LIFE IN CRAMER HILL - The Seddon Photos

PHOTOGRAPHS courtesy of a true son of Cramer Hill, Joe Seddon, whose early years were spent living in the 2800 block of Polk Avenue

My father Joseph Seddon of Gloucester and mother Florence from Camden. 
1943 perhaps. My grandmother was Alverta Stebbins, also from Camden. 
In this picture I believe she is carrying me and dad was home on leave.

Florence Stebbins (maiden name) of Cramer Hill and Joe Seddon from Gloucester.

My father, Joe Seddon Sr. in his Navy uniform. 

A picture of them side by side. Kinda` neat.

Esther Hutchinson, Mark Hutchinson`s mother, and Florence Seddon of Cramer Hill. They met during the war while working at RCA and our remained lifelong friends.

Florence A. Seddon with Joe Seddon Jr, born during the war in 1943. I didn't " meet " my father until the age of 3 when the war ended and he returned to Cramer Hill.

My father, Joe Seddon of Gloucester who married Florence Alverta Stebbins of Cramer Hill in Camden.

Florence Seddon, Joe Seddon Sr. and Joe Jr. in Cramer Hill, 1943.

Florence Seddon of Cramer Hill and Joe Jr, picture taken in 1944 during the war..

My mother, Florence Seddon, in the early days. Not sure where this was taken.

"Joey Seddon" in 1944 on 2828 Polk Avenue, pushing the carriage along at 7 months, taken in front of the Hickey house on Polk Avenue, 1944.

Joe Seddon Jr. in Camden, 1944

Joe Seddon Jr. in front of Mae and Myrna Ott's home on Polk Avenue.

I guess as a little boy one never sees what is in our lives. Polk Avenue looks a little rough around the edges and i never realized we weren`t 
exactly living the dream life like they did in Beverly Hills. But it was " home sweet home " to us all and the memories are good ones.

Joe Seddon Jr. with grandmother Alverta Stebbins on Polk Avenue. In the 
background is the Harrigan house.

This photo shows the Ott front porch that joined the Hickey house on 2828 Polk Avenue. The empty lot can be seen next to Ott's home and Binky Harrigan lived in the tall house seen to the left. Sonny Frett lived directly 
behind this house as did Orris Smith. I'm kind of` young here, so it could be 1945 or 46?.

My father, Joseph Seddon, and me in the early days. I'm in his right hand. The other 3 boys are my cousins from Gloucester..

Dad and me before Orris was killed. This was taken on 29th and Buren Avenue which was very close to the river and the house where the man kept his horse that pulled the wagon.

This is myself and baby sister Marilynne Seddon, standing quite close to the shed where the street vendor kept his horse. As I recall, he was the only one who had a horse that walked the streets in those days, something that would be unheard of today. I'm about 9 or 10 in this photo.

Joe Seddon Jr. with Diana, Gail and Susan Hickey of Polk Avenue. This photo may be from 1948 or early 1949, prior to the Howard Unruh incident.

Florence Seddon and young Joe in front of the Ott house on Polk Avenue. For a fact, as a boy I watched in horror as Johnny Ott  (name correct) cut his thumb off while working on his motor. Memories? I can still see him wrapping his hand in a rag and then running off to the hospital. I was sitting on the steps when it happened, thus I say again, that my memories of Howard Unruh leave me puzzled as I am perplexed as to my whereabouts that day, and may in fact have been there in one fashion or another, thus the vivid recall of the horse and blood beneath it. This I described to a friend three years ago, including the color of the horse. When I take into account how many years ago this was, it leaves me wondering for sure. No doubt my mind will bring more into view as I ponder this event.?  

The Terrible Three", Joe Seddon, brother Bruce and sister Marilynne. The dog is Tuffy who was stolen shortly after this was taken and we never saw him again..

Joe Seddon Sr. and wife Florence on the dock at Avalon Bay. 1960`s. The Seddon kids learned to swim here and fish for flounders as well.

