This interview is wide ranging and covers many topics relevant to life in Tabernacle during the first half of the last century. Some of them are:
- Vincentown-Tabernacle Telephone Company
- First Post Office in Tabernacle
- Indian Ann
- Gilbert Knight
- Harvest Home Dinners
- Development of Medford Farms
- Red Lion Store
- Sylvester (Preacher) Waters
- Dick Haines’ Store
The interview begins with the audio recorder beginning in mid-conversation. It soon becomes more coherent.
Multiple speakers: When they first came in (highways), (route) 39 which is now 206, I never went because I didn’t own a skate but did you? No, I was too young. I remember me and Dee , Ruth went down there and skated. What traffic there was. Yeah. That was 206. Imagine doing it now. Oh my goodness, you can hardly get out on the road now.
Multiple speakers: Course up until now, maybe they put the light there. Cross the road. You know, there’s no trouble at all. Well it’s a big help the light down at Tuckerton. It helps a lot.
VS: Well, I think you did ask him when electricity first came in. I couldn’t remember. I think it was 1930. We did talk a little bit about the telephone, but it was the Vincentown/Tabernacle Telephone Co. It was in Vincentown, and Tabernacle had two lines: a number 8 line and a number 21 line. It was 21 because it was two short and one long ring. I don’t know what the 8 was but I don’t know if it was 8 short rings or what. I didn’t get that information.
VS: And the tar road, Red Lion Road it was at that time, now it’s Carranza Road, was tarred in 1927. And we talked about this. And I think we did mention this, you know, the connection. In 1877, there was put here, I think it was in what we now call Nixon’s Store, the United States Post Office and It was there until the advent of Rural Free Delivery service (RFD). Now that had to be somewhere else because Willett’s Store didn’t come until 1880. So we have to see if we can find out where the Post Office was. It could have been in this store, you know, this one next to the cemetery. We have to look and see if it was there in 1876 because it says so, doesn’t it, on that map. The Post Office was there in l8… we don’t know. The Willett’s store was on that 1876 map.
And Inawendiwin in conjunction with Indian Ann, she was supposed to be a princess of the tribe. What tribe, I never heard that either. Inawendiwin is supposed to be the Indian word for Friendship. Let’s see…Friendship Sawmill, it existed 1850 until I don’t know when. It not only sawed wood; it burned charcoal.
Interviewer: Who ran the Friendship Sawmill?
VS: Well, I don’t know. I’m just telling you what I have.
VS: And from here to Philadelphia was a 10 hour trip on dirt roads by horse and wagon and I have one more thing here. The land for the one room school house which was by the town hall was donated by a Charles Bowker. His name “Bowker” is on that 1876 map. But it didn’t say when. And the Union School House where my mother went to school over on Indian Mills Road were both one room schools, but the Union School was abandoned very shortly, and the one room school by the Town Hall of today became a two room school and it was moved to where it sits today and an eight room school in 1936.
Interviewer: Now, Mr. Bowker, I wonder if Patty Bowker is related to Mr. Bowker?
VS: Probably but that’s the strangest thing: My father always insisted that that road was not really Patty Bowker Road. That that is a new name for the road, but I have no way of knowing what it would be unless I looked up some of the old maps and, hopefully, they not only put the names of the house people but the road, which they don’t have on this map.
VS: Now, do you want to hear about Indian Ann?
VS: Indian Ann was born in 1805 and lived to be 90 years old. She is buried at the rear of the old cemetery in Tabernacle. She was the last of the Lenni-Lenape nation to remain in New Jersey. The Indians were here long before the settlers arrived. The Haines in the area in 1682. (Laughing) As if that is anything wonderful. There were Indian relics that I have at Sunnylawn Farm and Patty White Hill. Now, Indian Ann wove baskets and we have one of her baskets. And sold them by going from farm to farm receiving bread and other food in exchange. Now that’s the only thing that I have about her at the moment.
VS: Now going back to Gilbert Knight that built that Knight-Pepper House about 1862. He himself was a blacksmith. Now this may answer the question Ralph asked me last week. He insisted that my Uncle William (Cutts) had someone else in the blacksmith shop with him, but I don’t think it could have been this Gilbert Knight. I think he would have been gone by then, but I don’t know who it was. I always knew my Uncle William had the blacksmith shop, but I never knew he had a partner. Now, the son of Gilbert Knight (this is all on the sign in front of the Gilbert Knight House) his son became Burlington County Clerk and was a member of the New Jersey Public Utilities Commission. Now, Gilbert Knight and his wife, I don’t remember her name, are buried in the old cemetery, quite close to the front of the cemetery, and I put flowers there all the time for them like I put for my family. I think that’s only fair.
