Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Wildwood's, who won and my fable Wondrous Sam

Photo of The Wildwood's at the New Jersey shore. Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood are the shores that join together and form The Wildwood's. In this post I'll share memories. Memories I value and hold ever so dear. Some captured in photos or journals that I've kept many years very near. Thoughts of a day or times spent with family and friends, memories that linger forever in my heart and my mind. Memories that have magically formed precious snippets for me over my lifetime.

But first an announcement of the winner of House Beautiful's 500 Bathroom ideas. Elegant & Dreamy Spaces.

Kris from Junkchiccottage blog has won through a computer random choice. Please email me your address so I can send it right off to you wrapped with a bar of my favorite soap. Congratulations Kris!

I have been going down to the Wildwood's ever since I was young for a week long summer vacation every year with my parents and older brother. Now it's a 2 hour drive from Philadelphia to visit with my Grands Gabrielle 18 and Dane 11 who live in Cape May County with their Mom. Last Saturday spending the day with them inspired this blog post.. A tad bit different from my normal postings since this one is all about memories I will share.

You must be wondering what makes the Wildwood's so special. Well here are some praises and awards they have won. Voted Best beach town in America with their 5 mile stretch of white sand. (Absolutely no charge for admission - the beach is free). Best beach for family vacations - best beach for tourism and events and voted one of the top ten boardwalks in America.
This video was taken on Thanksgiving three years ago. My son lived in a 4 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse ocean front property. John and I celebrated Thanksgiving with our family in North Wildwood for the last time because they were moving back to Philadelphia. With their house listed for sale they returned to Philadelphia so my son could find carpentry work year round. During the winter months the Wildwood's become virtually a ghost town with the snowbirds* escaping for warmer places and many business's close for the season.

But for me my favorite time at the shore has always been in the Autumn months. The sea with it's coolish breezes and grayish tones with white peaks welcomes me peacefully in the quiet. This video which hubby John took was the view outside Chris's front door. Incredibly beautiful and serene. It was taken just before dusk.

plural noun: snowbirds
  1. 1.
    NORTH AMERICANinformal
    a northerner who moves to a warmer southern state in the winter.

This photo was taken at near dusk by John just steps from Chris's deck. What you are viewing is Wildwood's Morey's Pier. The end of the boardwalk that ends in North Wildwood. The preferred shore for residents looking for a more private beach. 

Quiet and closed for the season, but for me with my summer memories when I was young I can still hear the screams of joy and fright of everyone on the rides. Colors of flashing lights, blurred movement and sheer energy to form powerful memories. I close my eyes and see it all, taste the salt air, can taste once again to enjoy the sweet pink cotton candy of spun sugar, sticky fingers and pink stained lips. I pause and relive my shore memories. Morey's Pier has 100 rides and attractions. Three roller coasters some steel, one steel and wood. The Great Nor'easter, The Great White and the Sea Serpent.

I remember a day in the summer of my 8th year, standing in a yellow with white polka dot 2 piece bathing suit. Eating pink cotton candy, sticky face and fingers matching the pink of my pale completion after a day of unprotected skin and adventure in the sun. Wearing, oh my, a 2 piece bathing suit that tied around the back of the neck and mid back with a bottom more bloomer like then bathing suit with a ruffle on the butt! Picked out by my Mom who thought it to be "very cute" resembling what the Copper-tone girl wore in the commercials.

I was out gathering shells in a sand bucket (red and blue stripes with white stars) treasures to display in my bedroom at home. My parents only instructions were - Vera don't wander far from your lifeguards station. As they took me up to this gorgeously bronzed lifeguards stand, golden brown curly tasseled hair with perfectly sculpted 6 pack ribs and a glob of white zinc-oxide on his nose. My parents didn't realize Wildwood's lifeguards rotate stations ... I moved with him and became hopelessly lost, alone with a bucket of shells and sporting a stupid 2 piece suit. Frightened? Nope, it turned into a real adventure for me.

I was finally reunited with my parents after a ride on a jeep that went up and down the shore line stopping at each lifeguard stand. Funny how our past memories become woven together to form tiny precious snippets over time. Thankfully all turned out well as I was reunited with Mom, Dad and Mike and I received no punishment since I followed my parents instructions completely!

