Remembering The 20th Century: An Oral History of Monmouth County
Date of Interview: April
Mrs. Goodrich: Hi. I am Peggy Goodrich. My legal name is Margaret Taintor Goodrich. I was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1921. My mother and father were Archie Raymond Taintor and Vera Day Taintor. Mother was a teacher, and Dad was President of the Taintor Manufacturing Company that made saw sets and framing tools invented by his father. I graduated from Battin High School in 1938, which was the only girls' public high school in New Jersey at that time. I went on to Brown University, but the War was coming on, and I decided I didn't want to stay in college with the five-year program that I was planning on, so I went in 1940 to Katherine Gibbs School in New York City, and graduated from there. My first job was in New York City.
I became engaged to Robert Rhoades Goodrich, who lived in Hillside, New Jersey in 1941. We were married in November of 1942. He was in the Service, and I was now working in Elizabeth in Thomas & Betz Company, and we were in the War Industry. At that time, we were making parts for airplanes, and I was an expediter of parts there. Let me see now…we'll go on and think of things that happened after that. We had a year in Chicago before Bob went overseas. And that was one of our best years together, even though it was a scary year because we were worrying about the War and when he would go overseas, which he did. And he went to England, but he came back in December 1945. At that time I was the Executive Secretary to Mr. Goerke and Mr. Steinbach. Of course the Monmouth County people know Steinbach Department Store Company, and Goerke's was in Elizabeth. Then we had three children. We had Robert Jr. in 1948, James in 1951, and my daughter Ruth in 1954. We lived awhile in Cranford. From Elizabeth we went to Cranford, where we had a two-family house. We couldn't afford more at that time, and the houses were more expensive there. My parents had the property in Shark River Hills in Neptune since 1925, and they gave it to us. So we decided to build a home there. And we moved to Shark River Hills, Neptune in 1955.
I lived in Neptune thirty-five years. My husband passed away seventeen years ago, and I miss him terribly. We were married forty years. He was very involved in the Township. He was on the Planning Board, the Sewage Authority, etc. And I was a homemaker for awhile with the three children. Shark River Hills was more rural then. We had dirt roads and wooden street signs. But the kids loved it because they had a lot of places to play there. They went swimming in the Shark River, and fishing in the Shark River was great. And they enjoyed growing up in Neptune.
I became very active as a volunteer at that time. I was involved in the PTA, the library, and the hospital; and I was president of these organizations. I was very instrumental in getting our little library on Corlies Avenue in Neptune to become a larger library, and then into the Municipal Complex when they built it in 1971. At that time, I was also a history buff. My father and my grandfather were history buffs, as well. I was very involved with the Township with the Tercentenary, the National Bicentennial, and the Centennial of Neptune. Because of that, I became a volunteer. I was the founder of the Neptune Historical Museum, and the first curator of it. It was on the second floor of the Neptune Library on Springdale Avenue at that time. Then the name of the road was changed to Neptune Boulevard. I would interview people and get things from their houses, and did different things. It was so popular with all the tourists and residents, that they decided to give me a full-time position after I had volunteered there for a year. I also was a reporter for the Ocean Grove and Neptune Times for many years. I did a lot of interviewing of local people about the history of the area. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed people, and I enjoyed the children, particularly the tourists and pioneer Neptune residents. I was very involved with the school system, as well. I was on the Board of Education and on the Monmouth County Heritage Committee, and many other volunteer organizations. I was also on the Neptune Architectural Review Board, which viewed houses in Ocean Grove and Neptune to keep them historic. I was one of the prime movers for getting Ocean Grove to become a Historic District, and in 1975 it was put on the New Jersey list. And in 1976, it was put on the National list. I worked for the Museum for sixteen years, and really loved every bit of it. I saw a lot of change from when I first moved to Neptune in Shark River Hills. We had a lot of laurel and huckleberry bushes, and it was a summer bungalow community at that time. Of course now, it is a year-round community and an integral part of Neptune.
Ms. West: You mentioned it was known as a summer area?
Mrs. Goodrich: Yes.
