School’s in and the crossing guards are out in Fair Haven.
With a signature wave and a “cross,” the man or woman who gets the children safely across the street to and from school is one of the first people they see every day.
And, through the years, some have found that person has become one of the last they’d ever forget. After years of scurrying to and from school, many children have unwittingly grown accustomed to the morning smile, wave and “cross” of their crossing guard at their crossing post.
This week has seen its usual flurry of schooltime activity in Fair Haven. And, after the kids were tucked away in their homes, the guard posts were unmanned and the spot at the bottom of the Third Street hill was still.
Peering through the rain and fog on Wednesday night was a bright bouquet of flowers at the foot of the Third Street sign. It was and is a poignant, singular reminder that Fair Haven is in mourning for the woman who was known to man her post there for many years with a smile, a wave and much more than a “Cross.” That woman was crossing guard Betty Schulte.
Betty guarded the Third Street post from 1979 until recently. And she will not be forgotten for simply being there.
Her presence at the foot of that Third Street hill, as evidenced by the flood of comments on the Fair Haven Facebook page, will forever be etched in the memories of many a Fair Haven kid, many of whom are now adults.
Betty died at 78 on Sept. 30. She was remembered at a service yesterday. Today she has been put to rest as many keep her modestly powerful memory alive.
Fair Havenite Jennifer Becker Maivia is the one who made sure there were flowers at Betty’s post, as she recalled her favorite guard.
“I'm 40 and live up the street, about three houses away, and to this day it's still odd to me not to see Betty at the bottom of the hill,” Maivia said on the Fair Haven Facebook page. “I'll remember her always. She was an amazing, wonderful woman. God bless and keep her wrapped in His arms.”
Chris Brenner recalled what he said made Betty special to not only him, but to the community. “Amazingly, she seemed to know each kid and the parents, year after year,” he said on the page. “You would think they would all blur together, but even years after my kids were grown, we'd see Betty in the Acme and she would ask for them by name. Amazing. I think it comes from really caring.”
“Thank you Betty for keeping my girls and so many children safe,” added Pauline Barry Clark.
And the comments continue to pour onto the Fair Haven page and that of the Thompson Memorial Home.
“I too remember Mrs. Schulte on the corner of Fair Haven Road and Third Street on my way to Sickles School,” Rachel Bonnor said. “Her bright smile and her warm ‘good morning’ were a joy to all …”
School’s in. Betty Schulte is no longer at the bottom of the Third Street hill. But people will tell you without pause that her caring smile, wave and “Cross” still man her post in their hearts.
Betty Jane Schulte was a Fair Haven resident for 32 years, since 1980. In addition to guarding, she was known to love the beach and time with her grandchildren there.
She is survived by: her husband, John, of 54 years; sons, Gerald, of Oakhurst, Jeff, of PA, and John, of Jackson; eight grandchildren, Stacy, Ashley, Jeremy, Zack, Ryan, Tyler, Amy and Emily and three great-grandchildren, Glen, Jacqueline, Madeline.