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.