|“The Good Ole’ Days”
Chapter Seven: Memories
by Neil Clement
Special to The Sampler
“Les souvenirs sont le seul paradis duquel on ne peut pas nous chasser.” (Memory is the one paradise out of which we
cannot be driven.”)
Sacha Guitry, in Les Souverins, 1935
Two friends and longtime residents of Carneys Point sent the following letters to me a while back which I want to share with
everyone. When you read them, maybe your memory will be piqued and you’ll drop us a line or two also.
My sister sent me the “Good Ole’ Days” clipping from The Sampler. What a bunch of memories that dragged up.
I remember going to the first movie at the new “Y”, probably with Bud Ryan. The first film was “Mickey Mouse.” It was further
to walk, but suddenly our Saturday matinees were in deluxe surroundings.
Some years later – maybe 1941 – at a Saturday night dance in the same room, I remember “Limey” James (who by then was
a more respectful “Harry”) coming on the dance floor with a young lady. There was one of the hotter numbers being played at
the moment, and those two broke into the most potent jitterbug session I have ever watched.
Ken Janney never made much money, but faithfully made good swing wherever it was needed with Sump Bruton on the drums
– real good.
Unk Crockett, Patsy, the cook, Henry Hocknell trying to teach all us rocks to swim. Thinking it over, he probably had you raise
that flag because he knew you’d do the community more good than all of the rest of us together.
The Dingling Brothers Circus was great. Dad used to take me when I was a little guy. I never could figure how they did all
You tossed Miss Stecker and Miss Heaps into your memories. I’d add that Miss Sally Bailey, who became Mrs. Alvin
Featherer and who straightened out our writing; and Miss Kate Gaventa, who could get anyone to figure algebra; Mr. Alex
Boone got Odie Jones and me (at different times) to understand chemistry and physics; then we can’t forget Mary McGee,
who became mrs. Henry Saletra and was our best cheerleader at most every game. Hey! How about Jess “Tubby” Green,
who was the best toastmaster anywhere?
The Green School has been a parking lot for years. How do the late model kids get by without the high slides, the pool, and
the gazebo at Lafayette and Pershing?
Good thoughts, Neil, and I thank you for bringing them back.
Good Bless you,
(Bob Somers from
Ft. Pierce, Fla.)
I started teaching in Penns Grove High School on Broad Street in 1933. At one time it was also called Penns Grove
Consolidated High School. Because there were so many high school students, Pershing School was used for freshmen.
In 1936, Regional High School was built. It included students from part of Pennsville, Deepwater, pedricktown, Penns Grove
and Carneys Point.
The first part of the summer of 1934, I was counselor for the girls at Camp Carney. We stayed in wooden frame camps where
canvas was rolled down in case of rain. Nurse Mrs. Malzeke, was in charge. I can remember these – Godanna Cramer and
Katherine Duffy (Quackenbush) were in my tent. The boys attended the rest of the summer after the girls left. Meals were
served in the Mess Hall by Patsy. One can never forget apple butter.
After camp Carney, we were back in school and used the old YMCA where the Carneys Point fire hall now stands. During
World War I, this building was the dormitory for the “bloomer girls” who worked at the Powder Plant I. Later it was used for
basketball and movies.
We moved into Regional High School in 1936. The present YMCA was built in 1938. At Regional High School, the excellent
band was led by Don Hower. The YMCA field was used for football. During World War II, at DOD, soldiers stayed there. I
taught typing to Major Piercey’s wife who was blind. There was a lookout on top of Regional High School. I had SA-JARE -
high school students from Salem, St. James and ReHi who went downstairs to dance, play Chinese checkers and fraternize.
We broke off relationships with Salem in football. Salem was invited, including the student body, football team and
cheerleaders. We had the dance in the auditorium where a large devil and ram occupied the stage. The King from Salem
High School was Tommy Pankoke.
In the summer, between Lafayette and Pershing Schools was a fountain and a gazebo. Stories were read to them at 9 a.m. in
the morning. Students painted sea shells until a dog with a large tail sat on them and walked away with a striped tail. The
little ones bathed in the little pool, while the BIG ONES SAT ON THE EDGE AS Lifeguards. Volleyball was played by bigger
ones – the little ones were cheer leaders. The parents came there at night to hear Hal Peterson’s orchestra play.
In 1971, Title I program was at Camp Crocket, where I taught reading and math and Mr. Devonshire and Burkholder helped.
We moved into the present high school in 1971. Bruce Willis graduated from there in 1973.
January 23, 1991