Monday, August 15, 2011

The Last Two Weeks of August

It's getting cool at nights now. And today, as I write, it's rainy with a temperature in the mid 60s Fahrenheit. Summer is ending. In a week or so the kids here will be going back to school. They go back so early here.
When I was a kid, school always started the Wednesday after Labor Day. I noticed some years ago that summers end earlier in New England than where I grew up in New Jersey. Up in Maine, most people have cleared out by the week before Labor Day. In New Jersey, I can remember standing on Labor Day morning on a Boardwalk so busy that you couldn't walk more than a couple of feet without bumping into someone. By 1pm, most of those folks were gone. By 4pm you could throw stones with all your might and not hit anyone.

As a matter of fact, it would be right about this time of the month that we'd all head to Ocean City for the last two weeks of August. My grandmother's Uncle Harry had a house there. This was in the late 1950's. I can't find a picture of the place (except in 8mm), but this gives you a fairly good idea of the area.

 By the early 1960's he'd sold the house, starting us on a one week stay at various places like the Sindia Apartments. The Sindia was a famous wreck from the days of the China trade.

Good God, the size of that thing. The ruins below were gone by the time I came along.

But, the following was there as long as I can remember, including the years I lived there (I left in 1972). I've read that they are now underground - thanks to a beach replenishment project. Local lore had it that a solid gold statue of the Buddha was on board the ship and never recovered...

Ocean City has been in my mind for a few months now. It first started showing up in my dreams. I'd find myself in the "Gardens" (read: Italian ) section of town...   well, it got me to thinking about maybe going back. At least it's an upfront tourist town. It's built for people watching. I can see myself, happy, retired, very poor,  sitting on a bench and watching the passing parade. Many of the benches on the boardwalk have backs which swing so you can sit looking out to sea, or set it to watch the world go by you on the boardwalk.

I've no idea who this is, and I really don't care all that much. So feel free to go ahead and make up your own story about her. It's from 1937 and that lady is sitting on the kind of bench I mean.

Oh, before I forget: One year we rented rooms at the new Sting Ray Motel. It was very modern for Ocean City. And it certainly didn't fit in architecturally. But it was right by the Boardwalk. And it was a block long. And see that section on the left? It is directly across the street from Uncle Harry's.

Ocean City Memories will be continued...


Austan said...

Yes, my greatniece started yesterday...her last year of HS. Damn they grow up fast.

Have you seen pix of OC these days? I think those benches are likely long gone, dahling. Everything changes. I've been wanting to go back to Brooklyn for a couple of years now. But not the Brooklyn of today, the Brooklyn of the 60s and 70s. Yes, another civilisation gone with the wind.

sdt said...

Actualyy, I've looked for those benches in contemporary pictures. Very few people take pictures of the ocean side of the boardwalk. I've been able to spot the regular benches (although now with concrete bases) but none of the kind in the photo.