Archive for September 10th, 2009

Everything looks worse in the rain

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Greetings from Wildwood, New Jersey, the Shangri-La of my youth.

Isn’t it funny how Shangri-Las break down, get covered in vines and mold, and generally reveal themselves as major (white trash….ahem) mirages?

But that sounds awfully judgey..so let’s get some backstory for color, shall we?

The first summer after my parents divorced, my father was at a loss, and ended up borrowing a friend’s travel trailer. Being the older child, I ended up in the (far) less desirable bunk, which was a top bunk approximately 12 inches from the ceiling. My dad had to load me into the thing like a Japanese salaryman into a short-term hotel.

It was a hair’s breath from a mortuary tray, and twice as painful: Every time I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d sit up out of habit and crack my skull against the ceiling. I’d not necessarily be kidding if I said I was still haunted by the fear of getting up to pee in the night and getting a concussion.


Thus, the next summer, he found Wildwood – three miles of boardwalk, a motel with two adjacent and far-from-the-ceiling beds, and resplendent with no less than four amusements parks (and just as many water parks). The first magical summer week was all about pizza, roller coasters, and ‘Every Breath You Take.”

That and trying to win a giant stuffed ET, which didn’t work out.

These were happy memories stored in ‘once upon a time-ville’.

However, on a strange whim inspired by my brother’s birthday on 09/09/09, we decided to gather for a reunion tour and relive the glory.

So here we are, and the ‘Wildwood Senior Week 2009’ sweatshirts are 3/$10 (and still I have no takers. Mostly because my dad is now a senior of a different sort, and interpreted the shirts all wrong), and the everything is similar yet different, and the weather is CRAP.

And despite any deep thoughts or deep interpretations or signs from above…the weather takes all. It’s queen checks mate time when the heavens rain down and the thunder crashes angry and the ocean goes totally bezerk.

I was walking down the street with my brother yesterday, and we agreed the climate was pretty much a dead ringer for Ireland. Welcome to Wildwood, NJ – the Galway of the US!!!  (And sorry, Ireland, that’s not exactly a compliment. But you probably already knew that.)

Nonetheless, despite the sh*t weather, we have gone swimming.

That’s right. I have donned a Hawaiian-print red and white bikini and gotten into some riptide-rich, undercurrent-opulent waters…and frolicked as much as one can under the circumstances.

To be frank, it was more or less a scene out of The Perfect Storm, and there were lifeguards waiting and watching in trucks parked in the wings…but no one died.

And where family is concerned, that’s a victory if ever there were.

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