My beautiful Grand Gabrielle started working Easter weekend at an arcade on Morey's Pier. She continues to experience and appreciate the beauty of the shore and continues to build her memories of the Wildwood's. One-day to share as her lasting legacy.

Dogtooth Bar and Grill is our regular dining spot with the Grands. Named after the Dogtooth Tuna, John and I first experienced Dogtooth years ago when Chris took us there for a Sunday early dinner. Chris over that winter had worked on a renovation in the restaurant and he was proud of his work and the quality of materials the owners chose. We fell in love with it's charming interior, it's unique restaurant concept, but also it's delicious inventive menu on that very first visit.

It is one of Wildwood's best restaurants, open year round. It's an upbeat place staffed with friendly and family loving staff. It is where Gabby, Dane, John and I spent last Saturday eating, like all our visits where we now have made a tradition of telling endearing and funny stories of their Dad, our son Chris at Dogtooth.

On every visit steamed clams are ordered as an appetizer and it is now an overly repeated Chris story I tell that mets with a roll of my Grands eyes because they have heard it told up-teem times.

Here goes my memory since it is your first time ... when Gabrielle was only three I received a panicky phone call from Chris. Our conversations always just started in that moment of time, as if we were together in the room. "Mom what should I do, is it alright??? Gabrielle has eaten 100 steamed clams!!!" Now knowing Gabby wasn't allergic to shellfish since she loved shrimp I just smiled biting the inside of my cheeks to prevent myself from laughing out loud. Mom, MOM what should I do??? My answer was next time buy more clams, I know a smart Alex answer. You see Chris had purchased 100 clams and while steaming and placing them on a platter Gabby was sneak eating them and loving them. She still does to this day, only last Saturday Gabby ordered Mozzarella sticks as her appetizer, it was Dane and I with the steamed clams. But fat chance I wasn't going to re-tell my story.

So over our many meals (it's been 6 months since Heaven summoned Chris) there are now no tears at Dogtooth just fun, silly and often times stupid stories of Chris. Stories exchanged about memories we had and hold ever so dear in our hearts and minds. 

Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.
- Rosa Parks -

Photo of a lined Seahorse, the variety of Seahorse found in our Northeastern salt water. As a child I was mesmerized by Seahorses, I still am. There are 47 different species of Seahorses. The lined Seahorse swims in an erect position using it's dorsal fin for guidance. It has a prehensile tail it uses to grasp onto seaweed, grasses and coral for support. Dimorphic and grows in length to just over 5 inches and will live a maximum of 4 years. 

The Seahorse was my inspiration for my rhyming fable about memories of Wondrous Sam. A fable about observations watching a child grow up during the summer months in North Wildwood.

While writing short stories, fables and poetry a spark of inspiration no matter how brief will always result in often days of writing with me perfecting my words each draft. I hope this blog departure from my normal style postings has triggered some remarkably wonderful shore memories for you. The ocean breezes are warming and Summer is nearly here. 


Wondrous Sam

The love of my life isn't able to join me for summer vacation to enjoy frolicking in the sun and sand.
For he is a volunteer physician who is away with "Doctors without borders" in a remote foreign land. 

As a photo journalist I travel often on intriguing assignments, but decided to take a break from work to reconnect with the quiet of the sea.
To simply leisurely relax spending time at my parents summer shore house that was an inheritance a few years ago they left me.

Sun, sand and surf at Wildwood's shore, summering here ever since I was a small child.
An extremely hectic schedule had prevented me from any time off work for quite awhile.
For me the sea holds captivating allure, a true mysterious temptation and even perhaps the start of all creation.
I'm anticipating fun adventures, after just arriving to start my long awaited work free summer vacation.

My neighbors grandson Sam is squatting on the beach as he's studying a snail he's holding in his hand.
I instantly grabbed my camera and flew outside, before he could drop his slippery treasure into the sand.

His curly brown tasseled hair is adorned with shells and a Seahorse crown he's fashioned and wears like a cherub's halo,
I want to capture this precious fleeting moment in time of this radiant child who in bright sunlight was all aglow.

Sam's a very inquisitive wondrous little 5 year old, truly a sweet, intelligent and curious charming boy.
Just getting to know him fills my heart with overwhelming emotions of kindness and a sense of true joy.

The next day like every day that summer started with a knock on the door each morning at 10:00 with his shiny sun screen coated skin.
Together we would walk the shore line picking up shells as laughter and conversation would instantly begin.