Interviewer: Thank you.
VS: This is about the two room school. I don’t know why I wrote that. The triangle of Red Lion Road and Hawkin Road, and Red Lion Road is now Carranza Road, was the sight of an annual Harvest Home held by the Methodist Episcopal Church. The famous Chicken Dinners were served under covered pavilions and tables and benches. There was a separate cook house. A thousand or more came from all over. There were several sit down tickets sold. Usually there were about 8 sit downs. Now that was a big affair, especially for out in the country as it was these days, on a dirt road and far away. The people had to come from distances, because the Tabernacle people wouldn’t have made up a thousand or more patrons.
Interviewer: Now what does it mean to have 8 sitdowns?
VS: Well, could you explain that better than I could, maybe?
IA: Maybe they had six tables and they filled all those tables up. That’s one sitting. They get up then you set the tables. Another group comes in and that would be the second sitting. And on that way.
VS: Now, I doubt that they sold these tickets ahead of time.
IA: I don’t see how they possibly could.
VS: No, you had to buy your ticket when you arrived. And if the tables weren’t filled up when you arrived, you sat down and ate then. Otherwise you had to wait for the other people to enjoy … they were always chicken dinners and I know Millie(?) gave me something else somewhere but I don’t know where it is right now.
IA: How much chicken cost?
IA: How much potatoes was? How much coleslaw? And stuff like that.
VS: Yea, yea.
Interviewer: Where did all the chicken came from?
VS: Probably the Women’s , everybody grew their own chickens. And so, I don’t know whether they bought them or donated them. I’ll come across that somewhere. (Laughing) Now, they did more than that Harvest Home. The Harvest Home would be in the Fall…..you’re bringing the harvest home. Anyway, this is more information about the suppers. In 1877, the Methodist Church held a supper in the Mechanics Hall at Tabernacle. On Tuesday evening, 23rd instance proceeds for the benefit of the church and this was published in 1977 in the Burlington County Herald, Mt. Holly. (Laughing) look what’s on this next paper. Oh, the electricity that came to the township in 1930 was the Atlantic Electric Company and they stayed around for a long time. Till it was taken over by Connective.
IA: Yea, mmmhmm.
BL: Good Morning!
Interviewer: Good Morning. BL is here. Your always rushing around.
Interviewer: Hmm. It sure is, this beautiful of December 5th.
BL: Well, I just stopped down to see Gene(?) I wanted to see something in the newspaper. I wanted to go over that.
VS: What newspaper?
BL: Gary Mitchell’s never been informed. Nothing. Nobody knows nothing.
Interviewer: I know.
VS: The Burlington County Times or something?
Interviewer: I don’t get that.
BL: A future article in there again one more time.
Interviewer: O my.
BL: As you know…
Interviewer: I decided last night, Bob, after, you know…after I’ve been…
BL: I know you’ve been pushing the issue. You know, the interesting part of this, the administrative (end of this conversation) Laughing
Interviewer: We’re here today it’s 12 December 5th 2000 with Irene, Viola and BL. And BL is going to give us biographical information today as well as information about Medford Farms as well as anything else that comes up.
BL: Well, I guess it all began in Camden on Hayes Avenue. My father was a printer, Tom L, my mother worked for Kraft Food Company in Philadelphia. She used to write the advertising materials up. They were one of the largest feed producers in through this area. They married in 1936. I was born 1937. They first probably less than a year I spent on Hayes Avenue and they came, someway, they got out in this area. Well Medford Farms really started to develop after the Depression. The original tract I think was 380 odd acres and it had a bad forest fire went through it. Around 1929, 1930.
Interviewer: They moved to Medford Farms?
BL: Then the property was… in fact, Medford Farms originated at the Old Red Lion store. The owners were there and a gentleman from Philadelphia stopped there. He was a real estate tycoon and he bought property. I did one time know what the figure was, but it was ridiculous 300 some odd acres.
Interviewer: For $35,000 dollars.
