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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

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Babies

Every New Years most newspapers print a photo or article about the first baby born in their community. Thinking that the Tuckerton Beacon was probably no exception, I reached back into my archives collection to see if I could find a photo or news item about a New Gretna "New Years Baby".

Sure enough, I found what I was looking for when I got to the 1947 Beacon articles. Unfortunately there was no photo, but the brief news item presented an early January baby born to a New Gretna family. Coincidentally, I happen to have breakfast with that 1947 New Year's baby every other Friday at our New Gretna Men's Breakfast Club.

The New Gretna New Year's Baby Award goes to Ricky Steele, born Richard Budd Steele on January 2, 1947 to his proud parents, Clarence "Budd" and Almira Cramer Steele. 

Clarence "Budd" and Almira Cramer Steele.
(Photo courtesy of Almira Cramer Steele.)

Ricky's cousin, Jim McAnney, also goes to our Men's Breakfast and is probably laughing right now thinking about kidding Ricky about this Blog post, as he usually does when I mention Ricky in the Blog. Well Jim, the laugh may also be on you. It seems that Jim was born just a few months after Ricky. I don't have his birth announcement, but I was able to find a January 30, 1947 Beacon news item about a Baby Shower that was held for his mom, Peg McAnney. You guessed it! That baby shower was for little Jim who was born April 4th. Those of you out in the Blog-O-Sphere with New Gretna roots will probably recognize the names of many who attended the shower.

Jim's parents, Ruby and Peg McAnney.
(Photo courtesy of Peg McAnney)

Cousins Ricky Steele (l) and Jim McAnney a few years
after their 1947 entrance into this world.
(Photo courtesy of Peg McAnney)

I want to wish all of you out in the Blog-O-Sphere a Happy New Year, especially my Men's Breakfast buddies, Ricky and Jim.

Pete S

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas


Let us all remember the reason
for the season.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Don Maxwell Remembers Frank Cramer

I got the following email from Don Maxwell related to last Thursday's Blog posting about Frank Cramer's Santa beard catching fire. It pins down the year that it happened.


A young Don Maxwell didn't miss
much that went on in New Gretna,

and he remembers it all.
Maybe I can shed a little light on the Frank Cramer episode of the beard burning. Unfortunely, I cannot pin down the exact date, but I believe Clif is pretty close. Frank and Rejessica sold the Rustic early in the 1940's, I believe around 1942. They were getting ready to sell in the late 1930's, as they were always talking about moving to Long Beach Island. They bought a lot very near the beach. As I remember, you could see the ocean when it became rough.

Frank and my father were friendly as was my mother and Rejessica. Frank contracted my father to build him a nice two story home on his new lot which was in Beach Haven. He started about the time the war started, in mid 1941, and finished it that same year. Frank, being a bricklayer by trade, finished off the outside with brick.

Speaking of his beard catching fire he had a much more dangerous one. It was just after Christmas, maybe a week or so. Their Christmas tree caught fire upstairs in their living quarters. Rejessica screamed for help, and frank ran upstairs, followed by Norman Mathis, Bob Mathis' uncle, and they grabbed the tree and got it somehow out the back door over the railing and down. it caused some damage like burnt curtains, etc. but not so severe they couldn't continue living there.

I do remember they lived on the beach during the 1944 hurricane as, after the storm, my dad took the whole family over to see them and to see if they had suffered any damage. They hadn,t much damage but Frank said Jessica and daughter Joan were hysterical during the storm.

Yes, Joan married Bill Kapler. It was the second marriage for both as they had both lost mates due to death. I have no idea where they live now. I do know that Joan became a Special Education teacher. Growing up she was one nice girl. My father said she was the nicest kid he ever saw. She was over at our house an awful lot and took a lot of meals with us.
Don Maxwell

Don comes to the rescue, again! I'll never know how he remembers so many details from so long ago. He's got to be the ninth wonder of the world!

Since Don remembered that Frank and Rejessica Cramer moved from New Gretna to Long Beach Island early in the 1940s, Frank's Santa beard had to have caught fire on December 24, 1938. Mystery solved!