Young Sam has his heart intent on one day becoming a marine biologist, as he is learns about life in the sea.
With every encounter he excitedly shares stories of all his discoveries and his enthusiasm mesmerizes me.

His favorite sea creature is the Sea Horse, who picks a wife for all his life and also gives birth.
Sam said besides the male Seahorse, the Pipefish may be the only species to do so on Earth.

Sam says Sea Horses are bad swimmers, they use their tail for support as they constantly eat and live in salt water everywhere.
He plans on becoming a marine biologist to save them from becoming extinct because that would be unthinkably unfair.

Sam is always day dreaming in warm sea breezes where the land and the ocean meet,
day after day he delights in enjoying the waves as they gently wash over his tiny feet.

Summer after summer, every encounter a sea creature lesson is how our conversation starts.
"Octopuses are intelligent but don't have any bones, strangely they swim backwards and they have 3 hearts."

Everyday Sam journals about his observations and humorously claims his pen contains black octopus ink.
Wondrous Sam is absolutely captivating as he tells amazing sea life stories that always end with an ear to ear grin and wink.

Two decades of summers have now passed, Sam gleefully studied Marine Biology away at school,
Then during Labor Day weekend I heard a knock on my door, there stood Sam in sea breezes that already had turned cool.

"I've earned my degree and have written a book "Magical creatures of the Sea", take a look...
On the cover was the photograph of Sam squatting in the sand, that 2 decades ago I took.

But reflecting on all those summers of treasured memories, it always comes down to this one,
Sam's boyish antics played out in the sun, with him discovering sea creatures was always such amazing fun.

© Vera

Photo sources Google images 1,5,6 & 7 


  1. You have taken me to a very special place tonight my friend.

    First of all, when I met Ruben in California, he was living with a family from Wildwood, NJ!!!!!! They would tell us about THEIR wonderful memories of this place, and now 33 years later, I am reading about it again, by you.

    These memories are so important to call up. As I was reading this, I could feel the sun on my skin, I can remember that bathing suit, for I had the same ONE! YES! And I chuckled, because NOT I, but Ruben, as a little 3 year old, got lost at Coney Island. His mother of course was frantic, only to find him sitting in the Coney Island police station, licking an ice cream cone!

    Sea horses...yes, they are one of my favorite sea creatures, and you really have made me smile today. All that I love is here, and thanks to your answer to the call to write, I am walking away so blessed. XOXOXOXOXO

  2. Oh, Vera, your lovely words made me feel like I was right there with you, on the sand! What sweet memories you have recalled! (Although your parents must have been frantic!) And I didn't know those interesting facts about seahorses!
    Growing up I went to Myrtle Beach every year with my family...I haven't thought about that in awhile, but you've reminded me of my good memories! I love the ocean and the sand and would love to someday retire near one :)
    Wonderful post, my friend!

  3. Dear Vera,
    You have such a beautiful way of expressing yourself.. Thank you for sharing such tender memories... I have never been there, but your images took me on a wonderful virtual tour..
    Sea horses have always fascinated me.... They are such delicate little sea creatures.
    Wishing you a blessed week.

  4. p.s Congratulations to Kris on the win of your most generous giveaway!

  5. Oh such beautifully sweet memories, Vera! What is it about at the beach that always wraps itself around our hearts and is forever etched in our minds? I loved reading about your time there! It was like you took us all back in time and we were there with you. :) And speaking of seahorses, I had the opportunity to have one wrap it's tail around my finger while swimming in the ocean in Belize. It was an amazing and memorable experience for me. These tiny creatures are so beautiful and graceful.

    xxoo laurie

  6. Oh Vera the wonderful memories you shared were so lovely to read. I felt like I was transported back there with you. Your story of Sam was really touching one I love reading your writing. You need to write books you have such a gift. Thank you for the win. I am very excited. I will email you with my address. You are super sweet and this was a really nice giveaway. You made my day. Thank your for the win and thank you for sharing those wonderful memories.

  7. Oh Vera, so beautiful of you to share your memories of childhood and what's come of your visits with the grands. I have beautiful visions of the work your sone constructed in your favorite restaurant Dogtooth. The view from your sons then deck was the deck that built a good part of family memories, where laughter, fun, and the love of the sea is gathered up in that little red stripped sand pale with stars.
    My mother also dressed me up in a sun suit of ruffled bottoms, and yes my grand parents all wanted me to show off my bottom just like the copper tone girl :)
    I so feel your connection to the memories of time and the time that passes.