Myself, Joe Seddon Jr, taken around the time that Camden suffered a serious wound. This photo I think, was from H.C. Sharp where Mrs. Rod was my teacher, and called my parents in often to discuss my talking in class. Yes, I was the teacher's pest!.

In front of the Hickey house on Easter, possibly 1953

Marilynne, Bruce and Joe Seddon at Easter in front of the Hickey residence on Polk Avenue. Behind them is the Harrigan house owned by Alice Harrigan. Her daughter was " Binky Harrigan", a good friend.

Florence and Joe Seddon in the empty lot of Polk Avenue. To their right is Alice Harrigan`s home. Behind this house on Tyler avenue is the Frett family`s house and that of Orris Martin Smith and mother Catherine.

The Seddon kids on 29th and Buren in Cramer Hill; Marilynne, Bruce the 
baby of the group, and Joe Seddon.

A page of the classmates from H.C. Sharp that contains my buddy Sonny Frett, Linda Hurwitz and Lucas Britt who lived on Harrison Avenue, across from Polk.

Linda Hurwitz, my dear friend and neighbor who narrowly escaped the gunfire from Howard Unruh in September, 1949..

Joe Seddon, top right, during the H.C. Sharp years with Miss Rod.

A nice picture of Sonny Frett from the H.C. Sharp days. I remember us building a small fire in the lot and we would " borrow " an apple or potato from home, wrap it in foil, and cook it in the embers. Fun stuff for kids who had very little money or things to do.

Sally Roach (not sure of the spelling of her last name) who was my favorite girl in the school. Oddly enough, I never forgot her, her obvious charm, and have often wondered where life took her after leaving H.C. Sharp.

Here is a report card with Miss Rod`s signature and the year also. 

A better look at it

Joe Seddon Sr., Joe Jr. and Sonny Frett of Cramer Hill. The guitar, a Royce, was purchased from Don Di Lulu who also taught lessons. I still own this guitar though it has had several owners before being returned to me by a caring soul who thought i should have it back.

Here's yet another rare picture which has Sonny Frett in it, my buddy and pal; and Joe Seddon Sr. too of course.

Sonny might be quite surprised if he knew these pictures existed.... after so many years have gone by..

This is one of the few photos of Margie Wilson, (Garland Wilson's daughter) and "yours truly" , Joe Seddon, going to her prom in 1958. My buddy Bill Zelly took Margie's girlfriend. I have others with the 4 of us in color and am looking for them through a ton of photos saved from the good old days. As mentioned so often, we kids were sheltered from the events that took place on 32nd street in Cramer Hill the day before school began in 1949. Even I, a close family friend, never learned of the tragedy until 3 years ago. Talk about a well-guarded secret? Utterly amazing.

This picture I already sent you. It shows the date here, written in by my mother in a scrapbook. I never knew that Garland's wife, son John and mother-in-law Emma Matlack were killed by Unruh. It was a real stunner 
when I researched it 3 years ago and found out the truth of the matter..

From left to right: Joe Seddon Jr., Joe Sr., Verna Wilson, wife of Garland 
Wilson of Pennsauken, and my friend Bill Zelly

A rare photo with Verna Wilson, who was Garland Wilson's second wife. I took their daughter Margie to her prom as they would not allow her to date anyone or run the streets unaccompanied. This was always a puzzling matter to me and today I understand their well hidden fears. Having lost his wife Helen, son John, and mother-in-law Emma in the Unruh shootings, he was suffering a stress disorder no doubt. We never discussed any of it, thus the weirdness of it. My buddy Zelly  of Chapel Heights N.J. As I described to you earlier, on this night I took Margie Wilson to her prom and Bill accompanied her girlfriend. I was 16 at the time, Bill 17. Bill is on the far right, I'm in the red jacket, and dad is beside me.

These were the days of listening to Elvis and copying the hairdo! The split lip, sadly, stems from a disagreement in high school with a bully, something that continues into today's world.


Joe Seddon of Cramer Hill and Mark Hutchinson, Browns Mills. New Jersey that is! A publicity photo taken in 1960.

