How to add a posting below . . .

To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Missing Mail and a Delightful Post Mistress

When Jackie and I moved to New Gretna from the big city of Toms River in the early 1970's, we quickly discovered that things are definitely different in New Gretna. The move went well, and we began to settle in our "new" house just across the street from the Presbyterian Church on North Maple Avenue.

In the early 1970's Jackie and I moved into the "Wettingfeld House" across the street from the Presbyterian Church. The house is presently occupied by the Jannsch family. (January 24, 2007 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

After about a week, we noticed that some things weren't right. Our garbage wasn't being picked up at the "curbside", and we weren't getting any mail. Something was surely amiss. I asked our next door neighbor, Minnie Shropshire, which days of the week were scheduled for garbage pickup and found out that the Township did not have garbage collection, but a landfill at the end of South Maple Avenue. We would have to cart it there ourselves.

A visit to the New Gretna Post Office solved the second problem. I had noticed a sign out front of a house on Route 9 that read "United States Post Office", so I thought that seemed like the place to solve my mail problem. I parked my car out front and walked down the side walk and up a short flight of stairs. I opened the door to a small foyer lined with mail boxes and stepped up to the opened window. The smell of bacon and eggs revealed what was served for breakfast that morning. 

The present home of Naomi and Sharon Maurer looks the same as when it served as the New Gretna Post Office. The only thing missing is the "United States Post Office" sign on the front lawn. (January 24, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

I no sooner mentioned my name to the lady behind the counter when she exclaimed, "Oh you're Mr. Stemmer. I've been expecting you." She quickly turned and picked up a large cardboard box, before I could begin to explain my problem, and plopped it down on the counter. "Here's your mail. I thought you might be missing it.", she continued. 

Post Mistress Naomi Post Maurer sorting mail in her home-based Post Office. December, 1954. (Photo courtesy of Naomi Post Maurer.)

After introducing herself as "Naomi Maurer, the Post Mistress", she welcomed me to New Gretna. We went on to solve the problem. Since there was no home mail delivery along North Maple Avenue, all of our mail had been going to and piling up in Gereral Delivery at the New Gretna Post Office. I signed up for a Post Office box and was in business. So, my daily routine of visiting the Post Office had officially started, along with a delightful friendship with Naomi which has continued to this day.

A few years later home mail delivery along North Maple Avenue became available, but we choose not to sign up. Now, one might think that it is an inconvenience to have to go to the Post Office each day to pick up your mail; however, you would be mistaken. You simply don't understand living in a small town. The daily excursion is an adventure and a social experience, as you never know who you will bump into at the Post Office and how your day might be enriched as a result. 

The New Gretna Post Office and it's Post Master or Post Mistress were an important part of the community experience in the "old days". This can clearly be seen in the following October 20, 1949 Tuckerton Beacon articles where a house warming party and a new Post Office facility opening were intertwined. Where else would you see this but in New Gretna? Friendship and service clearly went hand in hand, and we were the better for it.

Tuckerton Beacon - October 20, 1949

Today, our Post Office is no longer a part of a private home, and I miss that; however, there still is the friendly, small town atmosphere, and I still look forward to seeing friends and neighbors there. I may not smell bacon and eggs from an early morning breakfast, but I still get a friendly greeting and smile from our present Post Mistress, Michelle Scamoffa, and enjoy visits with Naomi who is enjoying her retirement. 

Our present Post Mistress, Michele Scamoffa. (February 20, 2003 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Well, I've got to be going. Time to check on my mail. Meet you at the Post Office!

Pete S


  1. Wow, Pete! Thanks for the great press! I hope to serve the New Gretna community as well as Ms Naomi and Ms Leek! Hard shoes to fill, but I'll keep on tryin'. Any folks reading this and/or just passing through New Gretna, please stop in and visit. We still have that down home feeling, but no bacon and eggs..


  2. Thank you for sharing your story. Naomi Post Maurer was my mother's great aunt and she was dear to my heart. Sadly, she passed away a year ago and we miss her.