BL: If it was that, yeah. He had a friend by the name of John Richter who was a licensed surveyor and developer. So he started to lay the thing out in lots, of course, they never came to the township. They just laid out paper lots. Most of the lots and streets were paper streets. They never really connected or did anything whatsoever. And they started a mass selling of the lots which were $25.00 a piece. A family by the name of Morgan bought the lot that my mother and father had and they built a 10 x 12 house on it. Ah, the rumblings of the war were off in the distance, but things didn’t look that promising, so they put the property up for sale and my mother and father bought it for, I think, it was $325. And my father was worried that, if this becomes a reality and we do go to war, I want my family in a nice, safe place. So, we came here, I was one or two years old, I guess.
Interviewer: Do you know how they heard about …
BL: I think they just took a ride, truthfully, I think that’s how they came across it. Really wasn’t anybody…There wasn’t that many people there at that time. There were 95% summer people. In fact, it was shantytown. That was, I grew up it was shantytown. I got my ears boxed at least once a week for years. I think that’s why I decided to move to this side of town, truthfully. Because it had a little stigma with it. And I guess in some respects it was. There were quite a few families that lived in car bodies. I remember with the biggest house in town was helicopter crate. The people bought the helicopter from the government, had it delivered to the yard, took the helicopter out, put doors and windows in it and lived in it. For years. That had to be on Hill Road. The highway itself was then Route 39, was pretty well developed with gas stations, little restaurants, mom & pop operations. As a perfect matter of fact, we had more commercial ratables in the early 40s than we do today.
Interviewer: Where was…you brought up the Red Lion Store. Where was that?
IA: Right across from the Red Lion Inn. It’s now closed up.
VS: Why did they close it up?
VS: Well, they were getting old and getting tired.
IA: Oh, the flower shop.
All: No, the one on the left hand. Oh, that one, Oh, ok.
BL: That was a grocery store…
VS: It’s been closed for 15 years.
Interviewer: Oh, I loved that building.
BL: The last one that was in there was a pizza which just didn’t seem to belong in that location. Really didn’t.
Interviewer: So, excuse me a second, Bob, it seems, Bob, Medford Farms stretched from there…
BL: No, it actually started just about where the speed shop is now. Ah, what do they call that? It had a name. Remember? It was Cedar Manor on the far end which would have been where McGoverns and the bank and all is. They call that end Cedar Manor. That first part up there had a name. And the middle where Mary Rogers store was was called Huckleberry Hill. You gotta remember that, Huckleberry Hill. Well, anyhow. Let’s see. Medford Farms was pretty well spread out. I would say we probably had maybe 20 families full-time when I was going to school and then it started to grow. After the war…
Interviewer: What year would that have been?
BL: Probably the early 40s.
Interviewer: Ok. It was spread out and that’s when you had the 20….
BL: Yes. I would say around 20 maybe 25 full-time. Summer ones were where what was called Cold Water Run which is the lake that no longer exists that be off of Lakeview Drive. There was a beautiful lake back there and there were quite a number of summer homes, mostly owned by people out of Philadelphia, and they would come in the summers. In fact, they almost had a country club back there.
I can remember when the lake operated full time, they had people took care of the place, built little buildings and had all kinds of picnic benches and stuff like that. But that was pretty much in existence in a falling-down condition until there was a drowning in the lake, and , of course, that was when the nasty lawyers reared their head and talked about possible lawsuits and Brick owned it at the time, same ones that owned the dairy farm up here, Roger Brick, and he brought a tractor down and pushed the dam out and that was the end of that and there’s never been any water in there ‘til this day. But I remember that well. That was probably in the mid-60s.
I would think early 60s when they took the dam out. It was all dirt roads and, like I said, they were paper streets so half of them ran into people’s front yards and wherever have you. There was no road making or anything from the township. If somebody became fairly well known in the community on this end, they had good relations with the township, then they might bring the grader over which, then, was a pull-behind grader. They pulled it with a tractor and it was a little self-contained unit that they would just take up and down the road and that was it. It was up to the public to keep the road open. I can remember where my mother was, half the winter, we went through the woods because you couldn’t get down the roads. The roads were in such bad shape. The mudholes were so deep. Right in my mother’s area, right next door was Jim Summers who was the one that started the original building code for Tabernacle in probably 1954 or something like that. He became a committeeman.
