Summer Memories From The Jersey Shore

A ray of sun falling across my face wakes me. I lie in bed and listen to my father get up first. He puts the coffee on, which smells so good, and he tiptoes out of the house to get the newspapers from Wawa. Then my mom gets up and has coffee and the TV goes on quietly. She starts frying bacon, and that is added to the coffee smell.

Then Aunt Marie gets up and they work on the huge jigsaw puzzle and smoke cigarettes and there’s a little more clanking when they decide to undo the dishwasher. Then Uncle Mike wakes up and goes from his bed to the living room floor and reads paperback novels. Sometimes he tells funny jokes, and sometimes he grabs us as we go by and tickles our legs.

My dad comes back from his little trip with newspapers, which have their own lovely smell, and Benny’s Bread with its intoxicating sourdough smell, and maybe some pastries. Then my room starts to come alive with Jase and Trin surfacing from their sleep, and we lie there a little while longer and giggle and plan our day, and then we go out and attack the kitchen and the day has begun.

Then there are the night times, when everybody comes over for dessert or coffee. All us kids are spread out on the living room floor watching the Phillies with the old uncles who are dozing in the chairs, and Richie Ashburn’s voice is summer, and all the aunts are sitting around the table drinking coffee and eating Entenmann’s. We are all sunburned and smell like the beach and soap. Sometimes an aunt invites you onto the couch and scratches your back, and sometimes an uncle calls you over and opens his wallet and gives you money for A La Mode.

We gather ourselves in a noisy bunch and go over barefoot to get our ice cream. Inside it is cold and the floor numbs our feet, and we order our current favorites and talk about our old favorites and the time Trin got sick from eating a whole banana split and the time Francine wouldn’t give me any of her marshmallow topping. We all miss Marny and Pop-Pop so much, but no one says that.

12 thoughts on “Summer Memories From The Jersey Shore

  1. I can see it, feel it, and smell it! It reminds me of when the kids were little and a middle of the night thunderstorm hits and somehow everyone is on my bed!!! There is nothing like a lightening storm at the Jersey Shore!

  2. How about when Pop-Pop was still alive, he would cook up a bushel of crabs. yummy. You kids would all squeal when one got loose before going into the pot. Cousin Kevin had family over to Aunt Lee’s house to play the dictionary game last week, now that he is “old enough” to play the dictionary game.

  3. thanks for sharing. I miss hearing these stories about life in O-City. reading this one made me think back to the first time you told me about your life pre-college.

  4. Chocolate frozen bananas or soft serve on the boardwalk, on the way to Playland and the waterslides.. going to 55th St. beach at night to watch shooting stars. Sneaking for cookies and milk for me and Marny before we said our rosaries. You opened the door of memories, all of them sweet and full of sunshine. HUGGING my computer!!

  5. Valtacos cheesesteaks and Blitzes hoagies.. and wet your pants hysterical , laugh until you wheeze, dictionary game nights….

    Still smiling from the heart on all of this chain…

  6. So many memories you ignited. Our vacations were full. The developed traditional events, mostly associated with food like Dot’s pastries for doughnuts at least a couple of times, the pasta night followed by hilarious games around the dining room table, crab night after a hard day of crabbing with Pop-Pop and then shopping to fill the basket with blue claws to save face, bar-b-que chicken night, a night for cheesesteaks, and the farewell breakfast of scrapple and scrambled eggs prepared by your mother to feed us before we left for yet another year. Then there were the activities like the men heading for the day at the beach and meeting the ladies leaving the beach after their morning walk, the night on the boardwalk, surf fishing, the day of golf with your dad, Uncle Ed, and Pop-Pop and the great family party to celebrate Marny and Pop-Pop and Nanny and Betty’s anniversaries. Jason is carrying on with building fond memories for his boys – 55th St beach, the board walk – “Grandpa Corky and Grandma Peggy” – and of course the “Alamode”. Oh what fun we had.

  7. Hi Chris…

    You probably don’t remember me…I was much older than you…but you were either in my brother Joey’s grade or my brother Chris’s grade at St. Augustine’s in Ocean City. Somehow I ended up on your site when I was searching for some “past” Annie info with my niece Gabriella. I can still remember all of the excitement when you landed on Broadway and we all hit the road to Manhattan to see you perform…you were great!

    I just got back to Florida from Ocean City and spent the past two days trying to explain the good old Jersey Shore to my “Florida Friends.” All they kept saying to me was…”but there are beautiful beaches here.” With that said, I pulled out the Johnson’s Popcorn and Shriver’s salt water taffy that I schlepped on the plane, along with dozens of photos…trying to explain the difference between a Voltacco’s hoagie and a “sub” that you get in the grocery store here…or a slice of Mack n Manco’s pizza as opposed to a slice of Dominoe’s. (Not to mention riding a ferris wheel on the boardwalk instead of the kind you ride when a carnival happens to temporarily land in a local parking lot.) Still, unless you’ve grown up there with tons of family and friends and have the memories of the traditions, food, fun, and aroma’s, there’s just no way to convey it to anyone who hasn’t.

    I enjoyed reading all of the comments and hope you and your family are all well!

  8. This is for Lisa…

    Where are you in Florida? I am right outside of Tampa in Odessa. It is always good to find another Jersey transplant!

    Marie

  9. Advantageously, the post is in reality the sweetest on this precious topic. I concur with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your future updates. Saying thanks will not just be adequate, for the wonderful clarity in your writing. I will right away grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Genuine work and much success in your business efforts!

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