Lee: 1942 was my first summer in Woodmont. I lived in Springfield, MA. My brother-in-law’s mother had a cottage right behind Sloppy Joe’s. I came down one summer from Sunday to Sunday. I stayed at Mrs. Wixman’s place where I paid $15 for room and board for the entire week! She served 3 delicious meals a day.
Lill: It was a cloudy day and I had nothing to do, so I decided to take the trolley to Woodmont and spend the day with my girlfriend Pauline whose family had a cottage there. My mother said, “S’balt gein a regen—it’s going to rain soon.” I said, “Who cares?” I went to Pauline’s cottage and her mother was there with her sisters, so we decided to go to the beach. That’s where I met the love of my life. He threw a pebble at me to get my attention. We started talking, and I thought he was nice. I remember he asked me what I do for excitement. At that time we had Savin Rock so I told him about it. He asked me if I would care to go with him. I said I have to ask my mother—I was 16! My mother said I could go if Pauline came, too. So she brought a friend and all four of us went to Savin Rock. We spent some dates walking back and forth to the Anchor. A year later in the beginning of 1944, we were married.
Lee: I was in the Service for 3 years. I was overseas for a little over a year, shortly after we got married.
Lill: I went to Woodmont from as far back as I can remember. When I was really little, Papa didn’t work on Sundays, and that’s when we went to Woodmont. We’d park at Platt’s, and there was a little shed and cottage. It cost 10 cents to park and that allowed to you change in the shed which had a shower. For 15 cents, you could change in Mrs. Platt’s own house and use her toilet. We’d spend the day at the beach which was so full, it was hard to find a place to sit. My mother would make food on Friday. She’d make “gedempte fleish,” roasted meat with potatoes, and heat it up on Sunday morning, and wrap it with newspapers and blankets. When we’d eat at 2:00 p.m. it was still piping hot. Even after the sun went down, we stayed. Everyone would sit around at Platt’s…I remember the mosquitoes killing us, and everyone would slap at them. We’d stay until 8 or 9 at night. They had soda in a big barrel which cost 5 cents.
I was very friendly with Ruthie Glickman. Her father Mr. Glickman had a row of bathhouses, and for 10 cents you got a key and could use the bathhouse to change into your bathing suit. They had a little shack in the front with candy, ice cream, and soda. Sloppy Joe’s was right near there and would be open until 3 in the morning! The Stuart House was across from Sloppy Joe’s on the water. They rented out rooms and had a communal kitchen. Each family would get one shelf in the refrigerator. My Tante Ettel and Uncle Myer used to stay there with their 2 children, and when I would join them, it would be all 5 of us in one room! During meals, I remember how people would say, “einmetze hot geganvet di putter” (someone stole the butter) and everyone would act like they were deaf, and say, “Not me.”
My friend Lois used to spend summers at the Poli Estate as a companion to a young girl whose parents rented one of the estate homes. It was all very private, but I did go in once, and I remember how beautiful it was, especially the marble floors. I remember that there was a wedding on Abigail St. Mrs. Lettick’s niece married Arnie Saslow outside Mrs. Lettick’s home on the beach.
Lee: Mr. Lebov, a carpenter who did some work at the synagogue, lived near the Poli’s and he had an elevator in his house, which was a novelty.
Lill: After we got married we came to Woodmont in the summers. For several years, we rented a cottage on Sperry Court, off of Merwin Ave. We had a living room, kitchen, and 2 small bedrooms. We had 2 children at that time and we were all in one room, and my parents—who, when they heard we were renting, said “mir kumen eichet” (we’re coming, too)—stayed in the second room. Our neighbors were Gella Rogoff, the Avigdors, and Lillian & George Kerson. We’d spend our days on the beach, of course. We’d get up in the morning, and the kids would play a little on the porch. Then we’d all go and sit on the beach and stay there the whole day, moving a bit for the shade.
People would rent their cottages in the wintertime to ensure that they would get a cottage. Many, when they left on Labor Day, already left a deposit for the next year. If they didn’t, the cottages would fill up. It seemed as if everybody was in Woodmont.
Lee: The HCW was a real old-fashioned shul, with wooden floors, stained glass windows, and wooden benches. We’d go on Shabbos. In New Haven, we lived on Button St. We bought our house for $25,000—we paid $99 a month for our mortgage and taxes.
We went to Woodmont from the 1940s through the 1970s. At the end of this period, the Jewish community there was dwindling. The older generation had kept everything together as a family unit, and once they were gone, things fell apart. Joining country clubs became popular, Momauguin was an attraction, and people in general looked to go elsewhere for the summers. The last time we were there was with all three of our children. Our oldest daughter Anita was married and she came with her husband, Danny.