Interview with Diana Whitehead, Wantage, NJ Resident.


Where have you’ve lived in Sussex County?

I haven’t gone far.  I originally lived in Hardyston as a baby then moved several times within Wantage.

What schools did you attended?

I went to Sussex Wantage, Sussex Middle and then High Point.  The one thing I really remember about the Sussex Middle School was having Art and Music upstairs in what I call the attic.  It was uncomfortable hot in the summer and kind of creepy.  Both rooms were really large and open.  I was at High Point before the addition.  The library was actually where the office is now and the office was down the hall by the auditorium.    There was only one gymnasium too.  

I had Mr. Ryan for Social Studies during his first year of teaching.  A lot of girls had a crush on him.   One of the most memorable (infamous) teachers was Nan Brown for freshman year environmental science.  She was really tall with white hair and absolutely no sense of humor at all!!   My math teacher at Sussex Wantage was Mr. Sarno in 4th or 5th grade.  That was before he moved to the Middle School to teach Social Studies.  Now he has retired.


What was it like to grow up in Sussex County?

It was even more rural and far fewer people than today.  There were many working farms and very few if any, housing developments.  We rode our bikes all over and you didn’t need to be afraid back then that something would happen.  


Where did you spend a lot of time?

With family at both of my grandparents houses.  I was fortunate enough to have my maternal and paternal grandparents close by.


What was your family like?  

My family was very close.  Growing up, my cousins and I spent a lot of time together.  The entire family would celebrate everyone’s birthdays together and spend all holidays together.


What did you do for fun?

I spent time on my grandparent’s farm, swam at Heaters Pond in Ogdensburg with my cousins, roller skate at the Hampton Roller Rink, ride bikes and played outside with friends as much as possible.  


What was your favorite thing growing up?  

Spending time on my grandparents’ farm.  We would collect eggs, play in the barn after the hay was baled, dig up potatoes, picked vegetables and played hide n seek in the cornfields.  We used to go to the Newton drive-in movie theater too.  It was located where the Dairy Queen and Lowes are today.


What’s your favorite memory of this area?  

Visiting Gingerbread Castle in Hamburg. I remember the smell of the baked gingerbread cookies, throwing coins in the wishing well, walking through the castle and riding the train.


Why have you stayed here?

Most of my family still lives in Sussex County including my parents, grandfather, brother, numerous cousins, aunts and uncles.


How did you/your family end up in Sussex County?  

My paternal great grandparents migrated from Austria and purchased a farm in Hardyston.  My maternal great grandparents migrated from Hungary.