Telling it


printStories from the Front Lines

Slow Going
Samuel Kostic's Surprise

[see large picture]

Williamstown’s Samuel Kostic, Jr. remembers how excited he was to take the very first New Jersey Turnpike toll at 8:10 a.m. on November 5, 1951: he was at Interchange 2, Swedesboro. The toll was fifteen cents, and he had to give change for a fifty-cent piece.

The thrill of opening day, though, soon gave way to the boredom of slow nights. “I’ll tell you one [story] I particularly will never forget,” says Kostic. “Between 2 in the morning and about say 5:30 in the morning, at Swedesboro [in early 1952], there were just about no cars . . . there’s nothing to do, nobody coming, so I brought myself from home an old folding, wooden chair. [My wife] gave me a couple of blankets, I put them across the chair, I put my feet up on the counter, and I fell asleep. Then all of a sudden, an air horn blasted me. The first bus came over there 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, with his air horn. And I’ll tell you what happened: I kicked the whole toll box thing and the tickets flew all around, the chair broke, I fell down, I said, ‘What the hell???’ It was something I’ll never forget.”

“Act One, Scene One,” clipping from the Pike Interchange
Collections of The New Jersey Historical Society,
gift of Samuel Kostic, Jr.