Interviewer: Go over this again for me; what road…
BL: Lake Road
Interviewer: Lake Road…Oh ok.
BL: Which would run down from where Teddy’s (Yates) got the plaza now. On that corner, there was a gas station which I do have pictures of at home with two gravity-feed gas pumps.. I used to work there when I was about 7 years old, I guess, and my pay for the day of pumping gas up to the top and filling tanks was a bottle of Holly beverages which was a 3 cent bottle of soda and I thought that was good money, you know, do the work and watch them do mechanical work. They had no garage. They worked out on the ground on a piece of canvas and they did some beautiful work there. It was really amazing. As a matter of fact, the people that had that garage are the ones that got some notoriety in the Carolinas with the movie, “Thunder Road”. They moved from here and went down to the Carolinas and they started building moonshine cars to run moonshine with. Their name was Wilson. Remember any of them?
Interviewer: What was a moonshine car, Bob?
BL: They had a big tank to put the illegal alcohol in and they were like a high speed, glorified Hot Rod and built to take hills and mountains and all that stuff and they’d outrun the Revenuers. That’s what they made their livelihood from and then when the movie industry got involved, they were featured in the movie and they built all the cars for that, but, as far as I know, there is still some of the same family in the South now and they’ve done very well. They’ve gotten into speed racing and all that kind of stuff. They would probably now be fourth generation.
Interviewer: And their name was?
BL: Mhmm. Wilson and Allen. There was two families there.
Interviewer: Do any of their relatives still live?
BL: No. They all went down to the South. Things were starting to grow too much probably around 1948 something like that. Things were popping and they thought it was time to get out of here ‘cause we were getting neighbors. On the corner which would now be the gateway going into Teddy’s project, there was a hotel and there was 3 or 4 cabins behind it. There name was Russo, no relation to … They were from New York. In fact, that’s the house we used to sit in and wait for the school bus because the doors hung wide open for probably 20 years. I tore that house down when I first started contracting when I was about 17, I guess, and that’s the material I used to build the house for Erik Hilts that took over the Haines’ store, the one on the end of Riedel Drive. That’s what that house was built from. Next to now going up the hill would have been a family by the name Vermender . He was a cook in one of the Atlantic City hotels. He used to catch a bus. He would go down on the weekend, probably on a Friday night and come back Sunday night and then she ran a little, sort of like a greasy spoon out of there during the weekdays. I don’t think they ever had that much business, but that was just one of the many…there was a place to get…
Interviewer: What years are we talking about?
BL: In the late 40s, maybe 1950s. Something like that. I would say 49, 50, 51. Medford Farms started to take off. A lot of the service people had a little bit of money and started to become available and buy the properties. Then lots went for $25 to $75 and upwards, now I guess a property in there would probably bring $40,000. I remember in the early 60s I bought quite a few lots with what would now be Summit and Woodside and I paid $45 or $50 an acre for them and I sold them when them got up to $300 an acre and that’s what I built my house with. I made a profit, but now I look at those today and I was a little behind the eight ball. (laughter)
Interviewer: You sold too soon!
BL: I never thought this thing would ever happen. I can remember, I grew up with Teddy, and him telling me when I first sold a piece of that ground that I was foolish, that I should hang on to that ground, and I said that you’re never going to see what you see in Earlton and up that way, you know, it will never come out here. (laughter) We had to. There were probably two stops, three stops for school in the entire area. I, for years, got the school bus at Mary Rogers grocery store on the hill. Before it was a grocery store, it was a candy store. It had a picket fence out front, it had a brick walk, and we used to open the gate to go down there and she had penny candy in the store. I was allowed to go up there because there was no traffic.
Oh, I can remember playing on the highway. (laughter) I can even remember going into the early 50s when I got my first pickup. We’d built a big sleigh. We’d pull that sleigh every time it snowed, we’d pull that sleigh clean down to Atsion and back and we would get scads of kids and adults and then we’d all go over to Bud Dolfins (?) house and we’d play his player piano and drink hot chocolate. That’s where we kept ourselves occupied and we used to get a lot of snow then. No matter what they say. A lot of snow. And a lot of skating. Remember when we used to ice skate next to the school up there. On…where Russo’s got the pizza now. That used to flood in there.
IA: The duck pond.
