Wanted: A bit of earth to save a Metuchen Centenarian

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Rink house on Graham 007.100.jpgFollowing is a story submitted by Metuchen resident, Jirapon Rader-Chambers. It's about a very old home at the foot of Graham Avenue, just across the foot bridge near Spring Street, and the man who lived there.  It's a house that lets me to daydream into the past; one of those great old homes that looks pretty much like it must have 100 years ago - not fancy and ornate but the home of what I imagine was a simple, hardworking family.

 

The man who lived there for over 70 years recently died.  Jirapon is hoping to find a new home for his beloved vine - a plant with roots in Metuchen soil for the better part of a century.  

 

Here's her story about Mr. Charles Rink, a little bit about his good solid life and the window into Metuchen's past that he shared.  And, of course, his grapevine....

'We met Charles Rink one day when we stopped to admire his garden; it was overflowing with beautiful multicolored blooms.  He was in his early 80's at the time -  a very tall, healthy man with a happy and content composure. We could tell he loved his garden and spent many hours in it. My husband Roy, our son Aidan and I, would stop by on our walks to chat with him and spend time in his garden, admiring not only his flowers but the many handmade spinning pinwheels and propellers.  He had fresh cut roses set aside and I would always get a lovely smelling rose as a souvenir from our visit. He also loved to whittle and gave Aidan a delicately carved rabbit.  Charles told us about his childhood when he and his brother would swing over the ravine across the trains that used to pass by and how they would at other times throw fruit down the train's smokestack. He said the conductor would get so angry at them. Charles showed us many old pictures of his family and also had a picture of a relative who was in the Civil War.

 

We enjoyed hearing stories about his childhood just as much as he loved sharing them.

Charles lived in the house on Graham since the he was ten years old.  Maybe you saw him riding his bicycle around town. He was very strong and self-reliant.

 

Charles had a full, happy life. Sadly, he died this past November of 2008. The garden is

no more but there is a massive grapevine, nearly 100 years old, that will soon to be dug-up.  Charles spoke about the grapevine being at the home already when he moved in as a child.  He knew the weather in Metuchen would rarely produce a good harvest of grapes, but still he cared for and tended the vines. Thumbnail image for Rink house on Graham 004.jpg 

 

I would love to find a new home for some of it here in Metuchen with a plaque remembering Charles Rink. I will help in finding volunteers to do the work.'

 

If you think you can help, please email Jirapon through us at info@metuchenmatters.com

7 Comments

Some good news - looks like the vines may find a home on the Old Franklin School property on Middlesex Avenue. Jirapon and the Metuchen Garden Club are looking into the feasibility of this, and we at the Borough Improvement League (which owns the historic school house) are hoping this will work out. Can't say for sure that there will be any fine "BIL Wines" on the horizon (maybe just raisins?) but we do hope to include a marker with information about Mr. Rink and the vines.
-Tyreen Reuter (BIL president)

Thought I'd post this nice story received from one of our readers after this story was published:

Hi,

We miss Mr Rink. I remember the day I met Mr Rink. I had a bike of my brother in law's that he had left at our house. The gears were rusting and needed work. My brother in law didn't want the bike any more. I was bringing it out to the curb and was planning to put a take for free sign on it when I hear some guy saying you getting rid of that. Long story short Mr. Rink took the bike and fixed it up. He would ride by and always stop and talk about his childhood. A story he liked to talk over and over again was how him and his brother would mow the lawn and then flatten the grass with a roller filled with water. Well they got tired of flattening the grass and rolled the roller down to the tracks about an hour later some train workers were coming through and took it away. He laughed as he said his father fumed that someone stole his roller. Mr. Rink grew rhubarb. he said the plants were there since his mother planted them. Every year when the rhubarb was ready to pick we would find bags of it on our back porch. If you can't find a place for the vine we would be proud to have it in our yard.

Regards,

Mike Kornitas

It's on the Amboy Ave side of the bridge across from the funeral home. The parking lot is for the office buildings on Main Street.

The Metuchen Garden Club may be helpful in finding a place to relocate at least some of the vine.

Assuming it is being demolished that is. Why dioes Graham Ave need a parking lot, or is it actually on the other side of the bridge?

Another old home being demolished. This town sucks that way.

The house is going to be demolished for a parking lot.

Perhaps the grapevine could be moved to the library grounds or one of the schools.

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  • Tyreen Reuter: Some good news - looks like the vines may find read more
  • Jana Siciliano: Thought I'd post this nice story received from one of read more
  • EileenDover: It's on the Amboy Ave side of the bridge across read more
  • A. Sardone: The Metuchen Garden Club may be helpful in finding a read more
  • Steve Reuter: Assuming it is being demolished that is. Why dioes Graham read more
  • Steve Reuter: Another old home being demolished. This town sucks that way. read more
  • EileenDover: The house is going to be demolished for a parking read more

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