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We arrived in Toms River in the spring of 1929. My late husband decided it would be a very nice place to raise a family.

We bought a seven room house on Bay Avenue, which at that time was called Beaver Dam road. It had kerosene lamps for light, a well on the back porch, a hand pump, an outhouse and a coal stove which was used for heat.

The first thing we did after purchasing our home was to go into town to Brant's Lumber Company to get an estimate for renovating the house. The manager greeted us and asked whose house we had bought. When we told him he laughed and said, "I know that house, it belonged to Indian Tom. It is called Tom Tit's Homestead." When we were leaving the store, he called us back and said, "Let me give you a bit of advice, if the mosquitoes don't get you, the natives will."

Talking about mosquitoes, in the early years they were unbearable, but as time went on, they sprayed the bogs, etc. and thereby got rid of most of them.

The house was renovated with all modern conveniences . When the natives heard we had installed a bathroom with running water, they came to ask if we would let them see it. They had never seen a bathroom before and they were simply fascinated. Only Indian Tom thought we were very foolish to have a bathtub with all the water that the lakes around us provided.

When we got settled, a committee of Jewish women from the community center came to greet us. They told us all about the community house, that it was not only for social purposes, but it was also a synagogue. They invited me to join them in all activities and become a member. I did join the Community and have remained a member all these years. Needless to say, I have spent many happy hours there.

If you did not want to travel to the synagogue on religious holidays, the people living near the synagogue opened their homes to you and invited you to be their guests for the duration of the holidays . The invitation meant that you slept at their homes and enjoyed the holidays with them.

We also found our neighbors very friendly. They would bring us vegetables from their gardens and also gave us berries and fruit from the trees that they had on their land. If you let your neighbors graze their cows on your pasture, they gave you all the milk you could use. If you bought milk, the price was 8ยข a quart.

We all traveled  by horse and buggy and when your neighbors went into town, they always offered to take you along. If you were busy and couldn't go along, they would do your shopping. We had dirt roads without any lights. We never closed our doors. Everyone knew everyone.

The shopping area in town consisted of a small store which was our post office, a grocery store, gentile butcher, Meyers Store, and Purpuri Shoe Store. The kosher butcher and baker came from Lakewood once every two or three weeks with their wares . We also had a grocery store on wheels and a huckster selling fruit.

The only means of transportation to New York was by railroad. The Jersey Central went as far as Hoboken. From there you had take a ferry across the river to New York. Trains ran only once a day in either direction.

Dr. Sawyer was our physician in those days. When he was on his way back from visiting patients and he passed your door, he always stopped in for a social visit. If by chance at that time you didn't feel well, he always gave you free medical advice. If you offered him money, his answer was always, "remember this is a social visit." He would not accept any money but would join us for a cup of coffee.

We never saw much of the people around us as they were always very busy, but if things went wrong, it would amaze you to find out how fast the news got around. Then everyone would stop whatever they were doing and offer their services, no matter how long it took.

In those days, there was also a custom for the young folks who were getting married. They would come to your house and introduce themselves, tell you their plans and then ask you if you had anything for the bride. The first time they came I asked what they would like. They said anything I had at home that I had no use for such as a pot, pail, broom or whatever I had handy. They always started out married life living in a small chicken coop until they built their own log cabin.

We also had free service from the County Agent. If you wanted to learn how to can, make jam, sew or do anything at all, they would send a member of their staff to teach you at your home, provided you had at least eight other women to learn with you. They would come time and time again until you could do it all on your own.

Our telephones consisted of party lines. If you were nosey, you could hear all the gossip in town by just picking up the telephone. Many times when you wanted to make a call and picked up the telephone you would hear the wagging tongues.

Our school system was very much advanced. At that time they were teaching the children agriculture, carpentry and mechanical work. If you had trouble with your car, all you had to do was to bring it to the school. The teacher would show the children how to fix it and they would repair your car at the same time. All you had to do was to pay for the materials needed. They did a terrific job.  Educators would come from other states to study our school system.

Land sold for $25.00 an acre for woodland and $50.00 an acre for clear land.

When I visit my relatives in Toms River now, I see where they brought the city into the country. I liked Toms River the way it was. I know we have to progress with the times, but I must admit it isn't as beautiful as my memories.

(Mrs.) Frieda Kassenoff