My stage partner, Mark Hutchinson and I when we played opposite the Everly Brothers on Steel Pier in Atlantic City. We spent the afternoon singing with them in their dressing room, a real treat for sure.

This is from a newspaper of course and a great time had by us, including mom and dad Seddon. The Everly Brothers were at the top of the game in those days and we spent hours with them, singing their songs and mine in the dressing room on Steel Pier. That.... was a once in a lifetime 
moment! They caught our show on Tony Grant's Stars Of Tomorrow and seeing as we copied them so incredibly well they sent for us so we could meet face to face, " The Everly Brothers of the North " and the real Everly Brothers from the 

This is a hazy photo of Mark Hutchinson and Joe Seddon, appearing on American Bandstand, taken 1961 i think. The other guest that day was a guy we became friends with and did more shows with named " Screamin` Jay Hawkins", a terrific entertainer who sang his hit tune " I`m Gonna` Put A Spell On You." He was a nice guy though a bit eccentric for the day. Through the years 1960 and 1961 I occasionally danced on Dick Clark's show as I was a member of the Dick Clark Fan Club and we went as a group.

Mark Hutchinson of Browns Mills and Joe Seddon of Cramer Hill on Tony Grant`s Stars Of Tomorrow show, Steel Pier, appearing opposite the Everly Brothers..

An oldie but goodie from Camden. My band backed Bobby Rydell at a show and we signed autographs afterward. To my right is younger brother Bruce Seddon, the baby of the family. I'm about 18 in this photo..

Taken in aunt Madge Hickey`s yard on Polk Avenue, 1959 or 60. I'm standing, my stage partner Mark Hutchinson of Browns Mills is seated. The house on the left is Johnny Simons home. I'm not sure of the spelling of his last name. I remember quite clearly that his mother made him take a nap after meals as he had some kind of digestive problem? Funny what we recall after so long.

In Camden, 1967 and sporting a Beatle haircut as so many musicians did.

This one is just for a break in the action. I'm on the left, playing guitar on the TV show that Jerry Blavat had out of Philly. He was the ' Geater with the heater " in those days, maybe 1968?  

Don Di Lulu was my guitar teacher, sold me the guitar in the early photos with Sonny Frett, and had a music store on Westfield Avenue. When we moved to South Jersey we lived next to a big, well-stocked lake and Don and I went fishing there often, thus I'm his " fishing buddy" in this autographed photo. His group, the Don Christ trio, played the Hawaiian Cottage for many years.

Here is the actual photo taken with myself and my then girlfriend, Kaye 
McCool from
The Pixies Three. Kaye is leaning on my shoulder. It was taken at the Seagull Bar on Long Beach Island (Surf City) in 1963 or 64. Not so sure as I played there all summer long for both years, and then did the gig at Joe Pop`s Shore Bar the next few years. I have quite a tan as I surfed all day and then played all night. Something only the youth in me could do!

I treasure this photo as it shows me at my 21st birthday with a very 
special girl that I dated for many years. Her name is Samantha Bates. Her 
grandfather is
Sanford Bates, the man who reformed the prison systems in 
the United States. He`s on Google of course and his story is amazing. When 
he died he was in Time, Life, and other magazines as well as all the 
newspapers. Sanford and I got along famously and he gave me a first edition of THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, signed to me with a warning to " take care of my little girl." Like a fool, i sold it in a yard sale only to kick 
myself later. What a keepsake that book was. Well, somebody got a great 

Joe Seddon, age 25, with young Mark Hickey inside the Hickey house on 
2828 Polk avenue. The year is 1968. The head bandage covers an injury 
from a car serious crash..

Would any story of the residents of Cramer Hill be complete without a genuine beauty being included? This is my baby sister Marilynne 
Seddon of 2828 Polk Avenue who obviously inherited her looks from mother Florence. And yeah, Joe Sr. too. She was in high school at this time.

A photo of myself and 1936 Chevy coupe taken in 2001. Having grown up around old cars in Camden I am a devoted hotrodder, driving antiques most of my life, starting as a teen with a 1934 Ford street rod.

