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26 April 2005

Wildwood Days!


S

ure Texas has Galveston, Maryland has Ocean City, the west coast has Ventura Beach... but only New Jersey has Wildwood. With summer just around the corner the Atlantic beach community is gearing up for another season of sun, surf and sand fun. Wildwood has always been the town of choice for the young and young of mind. A normally tiny little town on the Jersey shore during winter, it grows by leaps and bounds during the summer months... it triples its' occupancy.

There are several types of people in Wildwood: those that owned property and made some summer money by renting out rooms to individuals and families, the summer residents that came down and stayed June to August, and the weekend people that started pouring in around the end of May... they would rent rooms or houses by the week and there was constant change-overs every week for the entire summer... and then of course the day trippers, down for just the day on the beach and the boardwalk at night. In Philly you never had to ask "where ya going this weekend?" You already knew the answer: Wildwood!

Even in heavy rains the boardwalk was crowded with people. The arcades, amusement piers, salt water taffy stores and t-shirt shops... always filled to capacity with people looking for that perfect souvineer to take home and to put them with the other souvineers from previous years.

Then there were the Boardwalk Angels... the girls that would come down with their parents for the weekend and hang out at night on the boards. You always knew where they were hanging out. Like 13th Street and the Boardwalk, there was always a huge crowd of guys and girls just hanging out, dancing or listening to an accapela group singing either in tune or as the night wore on, out of tune. No one cared...

And who could forget sand fun... it was so much fun you took it home with you... in your shoes, your hair, in your bathing suits... and in places where God never meant for sand to be... after all these years I think I still have sand on me somewhere from Wildwood.

Back then even Atlantic City was quite different than today. It was another Jersey staple with its' boardwalk and Steel Pier with the Diving Horse show, disc jockeys and dances and Mr. Peanut from Planters Peanut fame, side shows and funhouses. Then AC fell into major decline in the 60's... and I do mean major decline. However, now the casinos have taken over and AC has changed its' face again... I'm not sure for the better either. I guess it's not fair, but living in Texas now I compare all shore events to Wildwood and Atlantic City... and it just never, ever compares.

Another summer is upon us and the annual ritual begins all over once more. Ah good times, good memories.

Burning Questions and Random Thoughts

When you were a kid did your parents take you on summer vacations for a day, week, or the whole summer? Where did you go? Or have you started taking your kids to places that will become their favorite memories?

Today's Birthday

Today's birthday boy is Bobby Rydell, born in South Philly in 1942. Rock n Roll singer.

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