“Memories of The Jersey Shore” by Cristina Menditto
I am a Jersey Shore native – born and raised. My childhood was spent running wild on the sand throughout every season. We built sandcastles all year round and felt the crunch of the snow under our boots on the sand in the winter. Spent hours upon hours with our feet in the surf, begging our parents to have pizza delivered to the boardwalk so that we could have dinner on the beach and drink in every single second that summer had to offer. I ate more cheese fries from the Avon Pavilion than normal and Strollo’s was an after dinner staple in my house. I had sand in my hair even in November and the second I got my license on my birthday in December you can guess the first place I went, windows rolled down Born to Run turned up.
As I grew up my love affair with the ocean never faded, throughout high school I drove barefoot and sandy spending all year just waiting for those summer days to come. But like most of us I left the shore in search of “bigger and better.” I needed to “find myself” and so I went away to college in the Catskills, only to find myself home whenever I could be, often with more than one friend in tow because most kids I encountered only came to the Jersey Shore on vacations, and I was lucky enough to call it my home. A couple years after college I moved to upstate New York, again in search of something “better.” Who was I kidding? Whatever I was looking for wasn’t anyplace other than along the surf line.
I always found my way back. Back to the sound of Point Pleasant on a summer night; to complaining about all that traffic; to riding bikes on the boardwalk in the fall. Back to eating Windmill in the winter because I crave the taste of summer all year round and to those first really warm days of spring where we head straight to the ocean and roll up our jeans to feel the warmth of the sand on our feet. And this time I am doing it all with my four year old son – running wild right along with him as we scan the shore line for mermaids purses and sea glass. Bundling up and walking the Belmar boardwalk because the best playground is the one with the pirate ship on the sand, telling him stories about when his mama was little, how she always loved the ocean.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea. – e.e. cummings
***Cristina is a local contributor to our Jersey Shore InMotion community. We hope her short stories put a smile on your face and remind you of some of your own memories of the shore. Stay tuned for more short stories by Cristina