, they yarded them all up there.  Like 40 or 50 head of cattle.  And they had the Nunn brothers, who owned a farm up on Hanover Avenue, and all of the boys, I remember had big sticks, about six feet long, and they yarded all these cattle up there and they marched them down Speedwell Avenue, all the way to Vail School, and down Mill Road and into the barn on Lake Valley Road.  There were no cars.  And that’s how.  They just kept tapping them and driving them down there.  Well the funny part of it was, A friend and I, we were real kids, and my friend had a BB gun, and in the alley between Merchant’s he’d get the BB gun and “pshew” like that.  Start a stampede!   He started a stampede.  Well those poor guys were over in the sand pit chasing them cows all night long. They never knew why the cows stampeded.  Of course it was My friend  and I with the BB gun.  (Laughter)  So that was there.  They did that for a number of years, and like I say drove them all the way down Speedwell Avenue.  

And then of course, at that time, the underpass used to flood.   And it still floods today; it’s still flooding today.   They never solved that problem.   Well what used to be in the summer when that underpass flooded if you notice if you go all the way going north, Littleton Road, you go all the way over to the right, it’s a lot deeper than it is over in the center.  Well, as kids, we used to put our bathing suits on and go over and people didn’t know it, and we’d tell them “Over this way, over this way.”  And they’d get into the deep water and then they’d get stuck, and then we’d charge them a quarter to push them out.  (Laughter)   That’s how we made our money.  Well, the trouble was you got all grease all over you.  Then you’d go home and your mother would give you hell for being all grease and have to put you in the bathtub.

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