    Your poem is again a piece of your work in writing from heart and mind, and it is a treasured piece.
    Oh, Vera!
    So excited to see that Kris has won your GiveAaway! And so creative of you to package it up with a bar of your favorite soap!
    What is your favorite soap ?

    Well my dear each time I read a post of yours I always say what will she write about that will possibly top this one? And here I am asking that same question?
    We will all be waiting to see the beauty you create next :)

    A beautiful May to you my dear friend, one that adds new memories to your journals and memories.

    Lots of love!


  8. This is my favorite post of yours so far! I love memories, especially childhood memories, and your post is woven with many generations of memories which makes it so meaningful. I have never heard of Wildwood, but I have never been on the east coast. Seaside memories have a similarity, no matter where they are, because they are all on the edge of an ocean that covers our earth. Wildwood reminds me of Santa Cruz because of the boardwalk. I have similar memories on the boardwalk. We had family with an oceanfront house just south of Santa Cruz. And I had a similar bathing suit, but mine was yellow with white flowers. The ruffle was my favorite part!

    You are so very lucky to have a place 'Dog Tooth' to share happy memories of your son with your grands. It sounds like he was such a bright light of a person in your lives and everyone he met.

    Your fable completes the post and reminds me of the wonder (and freedom) found only in summer days. Now I look forward to this summer with my family on the Sonoma Coast.

    Sea Tidings xxo

  9. PS...I do wish you all still had his beachhouse...what a beautiful place he had and shared with you. The sea view is heavenly peace.

  10. with you, Kerrie, Penny and Doré at the beach. SO LOVELY, what a dream to wish for! And I also see Romeo now! What pretty fellows, and that panther of yours...WOW his he a bute!teeehehehee

    Love the sound of the sea my dear. There is nothing like it.

  11. Hi Vera,
    Anita seems to be above me today as I visit my friends.. Bonjour Anita!

    Thank you for wander over to view the roses.. I do put a few drops of rose oil on the dried roses... It is just heavenly.
    So happy you enjoyed.. Wishing you a beautiful day

  12. Such a beautiful post, Vera!! Thank you for sharing such special memories with us. I'd love to visit Wildwood's and walk its beautiful beach. I also love visiting beaches in autumn - so serene and crisp! Have a wonderful Mother's Day. Cheers, Loi

  13. Dearest Vera...I too often feel like I am on an island and that is why this quote speaks to my heart as well. I do at times experience that connection we all have in the deep...and you are one that I especially feel that with. There are no words to explain it, it just is. I think you feel it too. You are a beautiful Mother and Grandmother with a heart so full of unconditional love. I know tomorrow will be hard and I will be carrying you in my heart of prayer. I love you.

  14. and now tears stream down my face.

  15. What a beautiful and inspirational post, Vera. Beach memories are always the best and I too have so many from childhood. Loved the poem…

  16. Dear Vera,
    Thank you so much for taking time to visit Andre... I am so happy you enjoyed.

  17. I love this post...the roller coaster photo is incredible

  18. Such beautiful memories you shared in your post. I grew up in NJ and my husband is from Philadelphia, so trips to shore were a special part of our childhood too. The food, the rides the smell of the saltwater in the air are the things I miss the most. Thank you so much for sharing.

  19. Hello Vera,
    I too have such fond memories of all our visits to the beach, although on the
    Pacific Coast! The same beaches where our small children played are now being enjoyed by our grandchildren. Time often stands still at the ocean.... and present fades into past....

    ~ Violet

  20. My dear, dear Vera,

    Only through an email will I be able to found out how YOU are today, but I truly hope all is well my dear friend. Thank you so much for coming to visit me, and June is truly a great month. SCHOOL IS ALMOST OUT! teehee

    As I see those kids I've taught this year graduate, my teacher heart turns into a mother's heart and I start to muse. I hope little Max is better and that all is well.

    I hope that this day you will be able to rest and start anew. And...I so love the photos you lent to Penny for her post; I am changing my own little theatre as I observe how you use tulle as a backdrop! Many thanks, Anita