Sunday, November 4, 2012


Y  O  !

Jersey girl by Bruce Springsteen on Grooveshark 
PLEASE DO listen to Bruce while you read this.
The videos you can look at after I've explained . . . .

What did Della wear?  She wore her new jersey.
 (US States: Delaware & New Jersey)
That's what we would say as kids
growing up in the Delaware (River) Valley.

When you live in the Philadelphia region,
 New Jersey is 
that place across the wide river,
over the giant bridge,
the magical place of Summer.
(Or later, of a younger drinking age.)

When heat & humidity settle into the city,
everyone wants to go
Down The Shore.

New Jersey is the Garden State,
which might surprise you
if you've landed at Newark Airport
or driven the NJ Turnpike of smells.

But "Jersey" is a historic 
American place where tomatoes
and peaches and watermelons
are sold by a long, empty, dusty road.

The NJ Pine Barrens are an indigenous
Forrest Primeval, the largest still-wild tract
on the East Coast,
 where Native Americans,
escaped slaves, and
 Hessian Revolutionary War veterans
hid from society for decades
 (and some say: Still do).

George Washington crossed the Delaware
from Bucks County where I grew up
over to surprise the Hessian troops at Trenton
on Christmas Day.

Our family went to the annual re-enactment
on Christmas Day

 To my famiy, Trenton is where we went
to see the movies.  It was closer than
Downtown Philadelphia.
Back in the day
of movie palaces
before multi-plexes
with their tiny screens.   

The Jersey Devil
was not a hockey team,
but a living legend,
writ large in our
childhood imagination.

Jersey Devil
Philadelphia Post

Courtesy DOUGTONE 
notice the reflection of neon,
the dirty snow piled up.
Smell the Diesel from the
trucks (Lorrys) .

But along with iconic diners,

'Down The Shore'
IS New Jersey
to so many of us,
for generations.

Summers mean a lot 
to EACH of us,
who we were as kids, how we grew.
The Jersey Shore
was where you had your first kiss,
first beer, first smoke,
where you heard your first
Rock & Roll, your first
B R U C E ! (Springsteen).

"Down the shore everything's all right."

To my parents, as inner city kids,
going down the shore
was as good as it got.

Taking us there when we were young,
 having a Summer Share, or a room
in a boarding house, for a few days,
or weeks, or a whole month,
meant that my parents had "made it"
in the swinging Sixties.

I remember long days on the wide beach,
the sound of sea gulls,
the men in white, with bow ties
and leather shoes
hawking ice cream from a box they carried
from a strap 
around their neck,
right there on the sand:
" Ice cream sandwiches,
Fudgy - Wudgy "
 (Fudge bars)

I can still hear them call
over the wind, the gulls,
the children,
the calling mothers,
transistor radios,
rolling surf. . . .   

I remember the strange, pre-historic
horse shoe crabs,
and the feeling of little digger crabs
in one's hand so wiggly and queer.
Clams spit. 
 Sea weed tangled one's ankle
scaring one. 

I can close my eyes
and be standing in those waves
next to my Dad,
all gone. . .  
Those were good moments.

 Horseshoe Crab
Courtesy: spakattacks at

 And at night,
the sea was a dark vastness,
down there, 
beyond the smell of
roasting peanuts,
the amusements,
 rolling chairs,
salt water taffy,
cooking french fries,
and fortune telling gypsies
on the lighted Board Walk.

On Rainy days, we would go to movies,
or to Steel Pier to see the diving horses:

Fathers drove home to the city
to work
late Sunday nights,
or early Monday morning.
The Atlantic City Expressway
would come later,
with the casinos;
but I grew up
those Summers
in the old Atlantic City
of the Shelburne,
Miss America,
Steel Pier with it's diving white horses.
my parents and grandparents.

Ventnor, and Margate,
south of Atlantic City
was "our shore."

We would ride the 
up Pacific Avenue,
past the streets
on your Monopoly board! 

Courtesy: Adam E. Moreira

The word "jitney" is a slang word 
for nickel (5 cent piece)
 which is what it cost to ride
 in 1915 


When I was a baby
 (the story was endlessly repeated)
grandmother walked a MILE
 up that hot crowded beach
(That could burn your feet)
to the boardwalk (bare foot splinters!)
to get me a cup of water
in those days before bottled watter.
When she returned,
 baby Cloudia didn't want it 
after all,
I never heard the end of it.

Come to think of it,
we live in Waikiki,
my Dad died here,
because to us
being "Down the Shore"
especially LIVING
Down the Shore
meant that you had 
Made It.

My whole life
has been colored
by those Summers
Down the Shore!

My parents bought 
a tiny efficiency apartment,
their get away,
 in Atlantic City when I was 20.
A Casino later needed the land,
financing a real apartment
in Margate, right next to
LUCY the Elephant Hotel!

all about Lucy's history  Here

Now The Shore
is hurting.

It will never be
the same
as it was.

The child in me
is crying.

and grateful,
 as I am
to be a Hawaii Person,
I guess I'll always be
a Jersey Girl.

You got a 
with that?!!



Thanks for riding along
down memory lane.

are excellent company!

' Take Peace & Laughs - Leave Your Comment '
Thanks for visiting!
                             Warmly, cloudia


黄清华 Wong Ching Wah said...

I like the old pictures!

RONW said...

it'll take a decade for NJ to fully recover.

Lisa said...

Thank you for taking us along.

Elizabeth said...

Much of New Jersey is devastated!
So terribly sad.
Thanks for the memories of what once was!

