April 2023 Meeting Recap: “The Foxtail Legacy” by David Abromowitz

Call to Order: President Jim Malone opened the meeting at 7:30 PM followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Old Business: Vice President Len Ludovico thanked everyone for supporting history. 

Program:  Point Pleasant Beach native David Abromowitz shared a presentation about the history of his family and how it inspired his debut novel, The Foxtail Legacy.

Novelist David Abomowitz with PPHS President Jim Malone. Photo by Jill Ocone

Abromowitz graduated from Point Pleasant Beach High School in 1974. He attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He relocated to Boston, where he practiced law and is involved in several advocacy groups. 

This was the first time since 1979 that Abromowitz had been in his hometown. ¨It´s terrific to be home,¨ he said. ¨I am a proud son of Point Pleasant Beach.¨

While readers might notice familiarities in his novel, he reiterated that the book is a work of fiction and any similarities are from the constructs of the author´s mind.

Abromowitz´s grandfather, also named David, left a small town in what is now Lithuania with his brother and sister and arrived in South Africa in the late 1800s. He was in a strange land and barely spoke the language, and in 1897, he and his bride arrived in America and first lived in the Tuckerton Area. David became a peddler, and eventually relocated to Point Pleasant Beach at the recommendation of a fellow peddler who sold wares in the town. His acquaintance suggested that Point Pleasant Beach would be a great place to start a department store, and somewhere between 1906-1907, he and his wife, Jenny, and three children (Rae, Fanny, Joseph) settled in the Beach. 

David founded the D. Abromowitz and Son Department Store in the early 1900s, which was originally located in the Wheeler Building.  The store moved across the street to the west corner of Arnold and Bay Avenues, where it operated through 1979,

Abromowitz explained his grandfather had a sharp eye for opportunity and saw the trend of city people visiting Point Pleasant Beach, and his instincts were the cornerstone of the store´s success. The store became such a landmark that a replica of an early Abromowitz wagon was a mainstay in the annual Big Sea Day parades. 

After his grandfather retired, Abromowitz´s father, Joseph, his mother, Rosalin, and aunts and uncles took over the business.

Abromowitz grew up in the store and helped by making sale signs and trimming the windows, but he knew early on that he did not want to pursue a future in retail. 

When malls began to pull people away from local stores in the mid to late 1970s and his father´s health began to deteriorate, the family made the difficult decision to close the store because nobody wanted to take it over.

Abromowitz´s grandfather lived the classic immigrant story, which serves as the backbone to his debut novel, The Foxtail Legacy: an immigrant travels through hardship to a new world through and thrives by working hard while learning new customs and traditions and how to speak a different language in a time when traumas from life were hidden rather than dealt with. 

The Abromowitz family history served as a scaffold for the novel, and as the author wrote the book, he found himself learning so much more about his family and about the history of the town through meticulous research and interviews.  Abromowitz noted readers will find a glossary in the back of the novel defining unfamiliar words that they may encounter while reading.

On Tuesday, April 12, a book signing for “The Foxtail Legacy” was held at The Little Point Bookstore on Arnold Avenue. 

The Foxtail Legacy is available to purchase by clicking here. For more information about David Abromowitz, visit his website at www.abromowitz.net

The meeting adjourned at 8:03 PM with refreshments. 62 people were in attendance, including Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra, who announced that plans for a historic walking tour of the town are in the works.

Our next meeting will be Monday, May 8, 7:30 PM, at the Women’s Club Building, 513 St. Louis Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach. Speaker to be announced.

Images below courtesy of Sal Marino and Jill Ocone.