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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.


  1. Was there a hurricane in 1944 too? I remember I was in the kindergarten in NG elementary in 1945 and we had one then, seems like kind of late in the season. They had us file out into the hallway and crouch down until the worst part passed by. When I got home (I lived at the Leepa farm), the hurricane had lifted the large roof off the chicken coop and set it on the ground alongside the coop.
    Beverly Mathis Robinson