Wildwoods Oral History Project

Index of Interviews

Please email me if you are interested in reading the transcript for one
or more of these oral history interviews: daphne@funboring.com.
Many are publicly available at the George F. Boyer Museum
and Hereford Lighthouse in Wildwood, NJ.

1. Thompson, Patt. Owner, Sea Note Music on Pacific Avenue.
July 1, 2002. 26 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: Moving to Wildwood from Philadelphia, dancing, Sea Note Music, working for Morey’s Piers, redevelopment of Pacific Avenue, dancing in Wildwood in the 60s, Sam’s Pizza SIDE B: kids in the Wildwoods.

2. Canzano, Anthony. Worker at Morey’s Piers, Wildwood Historical Society.
July 11, 2002. 24 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: Coming to Wildwood as a child, Sportland Pier, working at the George F. Boyer, working at Morey’s Piers, working the Giant Slide, working at Castle Dracula, winter unemployment, interest in Hunt’s Pier SIDE B: dark rides, crowds at piers, building models of amusement rides, Mr. Boardwalk website.

3. Larkin, Marian. Owner Larkin’s Restaurant, North Wildwood.
July 15, 2002. 34 pages. GENEOLOGY INCLUDED.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE ONE: the boardwalk in the 1920s, Doris Bradley, teaching tap dancing, buying a house on Glenwood Avenue, bartering with Obie Fowler from Colson’s lumber, Breyer’s ice cream, opening Larkin’s lunch counter, making a good hoagie, flood of 1962, Mr. Snyder the train engineer, movies on Atlantic Avenue, splitting time between Wildwood and Ft. Lauderdale, family in the area, husband in the veteran’s hospital in Elsmere, DE, senior clubs in the Wildwoods, St. Ann’s, Cozy Morley, shopping in Wildwood in the 1960s, buying a Pontiac during a strike. SIDE TWO: Liberace in Wildwood, celebrities that ate at Larkin’s, Larkin’s employees, tent city in the 1920s, Toonerville trolley, Morey brothers, condo development, dollar fares in the 1920s, Mario Lanza, casinos in Wildwood, runaways coming to Wildwood, international students working in Wildwood.

4. Baker, Jack. Pharmacist and former resident of the Hereford Lighthouse.
Baker, Helen.
July 15, 2002. 55 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED TAPE ONE SIDE A: Growing up in the lighthouse, World War II, keeping the lighthouse, buying first family car, Marine inspections of the lighthouse, going in the military, Britches Buoy, changing beaches TAPE ONE SIDE B: Helen and Jack in high school, the pig game on the boardwalk, Piggy Moore, working underage on the boardwalk, pulling taffy, career options in the Wildwoods, hot rodding, working at Menz’s TAPE TWO SIDE A: Rationing during WWII, Pacific Avenue, rivalry between Cape May and Wildwood High School, basketball, moving back to Wildwood, Johnny Jackson the pharmacist, changes in the ‘70s, Doo Wop Preservation League, concerts in North Wildwood.

6. Sawyer, Judy. Secretary, Morey’s Piers.
July 22 and August 2, 2002. 28 Pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: Nightclubbing in Wildwood, black experience in Wildwood, changing economics, moving from Philadelphia, Whitesville, doing laundry at hotels, winter in the city, Atlantic City, Doo Wop Preservation League and Jack Morey SIDE B: Racism, “Girl Power” empowerment

7. Schultz, Lee. Partner and builder, Zombie World ride, the Wildwood boardwalk.
July 23, 2002. 59 pages.
TOPIC DISCUSSED TAPE ONE SIDE A: Shocktober Fest and partner Pat, switching from being in sales to building dark rides, walk through Zombie world ride, the ride v. the game aspects, the horror industry, building the ride TAPE ONE SIDE B: psychology of horror, making realistic props and masks, changes in Wildwood, Boardwalk businesses, Dracula’s Castle TAPE TWO SIDE A: coming to Wildwood as a child, how he met his partner Pat, Wildwoods in the off-season TAPE TWO SIDE B: Wildwood going upscale, future of Zombie World

8. Peterson, Rich. Maintenance, Morey’s Piers.
July 30, 2002. 32 Pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: Growing up in Wildwood Crest, his father Charles painting houses, surfing and skateboarding Wildwood, runaways, getting married, Uncle Bill Morey, Ringo game, growth of Morey’s, building the Nor’easter, shopping in the Wildwoods SIDE B: Getting certified to maintain rides, changing summer help at Morey’s, tearing down the rides for winter, his grandchild.

