10 destination   freedley collage

Bernice Freedley West - The People

Bernice Freedley West worked at the Freedley’s Photo Gallery, a concession on the boardwalk that was started by her grandfather.  Hear some of her favorite memories of the boardwalk, in the audio clip of an interview conducted by  Mildred Finlon on February 7, 1980.


 Mrs. Finlon: Bernice, who are some of the people that you knew on the old boardwalk? 

Mrs. West: About the earliest recollection I have is getting up early in the morning, getting the canoe at the — bathhouse owned by Wickersham, and getting the canoe and going on out and canoeing around by myself at the age of seven or eight, and being back in time for the gallery, the photograph studio, to open when the first train came in. 

Mrs. Finlon: Who owned the gallery? 

Mrs. West: My grandmother. And we would have to have everything in order about 10 0'clock, I think, when the train came in. And I had to be back by then. 

Mr. Wickersham was very nice, letting me have the canoe. He also furnished me with a bathing suit. 

The side of the gallery had a walkway that went right into the bathing park there, so that people could have their pictures taken in their bathing suits. 

Mrs. Finlon: And you had some very old, funny ways in which they could take the pictures, too. 

Mrs. West: Well, the same as they do now in any of the malls with the old fashioned costumes or the head sticking through a moon. 

Mrs. Finlon: What kind of materials did your grandmother use? Were they the old tin-type pictures? 

Mrs. West: No, that was before my time. 

Mrs. Finlon: That was when your grandfather used to take pictures; wasn't it? 

Mrs. West: Yes, he took the tin type, but we — the ones I remember were postcard. 

Mrs. Finlon: Postcard. 

Mrs. West: And you could stick a stamp on them and mail them. 

Mrs. Finlon: And your grandmother took most of those? 

Mrs. West: Yes. 

Mrs. Finlon: Where did she have them developed? 

Mrs. West: She did her own developing. 

Mrs. Finlon: She developed them in the back of the photograph —

Mrs. West: Yes, that's right. She had a darkroom. 

Mrs. Finlon: What do you remember of the stands that were on the boardwalk at that time? 

Mrs. West: We had all the stands. Both you and I will remember the orange stand where we got orange ice all the time. And that was on the crab house side of the gallery. The other side was the Derby. And then we had the string game, and we would knock the milk bottles down, and a candy wheel. One place there we had a bowling alley, too, where we first learned to use ten pins. 

Mrs. Finlon: Tell me about the Derby, some of the things that happened on that old derby. 

Mrs. West: The only thing I can remember— I wasn't on it every day, but the only thing I can remember of interest was sitting in the gallery watching the car go up to the top and getting stuck and no one would have been injured at all except they dove out of the derby car into about two feet of water, and one man broke his neck. I think the others were injured but not that bad. But that's about all I remember. It was very rickety, but it was not the old scenic railway that used to run over the grounds. This was the second one. I don't remember the scenic railway.

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