The Woodbury Heights Lake Association is looking for old photos
and stories like these for our website.
Contact: Ann Smith @ 856-853-2724.
I recently had the opportunity to get together with some “girls” I
grew up with and one of them gave me the lake’s website. I’m Sue
(Conover) Wagner, grew up on Chestnut Avenue, went to school with your brother Mark and now live in Georgia. My Dad’s recent surgery in Delaware gave me the chance to make a one-day visit to New Jersey. I was telling Ann Smith (DeMario) that I can remember competing in a swimming contest
at the lake one year. If I recall correctly we had to swim across and back twice,
get out of the water and touch the wall. I remember I won a trophy, but have
no recollection of the place in which I finished. For all I know it couldn’t
been just me and Joy Tunnicliffe Mavros in the race. I think I talked her into
doing it. I have fond memories of fishing at the lake with my Dad and digging
up worms along the shore during the summer months and ice-skating on the lake during the winter months. I think I recall Barbara Spence falling through the ice one year – near the shore, only up to her
ankle. Ann suggested I send these memories to you. I hope all is well for you and your family. Take care, Sue
|Ice skating in the 50's
My husband is seen in the picture of the boys sitting on the
wall. It was taken in approximately 1954. The boy on the left nearest the bicycle is my husband's brother, Ray DeRemigio.
Next to him is a boy named John (Succio?). On the right is my husband, Tommy DeRemigio.
He thinks that the girls sitting on the wall in the other picture
are from out of town and are just there visiting the DeRemigio's, most likely because they had a date with John and Jesse
M. DeRemigio who was Tom and Ray's older brother.
The father, Jesse S. DeRemigio, built both of the houses that
face the lake where Lake Avenue bends - 886 Lake Avenue and the brick one next door on the corner of Lake and Park Avenue.
They first lived in the brick house around 1953 but sold it shortly thereafter. They then returned around 1957 or 58 and moved
into the house that his father built at 886 Lake Avenue. His father also worked for many months mixing his own cement and
laying the stone wall that surrounds the raised lawn of the property. The 3 boys married and moved away and his mother, Dorothy
DeRemigio died in 1970, Jesse DeRemigio 1980.
|Two houses built by Jesse S. DeRemigio
From Joy Tunnicliffe Mavros:
When my dad got home from work, he'd pile all 5 kids into the back of his (circa) 1950 pick-up truck named "Joe", and
spend the evening at the (Woodbury Heights) Lake to cool off. Dad made us swim the length of the roped in area before
we were allowed to swim to the raft. Then we'd try to fit into the truck cab because it was cold for the ride home.
I remember fat kid Carl hanging around with the Nichols and Thomases, and they were playing 'king of the raft' at the
lake. Carl pushed me off and then sat on my shoulders without letting me up for air until one of the Nichols boys pulled
him off me. I almost drowned!
The Dave Sullivan gang had a fort in the woods in the back of the lake, and they'd built a 'boardwalk' made of twigs
and branches back to it. I remember being scared to death about going back there.
One year, for the 4th of July, (the town) not only had the land games at the ballpark where you'd get money if you placed
first, second, or third. One year they had swim races at the lake and Sue Conover made me do the race across the lake
(from shore to White's wall) with her, and back and I nearly drowned. The lifeguard was in the boat beside me and I
came in last -out of two!
I remember Charlie Trocolli selling 2 cent coconut cream Easter eggs, when he was in the 8th grade, to the Woodbury Heights
Elementary School because the school used to go up to the eighth grade until I was in fifth grade when our classes started
using St. Margaret's School because they were building the addition on the left of the main building (if are facing the front
of the building).
In Mrs. Schoener's 4th grade, I remember when there were too many kids in the WH Elementary and we had half day
sessions. On the top floor (of the original building), in the cupola next to the entrance of what was Mr. Giberson's
(principal) office (since he retired, Mrs. Stewart became the acting principal). Each week a different kid from
our class was picked to run up to the cupola to answer the phone there. Where was the secretary?
In sixth grade in the winter, Patti Sullivan came running into St. Margaret's from the playground outside, saying
that Dolores Dutka broke her arm on a sheet of ice at recess.
In the summer of 1968 or 1969, the Woodbury Heights Elementary School burned down
My brothers and sisters and I used to sled off the turnpike hill on Holly avenue in the Southwood area.
From Ann DeMareo Smith
My Woodbury Heights memories in the 50s and 60s (and into the 70s):
My mom pulling me (age 2 in 1954) in our little red wagon, to the Woodbury Heights Train Station (across from current borough
hall), to pick up our mail. Playing with a cool wooden kitchen set and blocks at the Presbyterian Church (Elm Avenue) where
the Greenwood Co-op Nursery School was co-started by my mom, Mrs. Gemenden, Mrs. Klaise, and ?... Digging huge tunnels in
enormous mountains of snow in the winter, or walking on top of drifts to get to school!
