Summer Tales of West Orange Revived After Fifty Years

A Memoir About the Early Days of Ginny Duenkel Municipal Pool Debuts
This retelling is so richly detailed that there's no doubt it's all true.
This retelling is so richly detailed that there's no doubt it's all true.
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WEST ORANGE, N.J. - Sept. 5, 2017 - PRLog -- It's difficult to believe but the powers that be in West Orange, New Jersey, went the entire summer without acknowledging that this was the fiftieth anniversary of the municipal swimming pool, which at one time was the center of the town's summer universe. But today, the day after Labor Day, brings the debut of John Dandola's Sun, Fun, and Pervasive Politics: A History and Memoir of Ginny Duenkel Municipal Pool. The date of release was chosen specifically because fifty years ago, Dandola (who is West Orange's resident author, screenwriter, playwright, historian) completed his lifesaving training at that town pool and the results of testing were posted on Labor Day of 1967. The next summer, he began employment there as the youngest and longest-tenured lifeguard, ultimately serving ten years and winding up as the assistant manager.

The book also includes a history of Colgate Playground, where the pool is situated. It all holds that sort of very special wit and charm which a professional writer can bring to material and the accuracy of even the smallest details in Dandola's retelling is due to the fact that, like so many writers, he kept detailed journals. In fact, he acquired his first literary agent while still in college because of a movie script he wrote about working at the pool.

"It was my growing-up place," Dandola recalls. "It was there where I met a great many people who proved important in my life and who were very important to the pool itself. Unfortunately, the town politicians choose not to remember any of those people but instead recall their political friends upon whom they heap unfounded praise. I'm in a position to rectify who should get the proper credit. I have no doubt that is why the politicians ignored the pool's fiftieth anniversary because they didn't want to address what I knew from firsthand knowledge. In West Orange, the town history is constantly rewritten so that it only benefits political motivations. That's just plain wrong. It tramples on the legacies of people who deserve to be remembered."

In his book, the author has made sure to name the people who deserve the real credit for the early days of the pool.

"I've worked with many famous people in my show business and writing career," he explains. "But it will probably come as a shock to readers that many of my most formative relationships came about when working at the pool. Once upon a time, it was a very special place."

Dandola is known for his meticulous research and his mystery novels set in West Orange during the 1940's have won raves from reviewers for their accurate depiction of life on the homefront during World War II. His attention to detail and correctness is just as evident in all of his non-fiction histories of West Orange.

Sun, Fun, and Pervasive Politics is 216 pages and contains vintage photographs from the author's private collection along with countless vignettes about what went on behind the scenes at Ginny Duenkel Municipal Pool. The book has been acquired by reference libraries throughout the state so that it is now part of the public record and can be used as a resource for future generations. Once catalogued by those libraries, sales will be open to the public.

For more details about the book, visit:

For those interested in owning a copy of Sun, Fun, and Pervasive Politics, inquiries can be made through the publisher by contacting
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Tags:West Orange New Jersey, Ginny Duenkel Municipal Pool, History
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