Ms. West: Was the home that your parents had in Shark River Hills a summer home for your family?
Mrs. Goodrich: It was property that they owned from 1925. But we built our summer Cape Cod bungalow there in 1955. And then we added onto it when we decided to live there full time.
Ms. West: But it was just property that they owned?
Mrs. Goodrich: Just property they owned that they gave to us. My children went through the Neptune School system, and they all went to college. As I said, I was on the Board of Education. And before I was on it, I reported about it. There are a lot of oral tapes in the Neptune Museum. One of my favorite people that I interviewed was Commander Isaac Schlossbach, and I wrote a book about him called Ike's Travels. He was from Neptune, and he was one of our most famous personalities. He was an explorer with Admiral Byrd, he was a pilot, and he did a lot of things. He had an airport there called the Asbury Park Airport on Route 66 and Jumping Book Road. It was there for many years. During that time, they had Storyland there. They had a place where children could play and see all these animals and things. It was a little like Disney World, only on a smaller scale.
Ms. West: An amusement park.
Mrs. Goodrich: Yes. And then they had the Music Circus, which was an "in the round" kind of a theatre, like a tent. They were seven or eight years there, and we have a lot of those programs and different things in the Neptune Museum now that the new Curator shows. Robert Goulet, I guess many people know of him, started there. He was unknown at that time, and he was there. But Ike Schlossbach was what I considered our most famous person. I was involved also with writing histories of the Township. We did one in 1964, and we did one in 1976. Just last year the current Curator of the Neptune Museum, Evelyn Stryker Lewis, wrote Neptune and Shark River Hills. She used a lot of the pictures and stories that we had formerly, because I had originally written a history of Shark River Hills in 1963. I loved the "Hills," and my children loved the "Hills," and my husband loved the "Hills." It was in 1982 that he passed away. I was sixty-one years old at that time, and I was still working at the Museum. I decided I didn't want to live alone in my nice house that we had expanded in Shark River Hills. So I looked around at different places. I went to Ocean Grove, and I went to Red Bank, and I went to other places. And I put my name on the list here because I love the Navesink River here, and I love Red Bank. It's a nice walking town. But I didn't move here then, because I worked five more years in the Museum. I retired in 1987. I told my children I would give it two years more in the house, and then I decided to move here. And that was a great decision because Red Bank is a very interesting town, and it's historic too. The river is beautiful.
Ms. West: What river is that?
Mrs. Goodrich: The Navesink River, which is named after an Indian tribe. I continued being on the Monmouth County Heritage Committee until 1990, I guess it was. And then somebody else from Red Bank was appointed because I didn't want to drive anymore to Freehold for the meetings.
Ms. West: What did you do as a member of the Heritage Committee?
Mrs. Goodrich: We were very involved with the Tercentenary and also Monmouth County's history. We had various affairs. George Goodfellow was the first Director of it, and then Mr. Bob Farrell was in charge of it. We would talk about different things, and historians from all over Monmouth County would come to the meetings. Dr. Peter Guthorn was a surgeon who had written histories of boats and things. And he was on the Committee, along with many others.
Ms. West: Could you give us a little history about Monmouth County? How was the terrain when you first came here?
Mrs. Goodrich: Of course the Indians were here originally in Monmouth County. Then there was the Monmouth Patent, and all of that. Shark River Hills was rural at that time. The most important area in Neptune was in Hamilton, where the Stout Farm was located. We did try to save the Stout Farm there, but we weren't successful.
Ms. West: What was the Stout Farm?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well, it had been there since the 1800s. It was built by two brothers, and five or six generations lived in it. Of course Monmouth County was a farming and fishing community, and Red Bank had boats here that went to New York. James Reevy, who I knew quite well, was a member of the Sand Hill Indians of Neptune. He came quite often to discuss different memories, and we had some things in the Neptune Museum from him. Sand Hill was on Springwood and Springdale Avenues in Neptune. Indians used to have peaceful pow-wows there, and they would live there. They would go to the Shark River to fish and gather oysters. It had oysters years ago, oyster beds like they did in the Navesink River, too. It's all in the Township of Neptune History Book. There's a lot about the Sand Hill Indians. But James Reevy just died recently, and we will miss him because he had a lot of the lore of the New Jersey Indians. I think we have several of his costumes still on mannequins in the Museum in Neptune.