T-Bone Basile, the Sullivans, and other upperclassmen/women held court at the top right hand corner of the lake (in front
of the Kinkle's house-or was it the Master's house?), and with their rambunctious ways, defined their "territory"as the original
"greasers"! Drag racing by the lake... Dennis Nate jumping flatfooted from the top of the lake wall down to the sand without
breaking any bones! A lifeguard so caught up with the 'babes on the beach' who flocked around his lifeguard's chair, that
he missed rescuing a drowning boy! Mom had to dive in with her housedress and stockings to pull him out... Crazy dives off
the deep-end diving board. &nb sp; Swinging hi-i-gh up on the swingset. That beach was bigger back in the day-and very
crowded! Families beached out on both upper and lower tiers. 3 to a tube-bouncing up and down on giant floating truck innertubes-a
BLAST! Baiting sibling's fish-hooks and catching some big-ole cat fish! Crazzzy whiskers! Swinging on the tarzan swing over
the lake before letting go and flipping into the cool water. Ice-skating and 'skating the whip' while bon-fires blazed on
shore. Kathy ? (who lived down by the ice-cream barn) breaking her arm after flying off 'the whip' during ice-skating, to
where the bone actually poked out! The Kinkles letting the Jerico Baptist Church use their electricity to plug in their organ
(they transported on a flatbed truck), for their yearly baptisms at the lake, and their choir singing ---the greatest spirituals
---as their members (one by one) were "dipped" into the water backward in Baptism by the Pastor. A wonderful way to welcome
in the nice weather and season. Loud enough to hear all the way up Walnut Avenue --even going on into the late 1970s-or so
it seems in hindsight! Learning to swim-by passing the high band test when you had to tred water for 3 minutes in the DEE
P end by the dam! Cuttting a fish hook out of your brother's (Mark) foot when he was fishing. Building sand castles on the
beach, and filling the moats with water, drp-dripping to a high peak! Diving off the dock (nearest the playground side), going
down the slide on a really hot day by cooling it off first with a bucket of cold lake water. Opening your eyes underwater
so you could see the fish! Cedar water rocks!! Coming out of the water with brown cedar on you and ...that earthy smell, plus
prune fingers! Buying candy buttons at Trakimas' store at 5 for a penny!!! No bathrooms-so you might have to head to Joycie
Patton's for a toilet break, or... On quieter days, fishing off the deep end of the dock (nearest the playground side because
the other dock was where the big kids swam), and catching a giant SNAPPER turtle! Trying to get it off the line before you
became it's next meal! Playing water tag while riding on somone's shoulders. Swimming out to the dock near White's house.
You were a big kid then!
Walking all over Woodbury Heights and into Woodbury from early in the summer a.m. to dinnertime at night... No locks on
any doors-you could even leave your purse in your unlocked car and shopping cart-w/o fear of theft or vandalism. On bikes
or in the back of dad's open truck we'd ride behind the mosquito spray truck --yikes --in hindsight! Hours of playing in the
woods, from Academy Ave. to Glassboro Rd. (near MAMCO), before houses were built there! Shopping at W.T. Grants (Woodbury
Hts.) or Atlantic Thrift (Deptford) stores for school supplies and clothes.
Going to school at the original Woodbury Heights Elementary School-before the "fire"! Loved the grand front steps
and big pillars to sit on. Watching old science and social studies movies on the 35 mm film and screen. Walking home from
WH elementary school for lunch ...m-m-m-tomato soup and slices of cheese. Walking to Kat-taffee's little store (across from
the original Bell Telephone building next to Jerico) to buy bread for a nickle, milk, and... 5 cents worth of candy straws,
buttons, and wax soda pops that would fill a small paper bag!
Getting ready for the 4th of July parade while watching the Bonsall Blues Band , Fire Dept., and the Original Hobo Band
memebers line up on Chestnut near McCreedy's. Glassboro Rd. was closed as people lined both sides to watch our town parade!
Gleaning programs left behind at the end of the Woodbury Jaycee's July 4th beauty pageant and fireworks, so we could go for
(multiple visits) to Woodbury Heights McDonalds (when it still had the original golden arches) with coupons for free fish
fillet sandwiches in the back of my dad's Ford pick-up truck!! Tons of kids out (several times) with our pillow cases for
Halloween, and swapping GIANT candy bars with my brothers from our mountain high piles
The WH Elementary School May Fair with Frannie Haine winning the dance contest for doing the best "Mashed Potato"! Spinning
the Maypole after days of practice outside. Mark Trocolli getting his front tooth knocked out with a baseball bat while playing
baseball on the field in Mrs. Nolte's (or was it Mrs. Carey's) class? Winning 1st place in the May Fair poster contest...
(a clown holding balloons). Pamela Cassidy demonstrating Hawaiian dance in 6th grade. Mrs. Thelma Lee teaching ---the best
elementary school teacher ever!!