BL: Yep. Unhuh. Now you’d tell somebody there was a pond there, they’d never believe it. But that was froze and you brought your skates back and forth to school with you and you went out there and skated.
Interviewer: Now when you referred to the hill, would you go over again where the hill is?
BL: Ah, well it would be just about where VETCO is now. That was called Huckleberry Hill. There was, I believe, trying to think what kind of denomination church. Do you remember a church in there?
VS: I was stuck in this house. (laughter)
IA: I don’t remember a church.
BL: There was a church in there and that was…Jim Summers lived next…he got a house from Hog Island Lumber. I believe it probably cost him $300. something like that and he had it delivered in the yard and I remember father and everybody helped him put the house up. That’s how things were done. I mean barn raisings were not a new thing in that area. People did for one another and helped one another. And then they had a series of health problems. Jim left with his family, went to Philadelphia and when he came back, he bought that property and he also bought property where Foley’s, where the Indians have the gas station now.
Interviewer: The Mobil gas station?
BL: Mmhm, yeh. They bought the church. They tore the church down. And I was probably 14 or 15 because we didn’t even have the facilities to move the lumber. Most of it was carried from that one place to the hill, they built another house there. And that’s were Jim raised most of his family. He served as Committeeman, I would say, probably I’m gonna say up to 8 years on the township. Let’s see…what else is interesting up in there…I remember when Frank Grungo and Joe started building those stations when they had enough money, they would run another three or four rows of block there and, initially, some of their early work was done with only concrete pads.
They didn’t even have a building over top of it. And Joe lived in the tiny little house which would have been before Harvey Rogers, between Harvey Rogers and there was an Emmons, Paul Emmons. The house has since been torn down and then Yegger, Yegger, Bobby Yegger lived there, now it’s the Henrys. Jimmy Henry lives in there now, but there was a teeny little house there and that’s were Joe Grungo raised his family. And Frank lived in his mother’s house which was right next to the one that burned down a few years back. It was right next to the station. That’s were they lived and started their family. And slowly added…
Interviewer: What year would that have been?
BL: 1945, 46 somewhere in there, right after the war. They both were in the service. And when they came home, they took their muster outside and started the garage. We had Schwartzwalders, not Schwartzwalders, Indians have the store now, Sandy’s, that was a little grocery store. Lauer, Ed Lauer had. Mmhm. That was…
Interviewer: Do you know when that was started?
BL: I would probably say 1955, 56, somewhere in there.
IA: I would say so.
BL: Yeah. Then we had that; we had Mary Rogers up where…
IA: Which, excuse me, we talked about earlier as Mike Rogers.
Interviewer: Oh, OK.
BL: Yup, yup. Mary/Mike, Mary/Mike. Mary was a Lippincott came out of Medford and Mike was an uncle to Joe Rogers up here on Chatsworth Road, would probably be, supposedly be a direct descendant of Indian Ann.
Interviewer: Oh, really. Well how about that? Joe Rogers? How so?
BL: He would probably be five generations up the road. Through the…would that have been a sister to the Robert that Indian Ann was married to. I think.
VS: But I thought he was a Negro?
BL: He was…there was colored in the family. If you can remember Mike Rogers, he…
VS: He drove the school bus!
BL: Yea! (laughter) They lived in a little log cabin right next to the Emergency Squad. Remember that little log cabin set right out on the road?
IA: Yes, I remember that.
BL: That’s where they first got married. That’s where they lived.
VS: You must remember. I told you. I was in this house. My mother didn’t go anywhere unless she could walk there. There was some sort of a mental block. So, naturally, I didn’t go either. So I don’t know all the things you’re talking about. That was a log cabin.
BL: It was torn down and they built a pre-fab house. Fact is, the couple that bought it was Gary and Robin Michaels. He would have been of the Michaels that lived there by Zimmermans on Zimmerman Road and they just got married. They bought the house, tore it down and built a new one. But it was a log cabin. There were a few of them around in the day. We had another Negro who did an awful lot of work. Irene, you gotta remember him, preacher, colored preacher. Farm labor for everybody. Brawny. He walked. He walked everywhere he went.
He had a set rate was 25 cents an hour for anything you wanted done. He did a lot of the basements. Drove a lot of wells. He would walk around, carry a sledgehammer and a well driving cap with him to drive wells. He put down wells and then his log cabin burned down and he dug a cave used some of the remains of the burnt, charred wood, dug a cave in the side of one of the holes they had dug to build the dams in Medford Farms in Brickie’s old bog and he lived in there for quite a number of years. In a cave in the back.