Ms. West: Is there any particular location in Monmouth County that is of particular interest to you?
Mrs. Goodrich: Ocean Grove, I would say. Ocean Grove has the Methodist Camp Meeting Association, and that's how we got involved in living down here. When I was a child, my parents would summer in Ocean Grove. That's when my Mother and Dad bought the property in Shark River Hills in 1925. At that time no cars were allowed in Ocean Grove on Sunday. As little children, we would go to the Auditorium, which was huge. And we loved to go to the Sampler Inn and the Grand Atlantic, which were cafeterias. And we would swim in the ocean. You couldn't swim on Sunday, but of course that has all changed. You know how progress is or whatever, things do change.
Ms. West: Would you know what year that was when it was?
Mrs. Goodrich: The court case was round 1974. It's in the Township history. I think I have it some place, but my memory is going a little.
Ms. West: You mentioned your family, but you didn't mention if you had siblings.
Mrs. Goodrich: I had a brother.
Ms. West: Just a brother?
Mrs. Goodrich: Yes. He is three years older than I am, and he is retired in Florida. His name is Raymond.
Ms. West: Did he live down here in Monmouth County also, or did he stay up in Union County?
Mrs. Goodrich: We were in Union County in Elizabeth. He moved to Brick Township and lived there a long time with his wife and three boys. But he has retired and moved to Florida now.
Ms. West: So he did come to Monmouth County at one point?
Mrs. Goodrich: Yes. For awhile he lived in Ocean Grove…for a short while. Brick Township, though, isn't in Monmouth County; it's in Ocean County.
Ms. West: You mentioned about books. What did you think of books…did you have any favorite books that you liked to read…as a youngster or in your lifetime?
Mrs. Goodrich: Oh, I was always a reader and always involved with libraries. I still am an avid reader, although now I have to read large print. Well, let me think what kind of books… When I was a child I liked Heidi and Pinocchio.
Ms. West: Did you have a favorite author?
Mrs. Goodrich: I don't think so. I like James Michener now, but his books are voluminous. But he's a historian in a sense, too, and I enjoy his books. Right now I sort of enjoy mystery books.
Ms. West: Since you have lived in Monmouth County, was there anyone in particular who might have had an influence on your life?
Mrs. Goodrich: I would say Mrs. Margaret Mauch, who was our first librarian in the little library on Corlies Avenue. She sort of encouraged me to write my first history of Shark River Hills. When I started researching, I was a reporter and columnist for the Ocean Grove and Neptune Times, and I would write these little history articles and vignettes. She would say, "Peggy, I know you are interested in this. Why don't you continue on?" Of course Ike Schlossbach was influential, and there was my dear husband, who has passed away.
Ms. West: The Schlossbach family, are they still in Neptune?
Mrs. Goodrich: I think most of them have passed away. It was a large family, and they all went to college. They were all professionals. There was Dr. Ted Schlossbach, who was the Township doctor in Neptune. He has passed away, too.
Ms. West: Did you have any heroes or heroines, and who were they?
Mrs. Goodrich: When I was small, I think I liked Helen Keller. I thought she did wonderful things with being so handicapped. I don't know, I just looked up to her. I also think I looked up to Charles Lindburgh when I was a child.
Ms. West: What was Helen Keller's handicap?
Mrs. Goodrich: She was blind and deaf, and she had a teacher who helped her learn to talk and everything. She wrote books, and she did a lot with her life. Her affliction happened to her when she was nineteen months old. I had a little resume that I did for our little newsletter, Reflections, in June 1999, and that included some of my seventy-eight year memories of the twentieth century. And I have a copy of what I have written.
Ms. West: Please read it.
Mrs. Goodrich: Well it isn't all of Monmouth County, but I'll read some of it. Do you remember Charles Lindburgh's historic solo flight from New York to Paris in 1927? Then after that Ann and Charles Lindburgh's young son, Charles, was kidnapped and killed. And the trial was flamboyant in the paper and on the radio. Of course we didn't have television then, just the radio.