Some of my best family memories that I have is going to the lake as
a 6 year old ( some 40 years ago) with my brothers and dad and going fishing ! The lake had so many different
species of fish which included shiners, crappies,bass eels and catfish that were 2 feet long ! I remember
going to my back yard and lifting up leaves to find big night crawlers and waiting until my dad got home from work ,so
we could head to the lake. My brothers and I would jump into the back of my dad's 1963 Chevy pickup truck and go down "Big
Chestnut Ave " to the lake. I thought it was so cool riding in the back of the truck with my older brothers driving around
Sunny Side Ave. and bouncing all the way to the lake. Those were the "good old days !
I could remember like
yesterday my first sight of the local Muskrat trappers checking their traps for the plentiful muskrats that they would carry
out of the little crevices of the lake. There were other licensed trappers there as well that would set up these big
circular nets by the back of the lake by the water intake area to catch HUGE snapping turtles ,that were plentiful at
the time. I can still recall the huge snapping turtle the trapper had in his basket that we saw one night while
we were there. The turtle must have had a neck of about 10 inches long and was trying to bight the hand of trapper !
Pretty neat stuff to see as a six year old !
I can remember as the years passed, my father taking our little old wooden
boat that he bought with a 15 horsepower engine (the engine was probably from the 1950s!) and loading up his 4 boys
and taking it out into the waters (This before the days that you could not drive a gas powered engine in fresh waters)
4 boys in a 14 foot boat, with our father, casting hooks out into the waters. What was my dad thinking ! I believe that my
oldest brother Mark found a hook or two in his neck from my other brother due to the fact that my other brother just
had no common sense when it came to safety ! We had to pull the boat over to the side of the dock (if you can remember
the two docks in the front of the lake)me and my brothers holding the boat steady to the side of the dock and watching
my dad,as he used a pliers to yank the hook out of my brothers neck ! Blood everywhere ! I don't know whether you weren't
aloud to use motorboats anymore, or was it the fact that my other brother was a bit of a bonehead at the time, but I
think that day represented the last day we took that old boat out into the lake.
I can remember the very first
fishing contest that Mr Kinkle sponsored in 1973 and I won! (I was about 12 at the time !) I caught a 17 .5 inch bass using
a ball of bread. The contest included all ages, and I can remember some of the older guys using these things called "rubber
worms and plugs" I can remember winning first place and getting a check for 5 dollars from Mr Kinkle. Needless to say, the
older guys went back to real bread and worms ! I thought I was so cool because I got my picture taken with him next
to his"model T truck"
I also remember one day fishing by the Tarzan tree and catching a trout ! Now this is no fish story
at all, but the truth ! The lake was not stocked for this type of fish, due to the fact that a trout needs deeper and
colder water, but I was told that a local teenager that fished the lake on many a day caught the fish and brought it
to Heights lake . From what I remember ,his name was Chuckey Rambo. I don't know if that was his real name or not, but
he was there fishing every time I came there to fish.
As I got older, I could remember going to the lake during the
winter months and ice skating The older teenagers would play ice hockey from morning till night time. If it snowed,
they would bring their shovels out and make hockey boards with the snow so the puck would not go all the way down the lake
on a bad pass. There were literally over 100 kids and adults on that lake on a weekend night. During the day,everybody would
be all over the lake, but at night time, everybody would be under the flood light that would shine on the back part of the
lake. Teenagers would play games like WHIP where they would zip the end person around in a chain. I can remember my first
sight of a teenager sneaking a cigarette and smoking in front of his girlfriend at the bonfire.
The bonfires that were
lit were gigantic ! I would always get close because I would always be freezing ! I think it had more to do with me falling
down onto the ice in my jeans and getting wet , than wanting to snuggle up with a girl at that time.
As I got older
,got married and started to have my own family, I made it a point to bring my boys to the lake to go fishing ! Just watching
my little guys catching sunnies brought back some great memories ! I have a million and one stories about creating such
good friendships that have remained until this day , and I try to tell my boys and wife about them all the time ! I think
that they are tired of hearing about them though ........................
Hi! My maiden name is Wendy Griffith.I graduated from Gateway 1981 and am originally from Woodbury Heights.
of my favorite fun in childhood were winter ones (my least favorite season) .We (my brothers Harry,Mark and sister Lori) sledded
down Chestnut Avenue and it was really fun ice-skating on Hts.lake.There was a Tarzan swing we used to go down with ice skates..Bright
huh! But fun!!!!!!
Woodbury Hts. was a perfect town to grow up in. We would play outside all day and ride bikes.No one
bothered you, plenty of other kids to hang with, and not a lot of traffic. I would almost like to morph back!
as I got older and went to college,Schooners (bar) was a close and fun place to hang out.Met some nice people there and my
Wendy Griffith Fredhoff
Click here to send your stories or photos to the Lake Association.