9. Porch, Mike. Head of Wildwood Main Street project.
August 5, 2002. Transcript forthcoming.

10. Martino, Joe. Barber.
Martino, Lenora. North Wildwood Beautification Committee
August 6th, 2002. 24 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: moving to Wildwood, opening/running a barbershop, celebrities, being chairman of the beautification committee, starting/running flea market, working conditions in the market, flea market: winter vs. summer, beautification committee: raising and spending money, various committee projects: trees, signs, the Arch, bikes for police department, Christmas ornaments for Jersey Ave, likely end of the flea market, their children, raising children in 70s Wildwood, Virginia vs. Wildwood past and present, Rio Grande shopping, Pacific Ave mall disaster, why children moved out of Wildwood, why they stay, living in Wildwood now, in winter SIDE B: social life: Moose Lodge, American Legion, Elks, Republican Club, Lenore’s political views, celebrities, running the barbershop in Virginia/Wildwood.

11. Mugnier, Betty. Volunteer, Hereford Lighthouse, painter
Murray, Steve. Superintendent of Parks, North Wildwood, Hereford Lighthouse
August 15, 2002 and August 20, 2002. 66 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: TAPE ONE SIDE A: Hereford lighthouse renovation, Victorian gardens on lighthouse grounds, damage to the grounds, working with Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, getting involved with other lighthouses in the US, Hereford lighthouse keepers, designer Paul J. Pely, expanding inside the lighthouse museum, selling memorial bricks, special events at the lighthouse, volunteerism TAPE ONE SIDE B: why they stopped having weddings at the lighthouse, concerts in North Wildwood, the name Anglesea, Victorian heritage of North Wildwood. (becomes Murray only) parks department, plants in the Wildwoods, beautification projects, public space in North Wildwood, changing tourism trends, North Wildwood Historical Commission TAPE TWO SIDE A: living on Pierce’s Point, year round life in the Wildwoods, North Wildwood recreation center, awards won for the lighthouse garden (becomes Mugnier only) mother buying a house in the ‘50s, moving from Blackwood, PA, living in North Wildwood in the off-season, the Fresnel lens, giving tours at the lighthouse TAPE TWO SIDE B: membership, painting in the garden, children coming to visit.

12. Paulson, John. Job superintendent, Classic Custom Builders; High Exalted Ruler, the Elks.
August 16, 2002. 35 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: Subcontracting v. working for builder, condominium building in the Wildwoods, construction workers, rateables, Pacific Avenue, rented apartments in the city, building codes SIDE B: maintenance of motels, riding motorcycles, moving up in the ranks of the Elks, volunteers at the Elks.

13. Fulginiti, Leon. Historian, formerly ran a shoe shop.
August 29, 2002. Transcript forthcoming.

14. Totah, Tony. Chairman of the Environmental Commission, runs Clean Ocean Action.
August 30, 2002. 68 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: TAPE ONE SIDE A: Working for Lehigh University marine laboratory, Clean Ocean Action, construction on the beaches, beach conservation, dunes, environmental impact of Wildwood Convention Center TAPE ONE SIDE B: rateables, flooding, rental property, Main Street programs, Pacific Avenue redevelopment, Cap May Community College TAPE TWO SIDE A: tax assessments in the 80s, beach closings, beach clean-ups, Hereford Inlet TAPE TWO SIDE B: Native American Casino idea, vandalism in the city, fish contamination

