Childhood

I was reared in Cape May, NJ, America’s oldest seashore resort, although I was always partial to the moniker The End of Reality.

Our rancher was on the corner of Kearney & Jefferson. This area was known as Frog Hollow. It was so named as these four corners were the lowest in town. Whenever it rained, it would flood. It was not uncommon to be brought home from school in a Civil Defense truck.

Five times the Atlantic Ocean entered our home. The first time was on 1 December 1974. I recall the family scrambling to raise everything off the floor. We were in the living room when the water first came through the floor. I recall the wall-to-wall carpet being soaked. My mother cried. We went upstairs. The following day, after electricity and sewage was cut off, we left our home in a row boat. We had done a good job saving our possessions, but we had not secured the bar; all the liquor bottles were floating about our dining room. It looked as though we had partied hard that night. That bar now sits in my dining room, complete with the waterline mark.

Growing up in a beach resort was not the panacea for a young boy as it may seem. Once the season was over (back then that was Labor Day) until the season began (Memorial Day), there was little to do. I played football for the Tornadoes. We were undefeated and unscored upon in 1977. Heh! There was roller skating on the weekends at Convention Hall on the boardwalk. And that was all. There were few families who lived year round in Frog Hollow.

Bridge
My parents played Duplicate Bridge. Much of my childhood revolved around the game I did not play. Our porch was removed in 1972 to add a living room that housed 12 card tables easily. We took but one vacation although there were many weekend getaways to bridge tournaments. While Mom and Dad played session after session, my sister and I were locked in hotel rooms. Being four years younger than my sister, these weekends turned into physical abuse. It was so bad that in Baltimore (I believe) someone knocked on the door to see if all was well. That at least curtailed that day’s beating.

We used to go to the Howard Johnson hotel in Atlantic City (now Caesar’s) each summer. While waiting for the final scores to be posted when I was about 10, I sat on a couch in the lobby near midnight. That is when I saw my first prostitute. At least I learned on these adventures.

Also blogged on this date . . .

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