This is a more recent photo of Marilynne Seddon and yours truly, taken in 2000 at Atco Dragway. Behind us is my 1936 Chevy hotrod that won a goodly number of trophies at various shows.

One of the very few photos taken with Florence Seddon (left) and Madge Hickey together, both from Polk Avenue, Cramer Hill. In the center, the tall, smiling beauty is my wife whom we adoring call Biggy as she makes all of us look short!

This has been a lifelong hobby and scientific interest of some 
importance. I started hunting rattlesnakes in the Jersey pines at the age of 13 and continued on until two severe bites in 1981 nearly killed me. After 3 days in intensive care and 12 vials of antivenin, I lived but had to quit handling the beauties I love so much. My good buddy and fellow snakehunter is Bill Holmstrum, head curator at the Bronx Zoo for many years. We as a team removed the unshed eyecaps from some very lethal snakes from Africa and such. Vipers. Cobras. Yeah, a terrific science but one 
that requires a lot of skill and expertise if one wants to live very long!

This is a typical Rattlesnake den, usually on a south-facing slope and high up the mountain where people don't normally walk about. It takes a good 3 hours to reach this den on foot, all uphill of course. The snakes are always handled with care and never harmed by we who hunt them in the spring. The snake I found here sent me to intensive care so it can be quite dangerous, even to the experienced handlers. I have seen many a hunter get bitten firsthand and some lost fingers and more.

This is a smaller rattler, but very angry and thus dangerous. I don't use a grabstick as it can harm them. Instead, a shaft with a bend at the bottom to rest them upon. They are carefully placed into a sack and taken to the fairgrounds to be weighed, measured, viewed by the crowds and then released days later at the same spot to ensure their survival.

After many years of handling venomous snakes of all kinds, I finally received 2 bites to the leg from a Timber rattler which just about killed me. 12 vials of antivenin saved my life. It was an experience, I`ll say that! Not the Jimi Hendrix which was much more interesting! (Ha!).

A rough sketch of the painting in the primitive stage.

Painting has always been my favorite thing to do and I continue to pursue it with delight. The subjects vary greatly and my aim is to create " one of a kind " pieces that won't be found on a shelf in an art shop. I think the days at H.C. Sharp with Miss B. Rod inspired me greatly as we drew a lot, probability to keep us quiet!!!

The attempt here was to capture a bit of action, thus the waves rolling down and the fish leaping upward.

My version of a seascape titled Orange Spheres on a Blue Sea.

This piece was finished several years ago as I was in mourning over the death of my female boxer, " Pumpkin " whom we adored. She meant so very much, thus it became expressed in this unusual work.

Complexity makes sense to me as an artist. It makes people stop and look a little closer I think, and in doing so, they gain more from the works.

This is an odd piece, completed many years ago when I was on the road.

I betcha Miss B. Rod would faint if I ever drew this in her class! It's a bit complex which is what I like most. The title: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. In today`s world that seems to apply.

One of my sculptures that weigh about 20 lbs! Not easy to lift for sure. This one has a different face on the opposite side which doesn`t show here.

Banquet For A Madman, done in 1971.

This piece is too large to photograph well but it gives the general idea. It was finished this winter past 
and I may add more to it as it has a lot of open places to noodle with!

I just finished this one. There's a lot more added at the top and so on. Simply haven't taken of picture of the dull piece yet.

A photo taken off the TV, this when i appeared as a guest on the show, "That's Incredible " in 1979. The reason I was on there was for possessing the ability to predict major events, a "precognitive gift" I suppose one could label it. My band played on the show as well and it was quite a truly unique experience. The story itself is a complex one, involving many disasters I've predicted and recorded including events like 911 and Black Monday when the stock market crashed. This 
strange ability landed me in many newspapers that I saved as evidence and for the science of it too. The ability continues to this day, comes and goes at will, and I cannot explain it. Very complex, mystifying actually and in general, highly stressful as well. 

Thanks to Joe Seddon Jr. for her help in creating this page.