Ms. West: Speaking of radio, were there any favorite programs that you liked to listen to on the radio?
Mrs. Goodrich: You mean now?
Ms. West: No, back in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s…prior to television.
Mrs. Goodrich: I don't think so. I was a pretty busy little girl, and I don't think I could listen to what my parents did. Of course, they liked classical music and things like that. I think there was Chandu, the magician, and I forget several others like that which were on when I was small. I did listen to the news, and I was very concerned even though I was very young at that time, about Lindburgh's little boy being kidnapped.
Ms. West: Do you remember the names of any of the news commentators on the radio?
Mrs. Goodrich: You're scratching my memory! (laughter) Walter Cronkite…did he go back that far? I am trying to think. And then the Depression years came in 1929, and the Wall Street Crash affected so many people. They didn't build houses very much for a long time, so my dad's business went down because no one needed the framing tools and saw sets. It wasn't until World War II that it picked up again. And he was President of Taintor Manufacturing Company, which lasted seventy-five years. I could even show you what a saw set and a framing tool looks like. Then Admiral Byrd's scientific expeditions were heard over the radio, and Commander Schlossbach from Neptune talked on one of the expeditions from Antarctica. Now this was in Monmouth County, the Morro Castle burned off Asbury Park in 1934. I remember we came down from Elizabeth to see it. And then there was the Hindenberg Dirigible crash in 1937. These are just some of my memories.
Ms. West: Where was the Hindenberg Dirigible?
Mrs. Goodrich: The Dirigible was in Lakehurst. Then that great movie came out, and it was considered an all-time great movie. It was called Gone With the Wind, and it was adapted from Margaret Mitchell's book.
Ms. West: Speaking of movies, do you remember the first movie you ever saw?
Mrs. Goodrich: It was Rin Tin Tin. I loved dogs.
Ms. West: It was about a dog?
Mrs. Goodrich: Yes, Rin Tin Tin was a dog. I also recall the abdication of England's Edward VIII in 1936, and he later married Mrs. Simpson, and they became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Then came World War II, and of course my husband was in it four years, nine months and eleven days. And I still can remember 32063703 was his dog tag number.
Ms. West: Oh, for heaven's sake!
Mrs. Goodrich: Yes, I wrote so many letters that I remember it well. That year in Chicago before Bob went overseas was great overall, but in some ways, it wasn't. At that time I was Secretary to the Sales Manager of Eversharp, Inc. And they were in the War Industry. I had to stay in the War Industry until the War was over. Once it ended, I had my position in Goerke's and Steinbach's Department Stores as Executive Secretary. Of course during World War II, there was Hitler and the Holocaust. And there was Pearl Harbor, and the Atomic Bomb, food stamps, and Victory Gardens. And there was VE Day and VJ Day in 1945, and I remember so well when we worked, we couldn't get silk stockings at that time. It was very hard to get them. So we would go to the shore in the summer and get our legs tanned, and then you would use your eye liner pencil to put the line down the back of your leg, because stockings had seams years ago. And then no one knew we weren't wearing stockings! Of course so many of us had the Victory Gardens.
Ms. West: What was the Victory Garden?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well, you grew vegetables and all different kinds of things, because you couldn't buy some of those things. Of course we had food stamps, too.
Ms. West: Tell us about the food stamps.
Mrs. Goodrich: Well, that was where you could only get so much meat or whatever with the food stamps. I remember in Chicago that once in awhile if Bob had off on a Sunday, he would invite some men that were from his Army Air Force Squad to come for dinner. And they would in advance give me some of their food stamps so I could buy a little steak for them and everything else. And I wasn't a very good cook at that time, I must admit that. So I always supplied them with a drink or two before they ate, and they always thought I cooked a good meal. (laughter)
Ms. West: What other kinds of stamps did they have during the War?
