I spent time in Woodmont in the late twenties and thirties from before I was a teenager until I graduated high school. We would go there in April or May, depending on the weather. My father used to bring us to school and then we’d take the trolley – it was still a closed trolley in the spring – to Woodmont. We stayed until Yom Kippur.
My parents were Samuel & Eva (Sarotcheik) Ruderman. My father was a builder and helped build the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont in 1927, and the social hall in 1947! He was from Latvia, and my mother was from Odessa. They would speak in Yiddish between themselves, and to us in English. We lived in the Bagel Beach area. He also built our house and two separate bath houses in the back, for us to use when we finished swimming. Our cottage was two stories and the bedrooms were all upstairs. We were five siblings and we all got along pretty well together. My sister, Shirley Rubin, now lives in Hamden.
The people who lived near us were the Coopermans and the Feldmans (who had a big crap apple tree in their yard), and we lived behind the Romers. My best friend was Leona Romer. We did everything together: walking, swimming, and picnics on the beach. Sometimes the older kids would watch us. We would swim out to Barrow’s Rock when it was low tide.
After breakfast in the morning, we’d go to the beach, swim, come back for lunch, and then go back out. We’d return in time for supper. Sometimes we’d roast marshmallows on the beach. The parents would make the fires and supervise. There were a lot of kids on the beach. We used to get 5 cents and would buy Indian nuts or an ice cream cone from the ice cream parlor with fancy chairs. All the kids in the neighborhood walked down to the Anchor and back—that was our exercise. It took us half an hour each way and we’d go at dusk. The trolley was a nickel or a dime. The benches ran straight across the trolley. I remember it stopping to pick up students for football games. Sometimes we’d take it to the other beaches, like Morningside and Walnut Beach.
The adults used to congregate and play cards; the men would play pinnacle and the ladies would play bridge. I remember that our parents would take a holiday [vacation] for a week and would leave other people to take of us. Sometimes we would spend the day in Wallingford and visit relatives. I remember the Sauter Hotel where people from New York would stay. During August the waves would come up and we’d stay on the steps of the Sauter Hotel and watch the waves from the stairs.
I remember that there were three little Jewish ladies who used to go to the synagogue and march around there every day and say prayers, two times a day. Two of them were Mrs. Romer and Mrs. Perry; I don’t remember the third. Later on, I became friends with Mrs. Perry’s granddaughter. In the summer, the ladies had a bridge game in front of the synagogue and if we helped serve, we got ice cream! So of course, all of the kids loved to help!
When I think of Woodmont, I think of our summer home and the fun times we had.
My husband was Lewis Rosenberg (later changed to Ross) and he lived by the Anchor when he was younger. His grandfather Abraham had the cleaning business on York Street, Rosenberg’s dry cleaning. My husband was a shirt salesman and after we married, we moved to the Midwest. We lived in Arizona, Las Vegas, and Iowca City, Iowa where I still live now.