Interviewer: Did he have that…what was his name again?
BL: Sylvester Waters was his right name, but we all called him “Preacher”. Everybody called him “Preacher”.
Interviewer: And does he have any family still remaining here? (mumbling in background)
BL: Lord he’s been dead I want to say 20 years, but I think I better resay maybe 45 or 50. (laughter) Let’s see what else is a highpoint in that area. We had a shoe store. We had … somebody had shoe repair, too. We had the bakery. We gotta remember Dora Lawrence, Dora Lovett, where McNally’s was. Oh, yes, a full-blown bakery with a resident baker on the premises. That would have been late 40s, mid 50s. Yeah, something like that, that would have been mid 50s ‘cause then it went to Antonelli’s and became the Italian Kitchen where all of us young people hung out. I’ve got their jukebox home from the l950s.
Interviewer: And which store was this?
BL: Where McNally’s toys are. I’m trying to think what’s there now. It’s terrible. I go by it all the time and I don’t know if there’s anything there now.
IA: I don’t think there’s any store…Just a…
BL: Just a private home. In fact, I should have some pictures of that back before it was an Atlantic gas station. Well, in fact, almost every property on 206 had a gas station, gas pumps, maybe one or two tanks, something like that.
Interviewer: So which home is it? Is it still standing?
BL: The property is still there. As a matter of fact, she was Dora Lawrence, she would have been, what, one of Tabernacle’s first fatalities, I think. She was a Merchant Marine. She ran one of them oil tankers and they lived up here almost across from Harry Haines where Lester Eckert’s is now. They had a house there that burned. (mixed dialogue) She lived there then she moved into Medford Farms. She got in with her sister-in-law and brother…wait I can’t think of his name…Ernst Whitman, and he was a baker from Philadelphia and they decided to open a bakery shop and they did quite well there. They really did. I mean to think what we had and what we don’t have. And we think we bettered ourselves? No. I don’t think so. (laughter)
VS: This was before everybody had wheels. And so far away.
BL: Yah. Yes, Yes. Oh, Lord, I can remember Pete and Cliffy and them when we went to school, I mean…
Interviewer: Who were Pete and Cliffy?
BL: Worrell. If you wanted to stay for something after school, there was no late busses and all. Or if you wanted to go to Mount Holly to the movies on the hill, you rode your bicycle because, well like our family, I think we did three Fridays a month in Mount Holly and one Friday in Hammonton. Some reason they went to Hammonton for certain foods and stuff like that. And if you didn’t work yourself into that trip, you didn’t go no place because nobody…and my father used to take up car loads of people every day come to the house at 6 o’clock in the morning that worked in different places in Mount Holly. We used to take Charles Moore because he worked the eagle’s eye.
Interviewer: What was his first name?
BL: Ah, Charles. Charles, yeh, yeh.
VS: Father of this woman up here, Louise Moore.
BL: Or Frankie that I just saw at a viewing the other day. Boy he had two strokes and looks older that I am. Boy, makes you wonder. Russell gone. (laughter)
Interviewer: It’s all connected.
IA: Did they go to Hammonton because they wanted Italian food?
BL: Well, they did. They used to buy…well, your pastas and stuff like that were probably reasonably priced. You remember, you only had so much to stretch. At that time, my father worked for the Central Record, oh, not Central Record, the Mount Holly Herald. He worked Mount Holly Herald for, probably, I’m gonna guess, at least 15 years. He was head of production for a whole grand total of $25 a week, I think, and that was go to work be there by 7 o’clock in the morning and you got home when you got home, and like Thursday was the day the paper went out and, I mean, there was many a time when it would be early Friday morning when he came back from work, and then he started a small shop at home and then he started a small shop at home.
He printed from home and then probably 19, I’m gonna guess, 1950-51, something like that, he went to the Central Record. He started there. Then I worked there because my father got sick in ’53. I was still in high school, and, then, I started doing his work there. I didn’t even have a driver’s license. I used to drive from Medford and I worked there at night. They left the door unlocked for me, and I would go in and I would set heads and stuff like that. They did all the linotype work and I would set heads for the paper. That’s how I paid my father’s hospital bill and then I tended door for Leonberg Funeral Home to pay for his funeral.