Mrs. Goodrich: I remember the food stamps, but I think gasoline was rationed, also at a premium. I remember for our honeymoon when Bob came home in 1942, when we were married, we divided the gasoline in half and ended up in Paramus, New Jersey close to the George Washington Bridge. And we left the car there during the daytime, and we stayed at a motel there. We'd walk over to New York in the daytime to go to a show or eat or something, and then we'd walk back again. But there was a gasoline shortage, of course, and I remember the food stamps and the Victory Gardens. We were all united in wanting to win that War. That was a united effort. That's when women went back to work. I don't remember if I mentioned it before, but Mother was a teacher. And this was sort of interesting: When woman teachers got married years ago, they couldn't teach anymore. Married women were not allowed to teach. So it was in the Depression years that Mother went back to work part-time. Then Ghandi was shot to death in 1948, and I'm still listing some of the things from my seventy-eight year memories that I had listed in our Reflections. Then there was the Space Program…the Apollo Flight in 1969. And then television came into being before that. Do you remember those people who would go into street corners in the city to look at a television in a store? You didn't have them in your house at that time. And when you could finally afford a television, they were so huge. The mechanism and the back of it was very large. The picture was tiny, but the back of the television was huge.
Ms. West: What newspaper headlines from the past might stand out in your mind and memory?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well we had the Elizabeth Daily Journal when I lived in Elizabeth. And the Lindburgh trial was big. Although I was only six or seven years old, I remember it so vividly because it was just a terrible thing. Of course there were the War years, and I'm talking about World War II. I guess I shouldn't assume you know it was World War II, because there have been others. And it's terrible that we do have wars.
Ms. West: As a child, what games did you like to play?
Mrs. Goodrich: Hop Scotch and Make Believe, and we did a lot of playing outside. We didn't have a television and usually after school, you would do your homework. Mother was strict; she was a former teacher. And I did my homework before I was allowed to do much else.
Ms. West: Did you have any hobbies as a youngster?
Mrs. Goodrich: I liked to write poetry. And my girlfriends and I loved the movies. If we had that quarter to go to the movie on Saturday, we would go. They would have two movies, an 'A' movie and a 'B' movie. And sometimes they even had a Vaudeville Show. I remember some of those Vaudeville Shows in Elizabeth in the Ritz Theatre and the Regent Theatre.
Ms. West: What kind of music did you like? What was the music of the day? Did you have any favorite entertainers?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well, I always felt I was sort of a comedian. So I sort of liked Zazu Pitts.
Ms. West: Who was Zazu Pitts?
Mrs. Goodrich: She was a funny actress years ago. And of course I remember Henry Fonda, and I remember liking him. There was also Katharine Hepburn. We would get together and discuss the movies and the stars. Then news wasn't slanderous like the news is now about the movie stars or actors on Broadway. Oh, and I did enjoy Alfred and Lynn Fontaine on the stage in New York, and George M. Cohen. I saw him on one of his last shows, but I liked all kinds of music. I think my favorite during the War was…a lot of people liked Frank Sinatra, and he was ok…but I liked Rosemary Clooney, Dick Haymes, and Tony Bennett. Then we had the very sad things like when President John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and the blackout in New York City. Do you remember that one? I had an Aunt Marge who lived in New York City, and she said she had to walk up the stairs. I think she was on the eighth floor. And she had to do this with no lights or anything. She sort of had to crawl up to get to her apartment. And then we had the terrorist bombings in the World Trade Center, and that was terrible. But you know what happened during World War II, too? A lot of things were invented like penicillin and other things that were positive. Of course there was that Salk vaccine which prevented polio. I remember Bob and I went to Shark River Hills school with our kids, and I think we had to go three times to get the pills. I think it was pills and not shots, but I forget which.
Ms. West: Well, the shots came first, and then the pills.
Mrs. Goodrich: Ok. Then it was shots that we got. And it was done free, I remember at that time. My daughter, Ruth, didn't have to get regular measles, because there was a shot for that. But the boys, both Jimmy and Bobby, had the measles. Of course there was the Vietnam War in 1968, and then the riots throughout the United States because so many felt that it wasn't a war that we should be involved in.
