Telling it


printTales of the Ties that Bind

The Picnic
Across Company Lines

[see large picture]

As Shirley (Meltzer) Galik (she worked in the Real Estate office) remembers, the Turnpike picnics were a lot of fun—and not just because that’s where she met her husband, Turnpike State Trooper William Galik. She and a friend began the picnics in 1954, first inviting small groups, until it mushroomed. They held the first picnic at Donaldson Park in Highland Park, and later at the “Log Cabin” at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. After she left in 1959, they became annual events.

The picnic points out the ways those who worked along the road often crossed company lines. As John Cook recollects, “We had a great rapport. [In the 1960s] Howard Johnson’s was the vendor for the restaurants, and Citgo was the vendor for all the gasoline out there. You had the State Police, and you had the Turnpike people. . . . And when we had most affairs, there was no, ‘Hey, you work for Citgo, you work for Howard Johnson’s.’ No, it was ‘You work for the Turnpike.’”

Photograph of the Turnpike picnic, 1950s
Courtesy of Shirley and William Galik