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Monday, July 15, 2024

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Reconnecting With Those Who Are Closest to Them

Cape May County Herald
Lovina Carroll with son Stuart in 1951 at the Ocean City shoreline. The family still comes to Ocean City each summer and recently re-created this photo.

By Karen Knight

A Far-flung Family Reunites Each Summer in Ocean City

Years ago, a photo published in the Cape May County Herald showed Lovina Carroll holding her infant son, Stuart, at the water’s edge in Ocean City with the caption, “It’s a wide wide world.” On June 17, the family re-created the photo, this time with Carroll’s great-grandson, Zev Stuart, who was held by his mother, Sarah Carroll.

“The original photo from 1951 has circulated in our family for years,” said Zev’s Dad and Stuart’s son, Sean Carroll. “The Carrolls and the families of my grandmother’s four sisters have been coming to Ocean City every summer, in smaller groups since my grandparents were children, to larger annual groups for the last decades. Zev, who is 6 months old, has his grandfather’s middle name.

“It is a wide world, as the caption stated. Home is a place in the world where family gathers, where we can connect with those closest to us. For our family, Ocean City is a place where we gather, a home.

Sarah Carroll introduces her son, Zev, to the water in Ocean City recently, in a re-creation of a photo taken in 1951 with Zev’s grandfather and great-grandmother. Photo provided

“This year, we have family here from Alaska, Minneapolis, North Carolina, California, Salt Lake City in Utah, Arizona, New York City and nearly everywhere in between. We gather here because of the long connection our family has at a place where the wide, wide world becomes a little closer.”

Carroll said his grandmother and four sisters grew up in the Philadelphia area and would come to Ocean City during the summer. At one time in the 1930s and 1940s, they owned a home in the resort town.

He remembers coming to Ocean City as a child with his parents, who eventually split their time between Philadelphia and Ocean City after his Dad retired.

“I’ve been coming down every year of my life, except during Covid,” said the 42-year-old, who lives in Minneapolis. “Now, we have about 40 to 50 people coming down during the same week each year, the third week of June. This year, we have rented six houses.”

The family likes Ocean City because of the tradition, but also because it is “calm and family-friendly,” Carroll said. “My grandmother and one of her sisters met their husbands here. This is the second year since all of that generation has passed away, and now I find myself the one shopping at the Acme and making the meals.”

The family likes to meet daily at the beach, and then get together in the evening for cocktails. Dinner may be on their own, but then they enjoy playing board games, charades and other activities in the evening. “My wife and I came up with a trivia game that is Ocean City-based,” he said. “We enjoy spending time together with everyone.”

As much as people say that “things change,” Carroll said, he does not think Ocean City has changed much over the years. “Sure, there are new shops, but there’s still the boardwalk, still the Music Pier and Wonderland (the amusement park),” he said. “It still is the friendly, calm place that we like to come to and relax.”

Reporter

Karen Knight is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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