“Cause down at the shore everything’s alright
You and your baby on a Saturday night
Nothing matters in the whole wide world
When you’re in love with a Jersey Girl
-Tom Waits Sung by the Boss
My wife Janet is a Jersey girl. Even though she was born and raised in Pittsburgh, she spent a lot of time at the Jersey Shore. As a kid, during high school and college, she spent summers working on the boardwalk selling crabs and Ziggies, doing other summertime part time jobs, and being a waitress. She stayed with her aunt and uncle who insisted that Janet and all the cousins got summer jobs to augment their fun times on the beach and on the “boards.”
While working as a waitress, she had a boss who said,” fugheddabaddit” for everything. ” Hey, how is the Pastrami today?” ” Fugheddabaddit. ” Hey, can I have a day off tomorrow? ” Fugheddabaddit” ” Hey what is the weather like tomorrow?” ” Fugheddabaddit. Don’t you just love the Jersey accent and demeanor? It is no wonder that we go every year on the annual pilgrimage to Avalon, NJ. We just can’t help ourselves with the tradition and the feeling that you get when you cross that bridge into New Jersey and then smell the salt air in Egg Harbor.
A lot of Pittsburghers have gone elsewhere in the summer. The Outer Banks, Myrtle, Florida. But most of the hard core Pittsburghers still make the pilgrimage to the Jersey Shore for a myriad of reasons. We go with two other families and have done so for years. So many traditions have been established down there like Mack and Manco pizza on the boards with Johnson’s caramel corn. It is now Mack and Mack but basically the same pizza on the boardwalk in the evening watching the show of visitors and tourons that frequent these parts in the summer. As I previously mentioned, the local folks who have businesses down there who survived the hurricanes and just keep working and rebuilding, are typical of the New Jersey mindset. My knuckles get white from squeezing the steering wheel when I enter the state and I always remark that these people aren’t good enough to drive that fast. But you get guys like old man Moran at Moran’s Dockside who will sell you blood worms, clams, shrimp and every other kind of bait in the world every day with a deadpan look on his face. When I told him the last time that I am having no luck with all the bait that I have purchased each and every day, he looks at me and says,” Too hot to fish.” ” Bad time of year.” So I say,” Then why did you sell me the bait? ” He says ,” You wanted to fish.” Gadda love these folks!!! So I am relegated to fishing with my buddy Dean Denmead and on occasion coming up with Satanic catches like eels, horshoe crabs, turtles, dogfish and the occasional snow tire. But it is all part of the tradition. Even when the land breeze flies bite your legs so hard during the baiting of the line. It is like they sense that you are trying to get ready to fish and therefore are distracted enough to allow for them to feast on your flesh.
For me, the only way I maintain sanity is to ride my road bike with Mike King from Avalon to Cape May in the mornings. The early morning sunrises, seeing the crabbers under the draw bridges, and smelling the salt air is intoxicating. Part of the visit is to stop at Nun’s Beach in Stone Harbor and get the new T shirt for the year that commemorates another season at the beach with the pending surf contest sponsored by the nuns at the convent on the beach. Don’t tell me the Catholic clergy has it tough. Dinners at Sylvester’s with the fantastic fresh seafood eaten from paper plates on a picnic table may not be haute cuisine but it sure is Jersey. The corn, the tomatoes, the lazy days on the beach- people watching, are some of the things that Janet talks about all year. Fugheddabaddit.
So, in a few weeks, we will pack up the vehicle, bungee the beach chairs and fishing gear to the roof, put the bikes on the rack, and head east. And the reason you do it every year is because everything’s all right when you are in love with a Jersey girl. Thanks for reading.
Lol 😄I love it!! So great ! I’m psyched for the shore!!😘❤️😍Great article!!!❤️❤️👍👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
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Hi Pat longtime no see. Eat some soft shells for me. Love to ski with u next Winter. Jeff
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Spent a lot of time on the other side, Delaware. On one memorable ride I see woman riding icognito (no logowear, but she is a pro.) I ask if she wants to ride with me (I am on an old Raleigh Competition with Campy NR and a 14-18 cluster). As this is the shore, she interprets this as a pick up line and demurs. Light changes, I clip in and accelerate up to the low 20’s. With enough fixed gear miles, I hold a nice steady 104 rpm in 42/16 and she just fades back. In a few miles I have gained at least minute. When I flip around, she looks over and and almost apologizes. I do not think any amateur had ever passed her (let alone dropped her)
Great memories. Love reading your stories and memories. Mack and Manco pizza-Who could pass that up? We would have “who could get the tannest” contests with our brothers, and yes, our parents didn’t think twice about it back then. Typ always thought he won, but I disagree. First in the water, Biggest Fish, first to catch a fish…our family is not competitive with each other!😂 Thanks Pat for drumming up these wonderful memories!
Nothing quite matches the smell of The Jersey coast.
Florida gulf coast…? Fugheddabaddit!
21 more days my friend! I hear the fish are biting! Well, the Sharks are anyway!
I just got back from Wildwood, NJ on Sunday after a week at the beach so this was good timing on your part. My wife’s family has been going for generations. Because of relocating and growing families, they stopped going for about 6 years (first break in the tradition in three generation I believe), until this past week. It was fun to be back, and everyone fell back into their routines as easy as riding a bike on the boards! It was special for me personally because we were able to take our 9 week old daughter for the first time. She loved it!
Sorry for the long response, but I felt the need to share.
On Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 11:56 AM, chroniclesofmccloskey wrote:
> patmccloskey posted: “”Cause down at the shore everything’s alright You > and your baby on a Saturday night Nothing matters in the whole wide world > When you’re in love with a Jersey Girl -Tom Waits Sung by the Boss My wife > Janet is a Jersey girl. Even though she was born and ra” >