Monday, March 02, 2009

Ocean City 1965

I'm bored with 7th grade.  Okay, I barely remember 7th grade, it being a long time ago and me being old and forgetful.  So let's cut to the summer of 1965.  A great year no matter how you cut it.  
My family went on vacation this year to Ocean City where we took up residence in two buildings along with several other families from Wenonah and my dad's brother and his family.  It was kid heaven.  Our apartments were right on the beach and we were there for two weeks.  A few times we even got out of school before the year was over to go.
The apartments were all the way at the end of OC.  I think between 56th & 57th streets but I'm sure I'm wrong and someone will tell me in a day or so.  They were simple buildings built in the late fifties.  Living room, sort of dining room, bedrooms, bath, shower outside.  We spent maybe 8 hours a day inside unless it rained.  Besides my family we stayed with our parents friends.  The Lakes, the Shepards, the Pistilli's, the Nugent's and others who came and went but these were the standby's.  This meant we had tons of friends.  Charlie Lake, Debbie Lake, Jack and Joe Shepard, Bruce Nugent, Dave Pistilli.  It also meant we had our own little world on the beach.
On the Saturday we were to leave it would invariably be foggy or rainy and we'd be whining about not being able to have fun and my Dad said, always, don't worry it will burn off.  And it always did.  We drove to OC the back way through Glassboro and Buena, past the Mexican movies in Buena, past the old lost taverns along the way until we arrived at the 34th street bridge and in just twenty odd blocks were at our shore place.
We'd unpack like demons, throw on our trunks, grab our towels and race to the beach and the water and OH MY FUCKING GOD THE WATER IS FREEZING!.  And it was.  This is the 2nd week of June and the water temperature on the Jersey shore is typically 52-56 degrees.  This is bone chilling cold.  Your little balls would get sucked up deep inside you, your ankles would ache a terrible terrible ache but you had to go in, you had to go in.
Our parents would arrive moments later and spread the chairs and blankets around like some rude compound.  Maybe an umbrella, maybe not.  We'd run in and out of the water, hike to the point south of 59th street, explore the gullies and the rocks and our fathers would scope out babes while our mothers...actually I don't know what they were doing.  Probably scoping out young men but this is 1965 so maybe not.
We were there for two weeks.  We played box ball, which is some weird combo of handball and baseball, in which Mr. Lake would usually crush my foot and break my little toe.  We'd play handball.  We'd play frisbee.  We'd body surf.  We'd go to the boardwalk!  The boardwalk! The boardwalk!  The Pavilion! Salt water taffy!  Mack and Manco's pizza!  The cool hobby store that sold Airfix little men!  The Taylor Ham Pork roll store with Pennsylvania Dutch Root Beer!  And of course, of course, Gillian's Wonderland!
The ferris wheel, the merry go round, the rides, the cotton candy, the sheer pleasure in pissing away all the money you had from shoveling snow or raking leaves or from your lazy uncles and aunts at Christmas!  It was the greatest place in the world in 1965 for a mess of chowderheads from South Jersey.  We body surfed, we played, we ogled Penny Pistilli and my Aunt Simone's bikini.  We cursed in a stupid 7th grade way.  We wore clam diggers and stupid hats right out of Beach Blanket Bingo.  
We were in heaven.  

47 comments:

Pam Cassidy said...

We spent every summer at OC at our place on 15th St. I remember the smell of the ocean and the humidity dissolving in the air. We body surfed on those canvas rafts until my brothers and my nipples were raw. We walked the boardwalk every night, but not with each other. My brother liked the arcades and Smugglers Cove with the whales teeth(you could buy them then). Me? I liked to walk and pretend I was older than I was. And hope to meet a guy so we could go under the boardwalk!

Jim Maddox said...

Seventh Grade for you and me was life as the small fish in the big pond. Close order drill in gym class. Industrial Arts with no experience using power tools. Wandering around hallways looking for classrooms, and making new friends with kids from other towns. You and I shared our love of history and Marvel Comics.

Bob Thomas said...

Your post made me think about the neat boats the lifeguards used - who made them and where.

Here's a link to more info on the boats
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/legacies/NJ/200003319.html

http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2907559320102988870drzFIx

http://www.pbase.com/njsux/image/101935100

Bob Thomas said...

Some more Ocean City info -

We stayed in the Sindia apartments right above the boardwalk one summer. Life was good!

http://sindia.net/news/news7.html

http://www.thesindia.com/news/news4.html

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