Oral History

An Interview with Miriam Gilles

Mrs. Gilles was born in Bayshore.  She attended Dowling College and became a registered nurse. Mrs. Gillies worked at Central Islip Hospital and then later at Bayview Hospital in Mastic.

Mr. Gilles always had a dream of opening his own marina.  In 1965 that dream became a reality.  What is now Senix Marina at 50 Senix Avenue in Center Moriches, was built from scratch.  They bought an old duck farm and after getting approval from the Town of Brookhaven, they dug their first canal. The Gillieses had to hire an archeologist in case they found any artifacts when they dug. Later they added a second canal. It cost the Gillieses a lot of money to build the Senix Marina but, Mrs. Gillies believes it was worth it because they grew with the marina and the marina grew with them.

There were a lot of parties at the Marina. It began with women’s tournaments. Five or six women would go out on a boat and they would be provided with lunch and cocktails. They also hosted the blessing of the fleet.  About 300 people would go and everybody would bring food. The local clergy were put on boats and paraded out to the bay. They would then put a wreath at the inlet.

An Interveiw with Mr. Clayton Huey

Mr. Clayton Huey started teaching at Center Moriches over 50 years ago in 1955. He was originally hired as a physical education teacher and coach. He coached varsity basketball, junior varsity baseball, varsity soccer and varsity track. He also taught mathematics and regents biology. In 1960 Mr. Huey became the principal of the school. Before teaching at Center Moriches, Mr. Huey worked for BOCES setting up physical education programs in small schools as part of his job he taught one day a week at the East Moriches School.

When Mr. Huey first started, teaching pay was about $3000 a year. He was not paid extra for activities such as coaching or supervising a school dances and other functions. Men and women received the same pay based on a step system. While teaching in Center Moriches he taught students from Center Moriches, the Poosepatuck Reservation, and students from William Floyd. The William Floyd students attended Center Moriches schools until 1959. The graduating class of 1959 consisted of 115 students.

An Interview with George Hermann

George Hermann’s family has been in Center Moriches for over 100 years. His grandfather first came to Center Moriches in 1902 and opened a real estate business. His father started the family hardware store, which was located on Main Street. In 1929 George’s father opened a funeral home, because the only other funeral home owners were soon to retire. The Hermann’s also had a bottled gas business. George’s father passed down the funeral home business to him in 1935. He ran the funeral home for about 35 years and sold it some time in the 1980’s. George enjoyed running the funeral home because he was able to help his friends in their time of need.

George shared many of his memories of what it was like to grow up in Center Moriches. There were several supermarkets in town. A&P was the largest of the stores. There was also a Ralston, which was a smaller supermarket. The community was a very small and everyone knew each other. In the winters the ponds would freeze over and the families would skate and play on them.

The hurricane of 1938 and television changed the people of Center Moriches. The hurricane affected many homes and businesses, the funeral home itself was flooded and many coffins had to be thrown out. Moriches Bay came all the way up to Main Street. The people of Center Moriches were without lights for almost 3 weeks.

Syndicate content