Pete S

PS- After I received and read Don's email, I found a December 25, 1941 Gramer's Grille ad in my files. Although it was still called Cramer's Grille, the proprietor was George Yike. Frank Cramer no longer owned the establishment. This confirms the time frames in Don's email.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa and Murphy's Law

Christmas is just around the corner. Tis the season to be jolly! At least that's the way it is suppose to be. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned over the holiday season. Just ask Frank Cramer, the proprietor of Cramer's Luncheonette, whose efforts to bring Santa to the children of New Greta went awry as chronicled in the following Tuckerton Beacon article. Unfortunately, the news clipping is undated, but the incident probably occurred sometime in the 1940s. It shows that Murphy's law, "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong!", also applies to Santa.

Pete S

Frank Cramer

Frank Cramer was the proprietor of Cramer's Grille on the north-east
corner of present day Rt. 9 and North Maple Avenue.
(Postcard courtesy of Charles Richmond, Jr.)

PS- I'm wondering if Don Maxwell or Clif Brown recall the incident.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Years Eve Plans

2012 is coming to a close in a few weeks, and Jackie and I are starting to make plans for the New Year's celebration. Since we don't like to travel on New Year's Eve, we are planning to stay in town. The New Grena Minstrels are planning a New Years Eve gala and that seems to be just the ticket. Front row reserve seats are only 50 cents! If your budget is tight in this economy, general admission tickets are only 25 cents. What a bargain! Perhaps, you would like to join us.

Does anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere have ancestors who are listed in the program? Also, do you know the first names of H.Z.; J.S.; and C.G. Mathis? If so, let's hear from you!

I picked up our tickets the other day at Howard Mathis' store on New York Road, now Rt. 9, so that we would have them well in advance of the New Year celebration. 

Howard Mathis' store

If you want a good seat you had better see Howard soon, as the tickets are going fast. As the minstrel's interlocutor, he can also answer any questions you may have regarding the upcoming performance.

Howard Mathis

I'm not sure if the following New Gretna Minstrels photos are of the performers in the advertised New Year's show, but I suspect that many of them are. Perhaps, someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere can match the names from the above program with the performers in the photo.

New Gretna minstrels

The New Gretna Minstrels perform at Tuckerton High School.

I'm looking forward to seeing you all on New Years Eve! Now, if I can just find the Knights of Pythias Hall.

Pete S

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Shopping - New Gretna Style

Well, here we go again! Christmas is quickly approaching, and I still haven't started my Christmas shopping. Some things never seem to change.

I guess I'm not the only one who procrastinates during the yuletide season. Rita Allen who owned Allen's Variety Store on Allentown Road, now North Maple Avenue, in New Gretna placed a 1921 Christmas ad in the Tuckerton Beacon, especially for people like me who tend to wait to the last minute to do our Christmas shopping. Rita encouraged shoppers to "Avoid the inconvenience of last minute shopping" by stopping by her New Gretna establishment. It was good business and great advise.

Rita Allen, the owner of Allen's Variety Store.

I wish I could heed Rita's advise as her Variety Store was just down the street from my house, but it has been long closed. It would sure have made my Christmas shopping easier, as I'm looking for a pair of white shoes for my Men's Breakfast Club buddy, Ricky "White Shoes" Steele, and I bet Rita would have had an appropriate pair for sale. I guess Ricky is out of luck this Christmas.

Does anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere remember Allen's Variety Store or have you heard stories about it? If so I'd like to hear from you.

Pete S

PS- Ricky's mother, Almira Cramer Steele, told me that she first saw a telephone at "Aunt Rita's" store when she was a little girl. Allen's Variety Store was just down the street from the Cramer home. The phone was an oak box hung on the wall. It had a crank that you would turn to ring the phone. 

Aunt Rita would lift little Almira up onto a box which stood by the phone so that she could reach the phone and turn the handle.

I wonder if Almira had ribbons in her hair?