Opinion

It's probably safe to say that people who listen to morning radio have heard the John R. Gambling show on WOR. However, it's also safe to say that not too many know that in 1947, John B. Gambling and his wife, Rita, bought a house in Nassau Shores overlooking the Great South Bay that, until 1957, they used as a summer and weekend retreat. Both Rita and John B. loved to spend their leisure time polishing and cruising on the bay in their boat, "The John B11." John B. also enjoyed doing the yard work and fishing from the dock at their Nassau Shores home.

While the Gamblings lived in their Massapequa home, they were very active with fundraising for the Nassau and Manhattan Council of Girl Scouts. In 1954, Mrs. John B. Gambling was the honoring fundraising drive chairman and hosted a thank you tea for more than 150 volunteers at their home. The Bethpage State Park was the site selected for the 1955 Girl Scout Horse Show sponsored by the Nassau Council and Rita was on hand to award the Silver Trophies to the winners.

In a September 1985 telephone interview with Mrs. Gambling, she told me how much she enjoyed working with the Girl Scouts cookie sale. I'm sure if she was still with us, she would be right in the mix of this year's fundraiser. Rita died at her home in Boca Raton, FL. in 1995. Her husband died in 1974.

"This year's cookie project was to bring our troops serving our country around the world a sweet taste of home," said Donna Ceravolo, the executive director of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. "Operation Cookie could not have been possible without the help of the people who live in the Nassau communities and DHL, who donated their shipping charges." Ms. Ceravolo wants to thank everyone for their support of the Cookie Military Weekend held on March 14 and 15, which was a huge success.

During an interview for my Yester-Year in the Pegua's, 1985 bi-weekly series for the Massapequan Observer, Mrs. Gambling told me a bit of history. In 1922, someone at the Bamberger's Department Store in Newark thought starting a radio station to advertise sales and promote new products would be a good idea and it was to be known as WOR, preceded on the East Cast only by WJZ, now WABC. Following a year's trial run, it was decided that radio had no future in the stores' advertising plans. However, a station engineer convinced them to keep WOR on the air and in 1924 the station was moved to 1440 Broadway, New York City. Rita said that when her husband first worked in WOR, he had an exercise show. It wasn't long after that when John B. hosted his own radio show. By now, Rambling with Gambling morning show was the most listened to radio program on the airways. During that time the Gamblings lived in an apartment on Riverside Drive in the city and have the house in Massapequa. John A. was born there and attended private schools in New York City and went on to Dartmouth University. Later he took over the radio show, followed these days by his son, John R. Gambling.


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