All: Shhsh. Oh.
BL: Old Sam wanted me to go into the mortuary. He wanted to send me to school. He made me a beautiful proposition, but I was a bull-headed kid and didn’t want no parts of it. I was gonna do it on my own, no other way. I was gonna be a builder. I made up my mind and that was it. I wasn’t gonna be an undertaker. I wonder sometimes what would have happened… (laughter) But you were always on call if he had a problem. Pick up the remains. Tend doors and all that stuff. I still have a habit, if I go to the undertaker and there’s someone coming through the door, I still hold the door open for them. Welcome and all that, y’know. I enjoyed it; I enjoyed the people. That was the…
IA: That’s where you see the people…
BL: Yes, that’s where…
IA: That you haven’t seen for years.
BL: That was like the work with the Post Office. The Post Office was never a job to me. I enjoyed the people. That was when you sold yourself. We had no rules or regulations. We did what we saw fit as long as we got the job done. That’s the way the Post Office used to be run.
Interviewer: When did you work for the Post Office?
BL: Ah, 1954 to probably ’65.
VS: In the building itself?
BL: No, out on the roads, on routes.
Interviewer: Hmm, you delivered mail.
BL: We didn’t go up as far as the Meadows then. We used to go up to Shinske’s and turn around there. That’s where you’d get your mail if you lived in the Meadows. But if you had something special, I’d go up to the Meadows with it or I’d wait until I got in from Birches and then go through. That was the nice part of knowing everybody. Always the easiest way. Those were the days when I used to pick little kids up for groceries, and I’d pick somebody’s grandchild or something like that and I’d drive them an hour, half an hour, to get them to their grandmom because Momma had to go someplace, something like that. Nobody every said nothin’.
The groceries that we used to handle from Dick Haines’ store in the winter when people couldn’t get out. I’d stop and say, so and so called in an order or sent in an order, most people didn’t have telephones then, sent in an order. Could you take it with you? I would take a box or bag or somethin’ like that. Dick had a Model “A” with a box in the back and so did my Mike Rogers. They used to deliver groceries and most of them were on books or on the side. I mean, the people would run all winter long until things would pickup and then they paid their bill. I mean, boy, I wonder if the Acme would do that today. (laughter)
Interviewer: Sure. Of Course. I don’t even think Sandy’s would do that now.
BL: But Ed Lauer used to do it. Ed Lauer had a lot of them on the books. Mary Rogers was unbelievable. She would send a little kid in there with a little note or somethin’ like that, you know, and write it all on the bag. No computers, no nothing else. She knew what she had in the store. Harvey or Mike, we called him Mike, had a little hardware store out there and you named it, he had it. It may take an hour to find it. Go to the door, open the door. He’d start kicking stuff outside so you could get in the hardware store to find what you needed. That building is still standing.
Interviewer: Where is that building?
BL: That building is slowly falling down. That’s across from Vetco. That little white building right on the road.
Interviewer: That’s where you were saying the road is very narrow. Ok. Every time I go by there …
BL: Inside of the old place, it’s still pretty much the same. I was in there …don’t tell the township but there are some structural problems in there, so I was in there trying to help them do some steel engineering to shore the house up. But that building probably dates back to the Depression. Then, of course, I opened the front up and I…antique dealer came out from Lancaster area and he opened the front up and put all that up and it didn’t go. It isn’t an area to sell antiques in at that time. But…
Interviewer: So the window work across the side, that’s all…
BL: The original all had…
Interviewer: What year was…
BL: That was probably done 1960, I would say.
BL: ’63, ’64 when we started another push, but all those little windows in the original store had little paper tops on them like this and all single-paned windows in it.
Interviewer: Like a triangle at the top. Ok.
BL: And they were thick probably three bricks thick that wall and they were all stucco inside and out, but they ah…
Interviewer: Who lives there now?
BL: Ah, a family, oh boy, he works, the husband works for Scales, young Frankie Scales, drives a dump truck for them and she would have been one of the Jerry Glenn’s daughters, Beth. I don’t know what her married name is. That’s who lives there now.
Interviewer: Do they realize that they are living in an historic building?