Brian Miller said...

only been to jersey once...back in HS on a NYC trip....pretty crazy what they are going through right nw...they def could use our those old diners....

aloha from va

Akelamalu said...

Thankyou for sharing your memories with us Cloudia. x

Adam said...

a horseshoe crab is a living fossil

the walking man said...

Been there a bunch of times both before and after the casinos. But I never saw anyone come to Detroit for anything but a job which has been gone for thirty years and no one has done a telethon to help rebuild this place.

If you build your amusements on the ocean which I have been upon many times, in small ships, especially the north Atlantic then you take your licks and get everyone to feel sorry for you and your past?

Naw no one feels sorry for mine which now is the place where people only come to watch the empty houses burn then take photographs.

No sympathy from me, not for your memory sista' or mine. The shit is the shit and when you are in the shit you either get put to the head of the list or you get the nation stepping all over you cuz you haven't had enough shit yet. New Orleans is almost forgotten now mostly because it was the blacks that suffered, this time it's the whites.

C'mon tell me, anyone, when you hear the word Detroit, the first thing that comes to your mind is dangerous, nigger filled place only the insane still live and the one city in America that has a realistic 40% unemployment rate...OK I bet that last part didn't come to your head.

Anyone going to throw a telethon or send in the national guard to feed our hungry, house our homeless or bring jobs here that you don't need a gun to get?

Our hell has been decades long and no one notices, that's why we're now the forgotten city. The East coast gets shit on (and will again because of the decisions made there) and I am supposed to sympathize?

When you mourn the loss of 2000 125 foot tall elm trees with me I will mourn the loss of a playground with you.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

What a fab post Cloudia, and I'm sure all of your readers will relate in one way or another. For me it was the trips to the seaside with your parents, we lived in Central Africa and traveled thousands of miles (my Dad driving) to get to Mozambique for seaside hols, magic! It would have seemed. Little odd to see diving horses, but an elephant home would ave been such fun..

Charles Gramlich said...

My brother lives still in New Jersey, well outside the urban areas. I've heard quite a few stories of the Pine barrens and the Jersey devil. Interesting stuff.

TexWisGirl said...

oh, sweetheart. i am sorry. i didn't know this was part of your dna. i know you are feeling the pain from afar.

Birdman said...

Three thins-
Has to be one of my favorite songs of Bruce... I can sing this one.
I married a Jersey Girl
Thoughts turn to the Garden State this week... send $$$ to the Red Cross.

Birdman said...

... make it 'things'.

ANITA said...

Wow so really good post!!i have saved your videos for my you tube account!they were just great!!
it is very nice to learn alittle about you!!jersey seems nice!!

thank you for sharing!!

many hugs Anita

Magia da Inês said...

°✿ Olá, amiga!

Bom domingo!
Boa semana!
Beijinhos do Brasil.°✿

Teresa said...

Does that mean we have to call you Snooki? Great post! I loved the pictures and memories.

Beth Allen said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures, and your memories, of New Jersey. I've spent some time in New Jersey, a long time ago. Enjoyed this post, as always.

The Elephant's Child said...

Thank you. Lots. I have never been to New Jersey but have grown to love it (and many of the things mentioned in this post) through Janet Evanovitch's novels.

Tamires said...

Hii, dear!

Cloudia said...

Walking Man: I love your whole way of being. I hear you and actually, I DO mourn Detroit, Baltimore. . . . iconic real places that were left to rot long ago. It sucks.

Friends: It means a LOT that you came over today. Thank YOU each VERY much

Anonymous said...

After spending morning hours at a Museum with our son, we bought him a colouring book and there was where I saw the crossing of the river first today. Now in colour.

Thank you for this journey filled with hope. Please have you all a good new week ahead.

Lori Skoog said...

I hope that someday you will be able to visit Jersey again. Thanks for sharing your memories.

Anonymous said...

Cloudia -- I didn't know all of that was in one area, nor that your Philly times were just a drive over to the shore. So now we know why you thought nothing of living on a boat for 20 years! I wondered why a hockey team was called the devils. I'm glad the working class got a break to the shoreline; I thought it was just the rich folks hanging out there, uh, like human-pulled little carts? I think I like a natural beach like Hawaii's. The Jersey shore is different with it's good and bad smells and noise. It'll rebuild in a newer version. So sad for the folks thinking it wouldn't be so horrid. Hugs, DrumMajor

magiceye said...

Lovely stroll down memory lane!

Namaste /\ from Mumbai

Mama Zen said...

I loved reading this!

Couture Carrie said...

Lovely, nostalgic post, darling!
My dad used to live in Rumson, just around the corner from Bruce :)


christopher said...

That's a great summary of the Jersey it.

Born in Brooklyn myself, most of my beach bum days were spent in The Rockaway's or occasionally at Breezy Point, both of which were hit terribly hard by Sandy as well.

Let's hope they all rebuild strong...lots of good times and memories have been shared there over the years.

Leovi said...

A wonderful post full of history beautifully and excellent documentation, greetings.

Bob Bushell said...

Very interesting, nice pictures.

Betty Manousos said...

old photographs have always fascinated me.
thanks for sharing.


Cloudia said...

THANKS, you dear Friends!!!!!

rupam sarma said...

Great post, Thanks a lot for sharing.

Kay said...

Such beautiful memories, Cloudia. Thank you for sharing them. I'm so sorry for the pain you must be feeling. This is such a sad time.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful memories and old photos.

Cloudia said...

thank you, 3 true friends!