Ms. West: Were there any riots in Monmouth County?
Mrs. Goodrich: Yes, I remember the riot in Asbury Park quite distinctly. That was in 1970, I think. No, it was in 1969. What we were so upset about was that the television people came and made it more than it really was. And Springwood Avenue of course changed, and a lot of the businesses had to close up. Now they call it…isn't that terrible that I can't remember?
Ms. West: In Asbury Park it is back to Springwood Avenue, but in Neptune it is Westlake Avenue.
Mrs. Goodrich: Westlake Avenue is in Neptune, and it's still Springwood Avenue in Asbury Park. Yes. The school systems then sort of had disturbances, too. I think I was on the Board of Education at that time.
Ms. West: Could you tell me what has been your greatest achievement in life?
Mrs. Goodrich: I guess it would be being married and having my three children. Also being involved with history, which I loved. I liked local and county history more than anything else.
Ms. West: What is the most unusual thing about you?
Mrs. Goodrich: Gee, I don't know. I am very friendly and I like people. I don't know. I don't want to pat myself on the back or anything. I did get some awards for things I don't even recall now. But I did get one from the State and County for my historical research, and I did get state grants. But I am proud of my family. One of my children did die at age forty-one…Jimmy. And we miss him terribly. And of course we miss my husband. The impeachment of the two Presidents, well it wasn't exactly an impeachment. Nixon resigned and more recently Clinton was acquitted after an impeachment trial. He was never impeached, but there were impeachment proceedings, and Richard Nixon resigned. Bill Clinton was acquitted by the Senate last year. Of course there was the passing away of Mother Theresa and Princess Diana. And there are the huge companies divesting now, and you don't know what bank you have now! The names change so fast. Then of course, we had the Y2K situation.
Ms. West: And it didn't even come to pass.
Mrs. Goodrich: Well, it was good because they all got prepared for it. I don't think I mentioned that Martin Luther King was honored with a National holiday. He was assassinated, as well as Bobby and John Kennedy. But I think the Black history is coming into the forefront now, and I think it's great. I know in the Neptune Museum, we try to honor African-Americans more. Leanora McKay wrote some very good Black history books.
Ms. West: Let's get back to you now. Did you live your life any differently than you thought you might have when you were a youngster?
Mrs. Goodrich: Oh, I never thought I would be a Museum Curator. Never. I thought I would be an Executive Secretary, and I was. But I loved local history and being a volunteer kind of led me into it gradually and easily. Reporting for the Ocean Grove and Neptune Times for years and doing vignettes of people and historical things got me very interested.
Ms. West: Is there anything that you think you would like to accomplish that you haven't yet?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well, I would like to see world peace and people getting along together. I would like there not to be racial or ethnic problems. It just seems that there have been problems since the world began, and it continues that way. But I hope and pray that some time people will be more tolerant of everybody and judge an individual instead of a whole group. I don't know if you noticed this, but here is an oil painting of me done in Chicago. I was twenty-three. At nighttime, I did a little modeling, and this was a businessman's art club. This man named Paul Olson said when we had a home of our own, he would give it to my husband, Bob. And he did.
Ms. West: That was nice of him. It is a lovely painting.
Mrs. Goodrich: You wouldn't know it is me, now! (laughter) I have had a good life. I have gone through sorrows, but it is like everybody. We all have our problems or challenges.
Ms. West: If you could describe your life as a roadmap, how would it have been? What route did it take? Uphill, downhill, rocky or smooth?
Mrs. Goodrich: I think life is an adventure, and we should go along with the ups and the downs. When you have the ups, Dad used to say, I should pinch myself, because the ups won't last that long. When I was on the Board of Education from 1969 to 1972, that was when we had trouble in the schools and everything. And we tried so hard and did resolve some of the things. But I had good parents, and Elizabeth was a good city to be brought up in. And we summered in Ocean Grove and Asbury Park.
Ms. West: Did your parents ever live here in the County?