15. Mattera, Rose. Works at Wildwood Police station.
Mattera, Marie.
August 31, 2002. 69 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: TAPE ONE SIDE A: Husband coming to America from Italy. The “commercial course” at Wildwood High School, gender politics for Italian-Americans, the Tomcat diner, traveling to Italy, husband working the shipyards in Chester, where her children work (Casinos, health industry), working at the police station TAPE ONE SIDE B: working at police station, police pensions, crime in Wildwood, St. Ann’s, English v. Spanish speaking, North Wildwood Rec Center, the Penalty Box nightclub, working as summer police, WaWa, working at a Casino TAPE TWO SIDE A: Pacific Avenue, Five Mile Beach bus , tax assessments, liquor licenses, Margaret Mace, Hunt’s Pier, Dave Snyder TAPE TWO SIDE B: ice skating in North Wildwood, crabbing, history of Rose’s family, Vietnam, gas shortages

16. Cottman, William Guy. Former Director of Wildwood Housing Authority.
September 3rd, 2002. 29 pages. Permission forthcoming.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: TAPE ONE SIDE A: urban renewal damaging the viability of Wildwood’s Main St. district, HUD, suburban flight, renewal plan: CBD + NDP, construction of low rent public housing/Sandman Towers, the occupants, Pacific Ave Mall, involvement with Wildwood Housing Authority, process of putting up public housing, family vs. senior housing, occupants: selecting and makeup TAPE ONE SIDE B: social service programs in public housing, efficacy, combating drugs in public housing, DEP and Senator Lautenberg, community attitudes toward public housing, racism TAPE TWO SIDE A: growing up with racism, positive effect of casino gambling/Atlantic City on Wildwood, racial integration’s effect on west side, mother’s rooming house TAPE TWO SIDE B: growing up, working as a teenager

17. O’Leary, Tim. Superintendent of North Wildwood Public Works.
September 4, 2002. 27 Pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: TAPE ONE SIDE A: Cleaning the beaches in the summer, graffiti, Pacific Avenue, the Emerald Room, Peele’s beer, Coast Guard, ocean dumping, construction in the 1980s, Department of Environmental Protection, hiring practices, typical day at work, festivals in North Wildwood SIDE B: changes in public works’ services, changing property values, building Woody’s, Zaberized cocktails.

18. Catanoso, Tony and Phyllis. Former Mayor.
September 4th, 2002. 33 pages. Permission forthcoming.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: TAPE ONE SIDE B: growing up in 1925, North Wildwood Grocery Italian market, military service in Italy, returning: Central Shoppe drugstore, building/moving their house, meeting, marrying, adopting daughter from previous marriage, working at Sun Bird Restaurant, winters in Florida, getting into politics, being a Republican councilman, running for mayor TAPE ONE SIDE B: Works: redoing Central Avenue, building Beach Drive, acquiring federal money for it, dredging canal, fisherman’s pier, owning/running Chateau Blue motel, social life in winter, restoring the lighthouse. Opening city to tourism from Canada, successor ruins Wildwood, sending daughter to Catholic school TAPE TWO SIDE A: Catholic school vs. Wildwood High, daughter’s life, boardwalk, restaurants of the past, supporting Vietnam War with We Care project/ Da Nang, retirement, new mayor tearing down historic buildings, bungling lighthouse, 17th street shopping, Fun Chase, boardwalk TAPE TWO SIDE B: plan to restore the mall, working the North Wildwood Grocery, Sin Chu: the sister city, the new special services school, the county cultural heritage commission, Camden airport TAPE THREE SIDE A: airport.

