year of graduation from Gateway

For Shannon Brandreth - a place named Brandreth

Hi Shannon,

I saw you listed on the Woodbury Heights Elem School site.

Your name jumped out at me because in winters past I have cross country skied along the unused railroad tracks in the photo below from Beaver River to Brandeth and back.

It is the only place named Brandreth that I know of --- and having your name you should know of it too.

All the best,

Bob Thomas

VanLeer - Van Leer - Finley - Finley - Estilow - Thomas - and a photo of the home of one of my third great grandfathers

Finding some of the places that my ancestors lived.

***** Update *****
Found a photo of William Finley, the father of Chester Alexander Finley - husband of Beulah M. Van Leer. I don't know much about the photo, as far as when it was taken or who the little girl was. I think that the photo was taken late in the life of William Finley, 1849 - 1935.

Chester "Pop" Finley was my great-grandfather. I realize now that I didn't really lay out the whole genealogy -- as I understand it -

Here's an image the lays it all out.

Going A Long Long Ways to Find A 1965 Hit Song Coming At Me

"A dugout, Marie", I said. "A dugout, not a canoe. A canoe is a whole 'nother level of culture."

A dugout is a log with part of the log removed.

Here's a link to a photo of a few dugouts


These were about the size of the one that I was ferried across the Niger River on when visiting a friend in the Peace Corps in Niger in 1977.

Remember Your First Days Without Training Wheels?

On Saturday May 3rd, 2009, my grandson, Mason, asked to have his training wheels taken off his bike. His father, Aaron, being a really good father, broke away from the job he had started of getting the boat out of the barn and readying it for the new season.

The Hits of 1965 - Youtube keeps them accessible - Listen!!

Jack Wiler has a blog - not really news now - but he listed the hit tunes of 1965 and I thought that it would be fun to list them with links to youtube vids of them - with the sound of course... His blog is


I don't think we had all these 45s at my house and my sister loved to listen to records.

I don't have this many now. There may only be one 45 rpm record in the house and it is not a hit.

But I can listen to them when I please long as no one takes my internet awaaaay --- sort of like don't take my kodachrome away.

A little info on the ancestors of Bob Thomas in Gloucester County - Ganttown Rd - near Turnersville, NJ

Recently I have taken an interest in Genealogy - fortunately some of my relatives have also. One of them used her/our family history in writing her master's thesis. Her name is Karen Lynn (Gant) Heiser. She is a graduate of and an employee of Rowan University. She grew up in Glassboro, NJ.

You can click on the link to download the Word Doc that she created. I recommend downloading the link and then opening the file. Enjoy!

Gant Genealogy

Photos of Favorite Places - Beaver River, NY

Do you have a favorite place that you have visited a number of times over the years?

Why not add a story to the site about a place that you would like us to know about.

What Do You Mean by the Site Name GatewayFirstFourYears.com

A visitor to the site wrote:

My wife wants to know the meaning of the site name. Do you mean the first four graduating classes? School opened in '64 so she's confused and will make my life a living hell unless I get an answer.

My answer is:

Two Short Videos of the Class of 1970 Reunion - 7/5/2008

Sometimes people have more luck watching a video after it has been converted to youtube's format.

Woodbury Heights on the stairs

Wenonah on the stairs - video from the stairs - I am trying to say "at a Press Conference"

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