Mrs. Goodrich: Yes, they moved to Ocean Grove and lived there many years. Mother later lived in Pitman Manor, which was a Methodist Home in South Jersey. And Mother loved it. She said it was the nearest place to God! And I love it here in Red Bank. I think if you live alone and want to be with people, this is a good place. You can have as much independence as you want, and you can be private if you want to. I was very involved in the Navesink House, and I was Secretary for the Residents Council. I was the Vice President, and I was the Historian here for eight years. I wrote articles for the Reflections, and I made a lot of displays. I have a little display here of bells from all over the world.
Ms. West: Reflections of what…Navesink or Red Bank?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well it is called Reflections, and it is a bimonthly newsletter with eight pages. It has different articles, and we would put historical items in it. We had our twenty-fifth and our thirtieth anniversary, and I was on that committee. We had a lot of activities. We had a time capsule. We just planted it out in the garden at the beginning of this year. We put some different things in it…we even put a beanie baby in it! The time capsule is here at the Navesink House in the garden. Hopefully, when they build a new building, maybe they will put it in a wall or something there, and it will be opened in fifty years. I think that's when it is supposed to be opened.
Ms. West: What year did you plant it?
Mrs. Goodrich: Just in this year, in January of 2000. It's hard to remember that it is the year 2000, to remember to write it on your checks and everything.
Ms. West: It's inconceivable! If you could choose a symbol of your life, what would it be? Maybe a candle or a flower, or a cat or dog, or whatever.
Mrs. Goodrich: I would say a book. I love to read and learn. I'm always open to learning new things. So I would say a book. And maybe I would say The Bible.
Ms. West: What are the milestones in your life?
Mrs. Goodrich: My marriage, my three children, the awards I received for my history involvement, and the fact that I was put in Who's Who In The East and Who's Who In New Jersey.
Ms. West: What year were you listed in those?
Mrs. Goodrich: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1992. And then I retired in 1987. And there were County awards: that is a picture of the Director of the County, Harry Larrison Jr., giving me an award.
Ms. West: The award was for what?
Mrs. Goodrich: For being a Monmouth County Historian.
Ms. West: Do you have any grandchildren?
Mrs. Goodrich: Yes, five of them.
Ms. West: Oh wonderful. Do they live here in the County?
Mrs. Goodrich: No, two are from Quakertown, Pennsylvania. And my oldest grandson, Patrick, is in Syracuse. He is a freshman at the university there. The other grandson, Michael, is also my daughter's child, and Kirkner is their name. The other three grandchildren are children of my son Jimmy, who passed away, and Goodrich is their name. His widow lives down in South Carolina. And they came up for my birthday last year. They were here all together, and it was nice. I see the boys from Pennsylvania more than I see the ones from South Carolina. They are closer, and they are growing up. But I did a lot of babysitting when they were little. I think you almost love your grandchildren more than you do your own children, because you can take care of them and then give them back again. (laughter)
Ms. West: It makes a difference, doesn't it?
Mrs. Goodrich: It sure does.
Ms. West: What would be your legacy to your family?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well, I wrote a history of my life with Bob and everything. And I have it in a file in there. I hope my legacy will be humility, love, and caring for other people. And that you can do anything you want to if you try hard enough. I think working hard is very important, and I think education is important, too. But if you are motivated and really want to do something, I think you can do it. I don't recommend anyone to be President of the United States, though. (laughter)
Ms. West: What concerns you most about the state of the world today?
Mrs. Goodrich: I am very concerned about the world. We are involved all over the world now, and I guess we have to be. But with the wars going on and so many children starving and homeless, I don't know. You just hope it will be better. You try to have a better world for your children and your grandchildren, and I think we sort of spoil them sometimes nowadays. You see children get things earlier and earlier, and they are smarter than we were. But there is so much violence on television and in books now and movies, too.
Ms. West: What are your values?
Mrs. Goodrich: They are summed up in the one saying, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Ms. West: What are your personal strengths?
Mrs. Goodrich: I think I get my strength from my parents. I try to do the best I can and then I hand it over to God.
Ms. West: What advice would you give to the present generation?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well, I think the majority of kids are doing a good job, I really do. They are smarter and they know more. I would just tell them to be tolerant and love your neighbor as themselves. I think we all should realize that "There but for the grace of God, go I."
