June 16, 1944, a beautiful baby girl was born to Martin Lloyd Van
Doren and Evelyn Margaret Peters Van Doren. Lloyd was a graduate
of Rutger's University in Agriculture and worked his family farm in the
area of Belle Mead, New Jersey. Evelyn was a beautiful woman of
German descent, who lived across the Millstone River near Griggstown,
New Jersey about 2 miles away. Evelyn Peters was raised on her
parent's dairy farm with her twin brother
Raymond and older brother Frederick.
The Peters' had immigrated to America almost 40 years earlier, where
they found opportunity and a friendly community in
the Millstone Valley. The Van Doren's on the other hand, had been
farming in the area since the 1600's, and had fought the British
in Revolutionary War, and gave faithful service to the community and
church for 300 years. But on this day a little over 2 years after
they married, their first child came into this wonderful family.
Happy Baby Donna Jean
Proud Father Lloyd
Of course the whole family was pleased and couldn't wait to
see new arrival, Donna Jean Van Doren:
Martin Luther Van Doren
Great Grandfather Lewis Runyon Tingley
Yes, and there were those great toddler years, you know, once you get
your footing you can scoot around fast and have fun:
little worried, dressed up for Easter Donna just
needed a little company Now let
me find this stuff myself!
With Ray Peters, Jr.
the best thing that could happen to a happy family did, it was
a baby brother, ME !! Look at these pictures,
she is totally ecstatic. Donna was 4 yrears old and had no idea
much trouble I could become. Like, I was younger, and got home
early on the elementary school bus, so I could switch the TV to the
good old Mickey Mouse Club. Then the high school bus would bring
Donna home 30 minutes later, and she went straight to the TV and turned
it over to Dick Clark's American Bandstand with all that stupid dancing
and rock and roll. Right in the middle of Spin and Marty!
and to miss Annette Funicello, who I was in adolescent love with (well
Cheryl was pretty cute too). But Donna was bigger than me, she
was in the 9th grade and I was just a shrimpy 5th grader, so she could
win the battle of the dial. So I had to resort to intellect, like
locking all the doors so she couldn't get in the house. All that
yelling and screaming really ruined Mickey Mouse, and you know what, by
the time she was in 12th grade and I was in 9th, we both watched
American Bandstand together and it was pretty cool.
However, we both had to endure forever Sunday nights with Ed Sullivan
and Lawrence Welk !! Life on TV in the 1950's with only three
channels was limiting. But I remember two great Sunday nights
which we spent at Uncle Ray's and Aunt Evelyn's. Uncle Ray was
Mom's twin brother, and can you believe he married a nice lady named
"Evelyn" ! And they had two kids, Ray who was the same age as
Donna, and Susan who was my age. This led to a lot of great
family get togethers which were always loads of fun. This
both families renting a house at the Jersey Shore together every year
for one or
two weeks. I'll show you the shore later.
Now back to those two memorable Sunday nights at Uncle Ray's with Donna
and everyone. The first was this live broadcast of Elvis
Presley. I remember Ed Sullivan telling us what a decent young
man he was, although they only showed him from the waist
up. The second night, was when Dad and Uncle Ray could't
believe these guys with girls haircuts....The Beatles!!!
Well, here's Donna welcoming me home:
was an October baby and it looks cold !! Donna looking
get rid of the cat already.
(Nice socks mom.)
was a small town, but we were able to manage a few friends for
birthdays and get togethers:
Donna, Noel Eglewcki, Lily Kate Hoagland
Well, that's me on the
the cool hat
and Ray Peters.
and Donna on the right with the dog .
of course there were those great family get-togethers:
Me, Mom, Donna and
Dad at Aunt Gertrude's and
Grandma's and Grandpa's 50th
Joe's for Christmas
Peters, me Tom,
Susan Peters, Eileen
Peters (daughter of Fred)
and Ray Peters, Jr.
We had great times
shore in the summer, swimming, fishing, and just kicking around with
Donna and Uncle Ray, Aunt Evelyn, Ray Jr.
is one of the best houses we ever rented; two great weeks, ocean front,
right on beach.
Just 150 feet to the Atlantic Ocean on the right. How close?
The high tide line is 3 feet to the right of the snow fence!
A couple of years earlier this house was third from the beach, but
thanks to hurricane Carla, we had a great summer.
Now I said our family has been
going to the shore for a long time, and here they are enjoying great
summer tradition going back
this is grandpa..... and grandma..... and Aunt....., oh, I
promised not to tell, but
you can see everyone had fun !
Here we are with Mom, me,
Donna and What a beach babe, Donna with
the tools and here she is already
Aunt Lucille, & cousins Holly and Jeff
(Art Carroll Jr.)