19. Redding, “Pop” (Ed). Fudgy Wudgy man, World War II veteran.
Redding, Connie. Office Manager in Philadelphia, ran “Connie’s Rooms & Apartments”
September 9, 2002. 52 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED TAPE ONE SIDE A: working class visitors to the Wildwoods, history of the Redding family in the Wildwoods, moving from Philadelphia, owning an ice cream truck, running a boarding house, Northeaster of 1962, Nightclubs in North Wildwood, working at Zaberer’s, living in Cold Springs, day at work as an ice cream man, Marcella’s water ice and Philadelphia pretzels TAPE ONE SIDE B: Cozy Morley, World War II, Nick’s Barbershop, selling ice cream on the beach TAPE TWO SIDE A: developing North Wildwood, West Wildwood, old Anglesea, turtles in a rooming house, Harry Karavangelis and the Hot Spots

20. Teneglia, Aldo. Owner, Royal Canadian Hotel.
September 7, 2002. Transcript forthcoming.

21. Mattera, Dominick.
September 19 and October 12, 2002. 44 pages. GENEOLOGY INCLUDED.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: TAPE ONE SIDE A: the Mattera family history, the depression, cement factory on 5th Street, Rachel Matteucci, rides on the piers, stuck at low tide on Doggy Island, Bill Laffey, nuns at St. Ann’s, playing pinball, Vietnam, the draft, coldest coca-cola on the island, delis in North Wildwood, boardwalk ride “the shells,” food on the boardwalk, the McDevitt girls, introducing the sales tax in NJ. TAPE ONE SIDE B: restaurants on the island, the Shore Theater, cost of things in the Wildwoods in the 60s, Woolworth’s and Murphy’s, Grassy Sound Bridge, building in the Crest, nightclubs, going to college TAPE TWO SIDE A: floods in the 60s, moving back to Wildwood in the late ‘70s, effect of Atlantic City casinos on the area, Pacific Avenue, taxes in the Wildwoods SIDE TWO TAPE B: more about food, changing tides, development, recreation in the Wildwoods, baby parade.

22. Miller, Curtis. Director of Cape Human Services, Former member of WW City Council.
September 11, 2002 and January 25, 2003. Transcript forthcoming.

23. Turner, Leon. CPA, First Jewish director of Marine Bank
September 12, 2002. Transcript forthcoming.

24. Bethel, Phyllis. Member Wildwood Historical Society. Retired, Bell employee.
September 12, 2002. 28 pages. GENEOLOGY INCLUDED.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: TAPE ONE SIDE A: Moving from Philadelphia to the Wildwoods, Porecca and Santini furniture store, role of Catholic religion growing up, Wildwood Travel Agency, working on the boardwalk, the “Bubble Bounce,” John’s Pizza, Ralph Shields, working for the phone company, mom working, being a phone operator, technology changing the phone company, being part of the union, getting pregnant in high school, marriage, raising kids in Wildwood TAPE ONE SIDE B: children working in the Wildwoods, putting together high school reunions, not graduating from Wildwood Catholic, working for the Boyer Museum, going to Florida, joining the Moose Lodge, grandchildren, working at the Rio Coffee Shop and other summer jobs, working at a motel during firefighter’s weekend, Jilly’s at the boardwalk mall TAPE TWO SIDE A: Pacific Avenue shops, black maid Celina, the Porecca and Santini store/FAMS P&S, running a shop in Woodbine.

25. Sloan, Duane. Mayor of Wildwood.
September 13, 2002. 31 pages. Prefers transcript not be made public. In Boyer archive.

26. Versaggi, Charles. Retired teacher, Wildwood Catholic. Former Co-Owner Benny’s Bar.
Versaggi, Lena. Housewife, Civic Club, PTA.
September 24, 2002. 28 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: Family settling on the island from Italy/Brazil/Philadelphia, World War II service, Benny’s Bar (family owned), getting married, North Wildwood in the 50s, drinking age change, teaching at Wildwood Catholic High School, Glassboro teachers college, pranks at school, developing the “consumer math” course, teaching his own children, tuition at St. Ann’s, end of the summer seasons SIDE B: getting involved in the Kiwanis, teaching math real estate at the Wildwood Rec Center, working bumper cars on Sportland Pier, Chambers real estate, Wildwood as “party town,” summer youth program, working at Duffys-On-The-Lake, their children’s education and opportunities for Wildwood students, Versaggi Brothers Construction, retirement (travels), Pacific Avenue in the 1950s, shopping now.