Ms. West: Would you like to live any part of your life again?
Mrs. Goodrich: No, I feel I have had a good life. I enjoyed what I did, and I put my whole heart into whatever I did. And I got to know you today!
Ms. West: Well thank you. Meeting you has been my pleasure. You mentioned that you were the Founder of the Museum in Neptune. What year was that?
Mrs. Goodrich: It was in 1971.
Ms. West: Was that the same year the Neptune Library moved from Corlies Avenue to its present location?
Mrs. Goodrich: Right. I'll tell you I was in people's attics, and I went any place I could to get things. Jim Reevy was very helpful, and the Richardsons were helpful, too. I interviewed them, and a lot of the oral tape is in the Neptune Museum now.
Ms. West: Did you do much traveling around Monmouth County?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well it's a local, historical museum. So it's Ocean Grove and the Hamilton section, which is the oldest, and Shark River Hills section and Whitesville, too.
Ms. West: Right, but did you yourself do much traveling, aside from the historical aspect?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well, I went to Freehold often. This is a picture of Joe Lopez, and his lineage goes back to the Indians, but not the Sand Hill Indians. I think he is still in Francioni, Taylor, and Lopez, a funeral business. I am sure I have forgotten a lot of things. This is what our library looked like on Corlies Avenue. And Mrs. Mauch encouraged me to get involved in history. I was a volunteer, and she saw how interested I was. The library was there ten years, and then it moved over to the Municipal Complex in Neptune.
Ms. West: So you were truly a historian of Neptune Township.
Mrs. Goodrich: And Monmouth County, too. I was on the Monmouth County Heritage Committee for a long time, and I was a historian even in the Navesink House for eight years. But my eyesight is getting poor now, and I decided it should be someone else.
Ms. West: How many books have you written about the Township?
Mrs. Goodrich: I wrote Ike's Travels, and a book History of Shark River Hill's; I was co-author of The History of the Township of Neptune, and we had the first one published when Neptune was eighty-five years old. But I like the history of Red Bank, too. It has a lot of interesting things about it. They have restored Broad Street, and they are trying to upgrade the buildings, and they have brick sidewalks there now. And the little Riverside and Marine Parks on the river here have had a lot of programs. And of course, Count Basie Theatre is very popular. I go there quite often. Count Basie was born in Red Bank.
Ms. West: Who is Count Basie?
Mrs. Goodrich: Well, he was a musical genius.
Ms. West: What instrument did he play, or did he sing?
Mrs. Goodrich: I have sort of forgotten. Was it the piano? And I think he had an orchestra, too.
Ms. West: Do you remember what he was called during his professional years?
Mrs. Goodrich: No.
Ms. West: He was known as "The Kid from Red Bank."
Mrs. Goodrich: Ok. I didn't know too much about Red Bank until I came here. It has been ten and a half years that I have been here. The only place I really knew was the Molly Pitcher Inn then.
Ms. West: What is the Molly Pitcher Inn?
Mrs. Goodrich: It's a lovely restaurant on the river.
Ms. West: Do you know how it got its name?
Mrs. Goodrich: Yes, from Molly Pitcher from the American Revolution. It's a legend, but she gave pitchers of water to the soldiers when they were fighting. Then I think her husband was wounded, and she then became a soldier herself.
Ms. West: You mentioned Dr. Peter Guthorn. Was that a known family here?
Mrs. Goodrich: He was a well-known surgeon at the Jersey Shore Medical Center. And he loved Monmouth County history, too. He was on the Monmouth County Heritage Committee. He wrote about skiffs and different kind of boats in Monmouth County. But he has passed away. I forget when he retired to Florida. Sam Smith wrote some histories of Monmouth County, too.
Ms. West: Who was Sam Smith?
Mrs. Goodrich: A well-known Monmouth County historian and author.
Ms. West: Talking with you has brought back a lot of old memories. It has been my pleasure meeting you and talking with you.
Mrs. Goodrich: It has been my pleasure to have you here.