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Tuesday, October 8, 2013


From the age of eight, when my father’s job had him relocate from California to New York, to eighteen years old, I spent much of every summer in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Ocean City is about ten miles south of Atlantic City.  It is everything that Atlantic City is not.  A family town, there is no alcohol sold in Ocean City.  The board walk offers no forms of gaming what-so-ever.  Not even balloon and dart games or knocking bottles over with a baseball.  The boardwalk is rides, food, skee-ball, mini-golf, and movie theaters.


Last week between our visit to Atlantic City, my Fraternity Reunion, and the Dee Gee Wedding, I visited Ocean City for the first time in 50 years.

My mother’s step mom, my Grandma Gus, had a house in OC.  My father’s parents had a house one mile away from Grandma Gus’.  We (we being my brothers, my mom, sometimes dad and I) spent summer weekends at one Grandparents or the other and rented a house for two weeks when my dad took his vacation.

We raced sail boats at the yacht club.  We went to the boardwalk with friends.  We occasionally body surfed in the ocean.  Grandpa might take us fishing.  We waterskied when we found a friend with access to an outboard, or we hung around the club working on boats, playing ping pong, eating French fries and just being kids.

Summers were good.

Summers were very good!

I was pleasantly surprised to find both Grandparents houses still intact.  They were changed of course, but I recognized them immediately.  The Yacht Club was different from the outside, but essentially the same on the inside.   It was recovering nicely from 18 inches of water courtesy of Sandy.  The boardwalk was also much as I remembered it.
 Grandma Gus' House                                                      Grandma Gus' front porch
Grandchildren stayed on the third floor.
Grandma and Grandpa Hagy's House
Aunt Sally, Uncle Jack, and cousins Johnny and Dex rented the first floor
Grandma and Grandpa lived on the second floor, Aunts and Uncles had guest rooms on the second floor.
Cousins, sometimes as many as 6 or 8, took-over the third floor.
Grandma's Rental house (was only two stories back in the day, as I recall)
Uncle Tom's house across from the rental house
Grandma's Lot still empty...there was always plenty of parking, and a veggie garden to boot.
Behind is back of Grandma's house.  At five o'clock that
deck was covered with relatives downing stingers (crème d mint and vodka)
and Highballs (whiskey on ice.)
If that porch could talk...
 The "Surf" is now a mall, "The Blob" is no longer playing, Nils.
This popular restaurant is still in OC.
I never went there.  I am posting this for my blogger friend 
OC Yacht Club
OCYC yard, where we kept our racing boats
They say you can't go home again, but it was fun to visit.




  1. That sounds like a great childhood. That's a problem being raised here in north have to drive all day and half the night to get to anywhere cool. I mean that literally AND figuratively.


  2. How wonderful to revisit a place from the past and find some of the things there, just as you remember them.

    Atlantic City, Ocean City, (MD) and Rehobeth and Bethany Beaches in Delaware are all big players in my childhood memories of summer, too. Lots of extended family members renting multiple houses, followed by years of camping in tents or campers, playing guitars and singing around a campfire at night. Fishing, clamming, crabbing, body surfing, and getting swamped by at least one wave every year, and scraping my sunburned nose on the underwater sand.

    We haven't been back in years. Not sure I want to. The memories are still vivid in my mind, and like Robin Hobb said, "If you go there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there anymore." Yeah, I'm a weenie.

  3. i'm glad so much was there as you remembered. :)

  4. "If you go there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there anymore."

    This is so true, for me. My grandmother's house was only a mile away from where I grew up and I spent my weekends there as a kid, and also visited during the week. When I got married and had children, I brought my children to my grandmother's house and holidays were spent there, weekends, etc. Then when she passed away in 2007, my mother moved into that house. And we'd visit and spend holidays there. This house was my first home, and I have so many memories there. I was very attached to it, and I always thought I'd inherit that house and I planned on living there when I was a grandmother or a great-grandmother, so that my children's children could spend time making memories there. Twelve months ago my mother suddenly announced that she put the house on the market-- and it sold in one day. She then moved 1,300 miles away. I'm still getting over the shock that the house is no longer in our family. It's strange, but I honestly feel very displaced. It's like my "home" is no longer there for me to go back to. I can't bring myself to drive by the house. Like the quote says, all that I will see is what is no longer there.

  5. Grandma Gus's house looks like it had a fair amount of size to it. I couldn't help but be curious about the value of it then (middle class, upper middle class, etc.) versus now. You never know about beach property.

    Regardless, the value of all of your family hanging out in the two sets of grandparents' homes is priceless.

  6. I meant it was priceless then, and the memory is priceless now.

  7. I'm a big fan of Boardwalk Empire, and Mrs. C. and I are just getting around to watching The Sopranos, so it's nice to see New Jersey depicted in a more positive light.

  8. Great story, photos, and memories. May I ask what fraternity at what school?

  9. I have seen Ocean City just once, but your blog here made me understand it much better.
    My husband is a great fan of Jersey Beaches. We have spent a good number of summers when our kids were very young.
    A very nice reminder, although this summer when we were in LA we saw Manhattan Beach which is fun also.

  10. Nothing quite so exotic for us. We went to spend a week at my grandpa's cabin on the St. Francis river. Highlights were catching baby frogs on the dust road down to the river, bathing in a natural hollow in the spring-fed creek, swimming off the sandbar, and dodging daddylonglegs in the outhouse.

  11. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your memory lane.

    One time, my mom took me back to the logging camp where she grew up, but was disappointed to see that her house had been bulldozed. Heartbreaking.

    Lucky for me, I can still see some of the places that we lived, on Google Earth. I can still see the tree I used to climb!

  12. They were truly wonderful times: innocence reigned supreme! You forgot to mention Steel Pier: Ricky Nelson, Frankie Avalon, Fabien, Dell Shannon, Annette, Connie Francis and Bobby Darien!

    And the diving horses!

  13. I paid a visit to my childhood home this summer - so much had changed but so much remained the same - its good to reconnect now and then.