27. Stocker, Jack.
Stocker, Margaret.
September 24, 2002. Transcript forthcoming.

28. Walker, Dorothy. “Dottie.” Worker at Groff’s, Miss Wildwood 1932.
September 25, 2002. 21 pages. GENEOLOGY INCLUDED.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: being Miss Wildwood 1932 and the Miss America pageant, Dr. Walker’s dental practice, breakout of WWII, toll collecting, working at Groff’s (first waitress ever hired + prep cook), Cape May County Welfare board, raising her daughter Brooke, playing bridge, living in Newport Beach, CA with her daughter, redevelopment, shops on Pacific Avenue (Lee’s, Lillian Sagal’s), excursions to Philadelphia SIDE B: stage shows, renting a house in North Wildwood.

29. Williams, Dave. Master Plumber, officer of Wildwood Crest Historical Society.
Williams, Teresa. Officer of the Wildwood Crest Historical Society
September 26, 2002. 21 pages.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: (Dave) Moving to the Wildwoods in the late 1970s, Cape May Plumbing company, (Teresa) Moving to the Wildwoods from Iowa, their home built by Warren Bisco, development of the Crest, old plumbing methods, boardwalk in the 1980s, Wildwood schools, Pacific Avenue redevelopment, Victorian architecture on the island SIDE B: shopping on the island, condo development, making homes winterized, being a plumber, Crest Pier and the Sea Wyn, William H. Bright, photographing demolitions.

30. Stelacio, Maryanne. Runs the Senior Center in North Wildwood Recreation Center.
September 26, 2002.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: Moving from Philadelphia, son Anthony entering the Navy, working with senior citizens, effect of changing medical insurances on elderly community SIDE B: income levels for seniors, delivering meals

31. Halloway, Beth. Wife of prominent developer. Runs “Fifty Plus” school reunions.
September 27, 2002. 2 pages (tape malfunction).
TOPICS DISCUSSED: Going to dances in the 1930s.

32. Fulginiti, Vince. runs Edward Jones investing company.
September 28, 2002. Transcript forthcoming.

33. Donatelli, Kathryn. Chamber of Commerce, recent owner of Bud’s Bar property.
October 9, 2002. 30 pages. GENEOLOGY INCLUDED.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: History of 4208 Arctic Avenue Bud’s Bar/Nehemiah’s Elk’s Club, entertainers in Wildwood playing after-hours, Coleman Taylor, Margaret Taylor “Aunt Peggy,” segregation in Wildwood, development of the west side of Wildwood in the 2000s, Wildwood Chamber of Commerce, gay bars in Wildwood, Mexicans in community, Crest Bank, shopping in Wildwood, Cape May hospitality v. the Wildwoods, doo-wop funkiness, transportation in Wildwood, tickets from Miss Wildwood 1932.
IMAGES WITH COLLECTION: Deeds for 4208 Arctic Avenue property, 1958/1965, “Aunt Peggy” photo from Cape May Court House 1923, Misc. photos from Nehemiah’s Elk’s Club/Bud’s Bar, Tickets to 1932 “Miss America” Pageant.

34. Morey, Jack. Executive Vice President and COO of the Morey Organization
October 10, 2002. 6 Pages. Permission forthcoming.
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: Growing up in the Pan American, living between Florida an Wildwood, college life, boardwalk games, brother Will Morey, father’s legacy, mother SIDE B: problems motivating the community, games played in Pan-American.

35. Scully, Robert, Jr. Wildwood Historical Society, wrote Wildwoods-By-The-Sea.
January 26, 2003. 18 pages. Permission forthcoming
TOPICS DISCUSSED: SIDE A: Early history of Scully family, renting rooms in the summer, life in the Wildwoods during World War II, going to Philadelphia on the train, rationing during WWII, Wildwood High School and St. Ann’s SIDE B: going to college, meeting his wife Kitty, basketball, going to IBM school, Robert Scully, Sr., construction after WWII, neighbors in North Wildwood, growing up in Wildwood, entertainment in the 50s, working on the HUD board, business community of the past and present, running the Wharf, drinking problems, writing Wildwoods-By-The-Sea, black community, community rivalries.