I’ve spent summers at Woodmont since 1936, when I was six years old. We were five sisters, and camp was too expensive; coming to Woodmont and renting a cottage cost us about $100 for the summer. Some years, my parents rented a cottage near Sloppy Joe’s; when we didn’t have a cottage, we’d come up to spend the day. We lived in New Haven during the year.
My earliest Woodmont memories are of our cottage across from Sloppy Joe’s. For lunch, we had lettuce and tomato sandwiches on bread with mayonnaise. I remember how we’d make a platter of these sandwiches, eat them, and then go to the beach. My mother and aunt would sit on porch and talk while we played on the beach. I also recall digging holes in the sand and roasting potatoes.
My parents were Anna Skolnick & Lois Kronick. They spoke Yiddish. My father was religious and he would go to Shul in New Haven. We were traditional. Later, when we moved to Clinton St., I remember people coming around to collect money for the Shul (Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont). I went there for services once.
There are some people that I remember from my youth in Woodmont: The ice man would come around once or twice a week. We would hang a sign in the window if we wanted ice and he would carry it inside to the refrigerator. It was important to be here when he came and not to miss him. There was also the Good Humor ice cream man–summer began when he came around. When we rented on Merwin Ave., about 40 years ago, our neighbors loved ice cream. Their dog even had an account with the ice cream man!! There was also the elderly man fondly called the “Mayor of Woodmont,” who lived in the convalescent home on Hawley Ave. He used to walk back and forth all day along the beach.
I remember coming down here from New Haven when we didn’t have a cottage. Usually, we’d take a ride at night to Sloppy Joe’s, have a sandwich, and then go back to New Haven. The Anchor was the popular meeting place. Every promotion day [the last day of school], my sisters and I would go to the Savin Rock amusement park and enjoy the rides. It was affordable fun! Some of the people I was friendly with were Claire Abrams, Patty Merkel Levy, Ina Hodes, Lanette Rudin Bletchman, and Joan Kalik Bailey. Dicky Jacobs was a classmate of mine.
My sister Stella married Sydney Leventhal at the Pembroke Hotel in the Borough of Woodmont. There were over a hundred people at the wedding! Mrs. Wixman was the Kosher caterer, and I recently found her bill from my sister’s wedding—the knishes were 10 cents a piece! I married Leon A. Medvedow. When he was younger, he spent summers in Momauguin in East Haven, CT. A lot of Jews would go there for the summer. When he was a senior in high school, he lived with sister in Morningside, and we’d walk down to the Anchor together.
After I married and had children, we rented different cottages each summer, usually in the Beach Ave. area. Some summers we had our own house, and other summers, we rented together with other couples. We joined the surf club with our kids. It was great for the children as they had company, and so did the adults! My children were into sports, and they were good swimmers. The children would also keep busy by having talent shows. One year for Woodmont Day, my husband was head of the pie throwing contest. There were many pies left and they were all thrown at my husband! When the children were small and I didn’t work, we’d stay on the beach until very late. Later, when I was working at YNNH, we’d come here and go swimming after work.
We eventually purchased a house on Clinton Street and spent about 26-28 summers here, and then 15 years ago, we decided to move to one house permanently and opted for the beach. I’ve watched Woodmont change from a summer colony to a year-round community. The old houses on the waterfront were gutted and rebuilt into mansions. Summer folks became year-round folks. When I think of Woodmont, I think of a warm community. When I would come to the top of our hill on Clinton St., the stressful day instantly disappeared and pleasantness took its place. The beach was totally therapeutic.