The year was 1954………… Bill and Rita Asher decided that their Cape Cod home in Mineola was too small for their growing family. Rita had been campaigning for years to move and when she found the perfect house in the perfect location, husband Bill had to agree that it was a good idea. She found a development in Huntington (it always felt more like Greenlawn) called Salem Ridge which was being developed by a builder named Boris Gertzen. Gertzen built two styles of homes, split levels and ranches. Brian’s family bought a split level home which was modified from the standard three bedroom model to a five bedroom model to accommodate Brian, his parents, older brother, younger sister, younger brother and grandmother. Below is a copy of the Newsday ad for Salem Ridge that Brian’s mother saw to find out about their soon-to-be built home.
They moved right in and the siblings, 4 of them, all attended the Broadway School (now Harborfields Public Library) … Brian and Jerry were the oldest two boys who lived in the house in the upstairs and largest bedroom, and the other two siblings are Andrea and Randy. This soon became the “hub” for the kids from Salem Ridge Drive … soon to be referred to as “The Salem Ridge Gang”. The family thrived with friends and sports and fun on Salem Ridge. When you stood at the end of Salem Ridge Drive you could see all the way down the street because there were no tall trees yet and you were able to see the swimming pools being built up and down the street. At the time there were no fences around the pools so one of the big things at night was to go “Pool Hopping”… that is sneaking into your neighbor’s pools and see just how many you could “hit” in one night! Another mischievous thing that would happen as they got older and stronger was “borrowing” a small dingy from one neighbor and putting it in their friend’s pool…. I remember hearing about the morning that Bill Asher woke to get ready for work and peeked out the window only to see someone’s dingy floating in his pool….. Wasn’t happy!
Brian’s best friend, Tom Kubicki, lived at 8 Cherry Lane…. He and Tom soon became inseparable. They played basketball for the Huntington YMCA Bobcats coached by Mickey Norton and then both went on to star on the Harborfields High School football, basketball and baseball teams. BUT how did Brian and Tom go between each other’s houses? There was no Buttercup Lane or Windmill Drive…. On that property was a working farm called Miller’s Farm. The man who ran the farm was Rolf Walters. There one could see cows being milked, chicken eggs being gathered, horses being ridden, and cattle being slaughtered! Playing hide and seek in the barn in the haystacks was a fun activity. Brian would play basketball at Tom’s house or vice versa and when they walked back home across the farm fields after dark they had to be careful not to step in a “cow pie“…
Driving down Salem Ridge Drive from Greenlawn Road the “development” ended at 23 Topsfield Lane and at 41 Salem Ridge Drive. The next Salem Ridge development was called “Crown Estates” and began at 43 Salem Ridge Drive. That development started around 1961 and extended all the way around to Renwick Avenue. The majority of houses built in Crown Estates were very popular spacious ranches or farm ranches with a few colonials here and there.