Saturday, February 13, 2010

Immigrant Daughter # 19

We are still in New Jersey in Toms River and opened up a luncheonette in Mystic Island. From Toms River it took us 45  minutes to get to Tuckerton the town on the map where Mystic Mystic_Isles_NJIsland was being built. That part of N.J. was swamp that was being filled in to make lagoons for water to come back a couple miles to the mainland. The owners were out to make money, selling homes on the built up lagoons to city folks from both Philadelphia and New York. These home were cottages on  small lots on the water. And had three floor plans to choose from.  When the tide was in you were able to take a boat out to the ocean and to get back you had to wait for the tide to be in again.

luncheonette The luncheonette did very well on the weekends with the city people wanting to get out of the city and enjoy a home on the water that was affordable. The workmen started early and left around 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  I always cooked a noon meal so the workmen would have a choice of buying a hot meal instead of sandwiches.

C worked on weekends selling homes and we were able to counterworkmen   purchase one of the three bedroom cottages at a discount. When school was out in the summer time we just stayed at Mystic Island. The kids had chores to do at the luncheonette and then they were able to go swim in the lagoon. They washed dishes, waited on customers, and got to read comic books we sold. We were the first business to open up mystic1960sin the 5-store unit. So we carried a lot of sundry items and milk, bread and luncheon meat.

Hiring good dependable help was a problem of sorts. When I first opened up I had to have someone open early before I could get there. The one waitress I hired was not ringing up all of the countermoney. It would be one for me and two for her.  The workmen noticed this and told my brother-in-law who was the accountant for the firm that owned Mystic Island. He got to know the men very well because he made out their paychecks for the firm. I really appreciated their loyalty. When she was let go my sales jump up immediately.

I hired a retired, beautician, who live on the island who was 50 years old. She was an honestindividual and treated the business like her own.  She was a slow and methodical and made very few mistakes. She was well like and not afraid to work. The winter days were very slow because the workman had to find work elsewhere to meet their expenses. counterandstools
I closed the luncheonette between Christmas through New Years. I gave my waitresses a bonus and one of them said she never worked anywhere that gave a bonus. circuilar

We were able to spend two weeks at home in Toms River having a  grand time attending church and marina functions that were many. We were able to help with the year- end church dinner and just enjoy the fellowship. Our bowling buddies were architects and lived on the river and when it froze they would invite us over so the kids could ice skate on it behind their house. C grew up un Michigan where they skated most of the winter. Our kids took to skating like a duck to water no one had to teach them. I couldn’t even stand up on the skates. I was the spectator.

One day the weather rough was windy out in the ocean off the coast of N.J., which caused the tide to come in and not go back out causing the water to flood the island where the luncheonette was located. We couldn’t get to Mystic Island for a week and when we were able to check the store and we had two feet of water in it that ruined all the compressors. The ice cream and deli boxes smelled so bad they all had to be replaced.  The water reached the golf course that was a mile closer to town past us. Our cottage also was flooded but easy to clean up. This was a year of several mishaps.

I always made a bank run before the weekend to make sure we had enough change for on hand. One day while going to the bank one afternoon on the return trip to Mystic Island my falcon was hit broad side and completely wrecked. The police were called to the accident and didn’t issue any tickets because the other driver was the son of a politician who was on the shady side of political affairs. We went to court and the Judge ruled in his favor by falcon dismissing the case. I had the right away and he hit me from a stop street by not stopping. Does that tell you anything about N.J.’ shady politics and who rules the roost.  My insurance company was left with replacing my car.

My father was on the town council in the town I grew up in that was just a half an hour away and one day he was approached by one of those favored few wanting to buy him a new Stetson. He was attempting to buy his vote on an issue dad was not supporting in the council meeting. My father told him no thanks when he needs a hat he will buy it himself.

Dad was respected and admired. He was a proud man and raised his family according to American values. Family wise he had a big job of raising four girls and two boys by himself because mom died when she was only 45 years old.,  I was 12 years old the youngest and the oldest 21 years old.

When C and I opened the luncheonette dad was pleased and would come and see us every chance he could. One weekend C and I gave him surprise birthday party inviting his sisters and moms’ brother and sisters. They came to the party in Toms River to surprise him. He truly was surprised and we all had a good time. C and I had just completed remodeling our basement in an Hawaiian motif that dad had not seen.

My oldest sister gave the kids a small dog that we named midget. The kids loved playing with midget outside and one-day midget ran out in the street and was hit by a car. The lady driver was so upset she offered to replace it with a purebred collie pup from a litter her dog had. We declined telling her it wasn’t her fault but the dog’ running out in front of her car.

That Christmas my other sister gave the kids a buff color cocker spaniel that we named missy that lived in our family for sixteen years. She died when third child was 19 years old who found it hard because she couldn’t remember a day without missy. Someone who had an English cocker spaniel which was multi colored contacted us and wanted to have the dogs mate giving them choice of the litter. Well missy only had two puppies.
And she was not very cooperative giving birth. Missy was near delivery date and we always went to see dad after we closed on the weekend and felt that the trip would be too hard on her so we left her home. We were only gone a couple of hours and when we go back she did not have the puppies in the whelping box that C had made for her, but on the couch. She had two puppies and pushed one off the couch that did not survive. The one that did was a tri color. She was a beautiful pup and the kids named her Debbie. Her disposition did not match her beauty. One day at the cottage we had her on a leash in the grassy area and lady came up and said what a cute puppy wanting to pet it. And the kids said don’t pet her she is not friendly. But she wouldn’t listen and bent down to touch her and Debbie bit her hand. We finally did sell her.

I better close for now because my post is getting too long. Until next time, I am Immigrant Daughter .


  1. This brings back memories. I grew up in Mystic Island, just before the casinos opened in Atlantic City and the year round population exploded. I am happy to say the Luncheonette is still there, while many things have changed here in Mystic, we still have some of the places like the Luncheonette, that define the early days of our town. Thank you for posting all the info.

  2. The story of Missy's pup made me laugh! I had a dog that was not friendly to 'outsiders'. One time, I was at a gas station and she was sitting on my lap. A man came up to the window and said "what a cute dog." I told him to be carful, because she would bite. He stuck his face right in hers and in a high squeaky voice said,"hi little poochie" and she bit him right on the nose! His nose was kind of veiny, so it bled and bled. I felt bad, but he admitted that he shouldn't have done that...