BL: Probably not. There’s not a whole lot left of these in Tabernacle, unfortunately, so many of them went down. What we called Cedar Manor, that’s where the marble place is, the bank, whatever else is in there now. The old pizza parlor that’s empty now…That had a log cabin in it, too. I can’t remember what her name was. Dombrowski, wasn’t it? Do you remember?
Interviewer: Dombrowski? (mumbling)
BL: No, the house. She sold ground off there and that was Tabernacle’s second sub-division, called Cedar Manor.
Interviewer: Where J&B Floor Covering is now? That little strip…
BL: Mmm, yeah, that was all pines in there. Little short pines. That whole thing looked almost like you went out in the middle of the plains someplace like that, but they called it Cedar Manor and there were a few big cedars right out along the road. What else did they have in there?
Interviewer: We’ll give him time to think it (end of recording)
BL: Well you know we’ve been through that. Well ya know I still catch myself doing that today. I mean a lot of people are still aunt and uncle Charlie. I can remember when I was little coming into the little church. You could touch the walls if you put your arms out.
Interviewer: Which church was that?
VS: Right there where that building is. It was a small church here to begin with.
BL: Built what, in the 30’s? 39?
VS: Oh no, it would have to be before that.
BL: I can remember it had a little gold leaf in the window.
VS: 1916, about 1916 I think. I think
BL: I can remember when the water tower was out ….
VS: Oh yea.
BL: Ernst was the first house and Walter was in the second house? Walter (Goldy??). I went to school with …..
VS: It wasn’t two houses, it was a two family house. Ernst and his father lived on one side and Walter and Goldy lived on the other side.
BL: Whatever became of …..?
VS: She’s in California, she’s not well. She’s had a lot of tragedy in her life. But she’s surviving. She was here a couple of years ago.
BL: I tried to catch up at Christmas time with Alice, to keep track on what’s going on there. Cause I never get to see any of them anymore. I did get into see …. last week I guess.
VS: Well Anice has been out of the hospital and a nursing home.
BL: Yea that’s what they were telling me. He’s been in Cadbury, that’s a shame.
VS: Yea, he was back in the hospital last week.
BL: …. lived in a teeny house where a..
VS: Yea, I don’t know their names. But till he built them a house.
BL: Yea I think I could still probably go up this road , or I could go up Medford Lakes Road
Multi speakers, garbled.
BL: It was an oiled road down as far as Carranza, just to the school and everything was graveled from there. Your road was still dirt, remember that? All the time you we going to school.
Interviewer: That’s Medford Lakes Road.
BL: And the other side was dirt and gravel. There wasn’t a hard road I guess other than Route 39. I can remember the big time when we all went out and watched when the war started and there used to be a round circle, with a number painted in the middle of it on the corner of Hawkins Road, which told you what road you were on. And they painted that over so the bombers wouldn’t know where they were. If I remember well I stood out and watched while they painted it away. That’s gotta be 41 or 42. Funny some things stick but other things I can’t remember anything of.
VS: Well you’re marvelous. (laughter).
BL: I can remember each one of those families.
VS: This is what we’ve done so far. Dee Collins, Eileen and myself and Kenny Yates, we have had him back too.
BL: Yea, I’ve got to get together with him one day because like we’ll go to a meeting and start talking and all of a sudden – mumbling, many speaking.
BL: When …. was little he used to come to our house. We used to have a lot of the young people come and they would play cards at our house when I was like so… I can remember Joe coming and playing harmonica after they’d play pinochle or something like that. And they would play monopoly at our house. I was to little to get in on the game but I remember sitting there.
VS: And we had Pearl Moore and Helen O’Neal and Helen said her husband remembered more than she did. So the next week I had Ralph Gerber and Virgil O’Neal. And he was full of … wasn’t he?
Interviewer: He did, we have to have them back because we have to talk about….
VS: I’m with you. I’ll put down here Ken Yates and Bob Lees.
Interviewer: Right, absolutely.
BL: I gotta stop at Ralph’s now. That’s usually what happens when I go there. We’ll get on something again (laughter).
Interviewer: Well then we need to get . It will be hard for Janice to separate the conversations.
BL: You know who would be good if we could get her? Janet …..
VS: We never thought of that.
Multiple conversations – garbled and laughter
BL: I think I saw more of it (tv) the month she was down. I’ve got one and put it upstairs. We’ve only got one TV in the house. We don’t use it that much. And I’ve seen some of these day shows.
END OF RECORDING