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!

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Thanks for visiting!
                             Warmly, cloudia