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Monday, May 20, 2024


The Wildwoods 3.1.2006

By Rick Racela

I have a room full of books. Some of the books, I’ve read.
Some, I’ll never read, but I’ve kept them around because the titles are impressive and some frumpy old English teacher once scolded me that I should read them.
Some of the books I haven’t read yet but plan to whenever I finally have the time.
Whenever I consider my room full of books and that problem of not having enough time to read, I recall that wonderful episode of “The Twilight Zone” featuring Burgess Meredith as the bibliophile who is forever being hassled at home and work about his voracious reading.
The character’s only wish is to have time to read with no distractions.
One day, a nuclear explosion wipes out all the people in the world.
Burgess was safely ensconced inside a vault sneaking a peek at the daily paper at the time of the explosion.
He suddenly finds himself with plenty of time to read and plenty of books to read.
Just as he is about to dig in, he smashes his glasses and is unable to read a word.
Fade out, for Rod Serling’s voiceover.
When I first embarked upon the wonderful journey of home ownership, I envisioned a dark paneled room with rich carpeting and thick cushioned chairs.
The walls of the room would be insulated from the onslaughts of time and lined with all the great books I’d collected over the years.
Priceless copies of Shakespeare and the Bible, autographed by the authors.
Complete sets of leather-bound Dickens and Faulkner and Hemingway and all the other great writers whose greatness has been assured because no one recalls their first names.
My sanctuary would be subdivided for fiction, history, biography.
Of course, I’d have a special section set aside for my “Mad Magazine” collection.
The magazines were the first works of literature to make an impact on me, introducing me to a character that influenced my thinking on a number of serious subjects.
To this day, I cannot look at or listen to a politician without seeing and hearing Alfred E Newman and his trademark quote, “What, me worry?”
The dark-paneled room never happened.
It turned into a play room for kids. And when the kids grew up and went off on their own, it became a store room for all the stuff they couldn’t take along.
The books were relegated to the attic.
I have visitation rights but since the attic is too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer and not at all insulated from the onslaughts of time, I don’t bother.
So, these days, I’m giving away books.
I’m keeping the Shakespeare and the Bible in case I need a pithy quote in a foreign language.
The rest is fair game.
Except for that complete unabridged set of Moroccan bound “Mad Magazines.”
I’m holding onto them in case there’s a nuclear explosion and I find myself with time to read.
You never know what to expect with a bunch of Alfred E. Newmans running the country.
“What, me worry?”
Fade out for the Rod Serling voiceover.
There will be a benefit beef and beer for the Katz All-Stars Competition Cheerleading Team Parent Booster Club on Saturday, March 11 from 7-11 p.m. at the Bolero.
The team is traveling to Florida later this month to compete in national championships.
Monies raised from the beef and beer will help defray travel expenses.
Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
There will be Quizzo with Tony and LuAnn and DJ entertainment.
For more information, call 889-6777. For advance tickets, call 780-5044.
Congratulations to the following for winning the annual Spelling Bees held at their schools: Jenna Ankney (Crest Memorial), Rachel Koehler (St. Ann’s), Krista Estill (Margaret Mace), and Theresa Borughton (Wildwood Middle).
They move on to the county and, possibly, state competition levels.
Congratulations also go to runners-up: Alex Horner, Lindsay Galle (Crest Memorial), Jeremy Scott (St. Ann’s), Chris Gonzalez, Brendon Laffey (Margaret Mace), Jonathan Long, Gina Long, Marcellina DeLeon, and Ishana Dawson (Wildwood Middle).
Greater Wildwood Little League (Is it getting to be time for baseball already?) holds registrations for the 2006 season on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Crest Pier.
Various leagues are open to residents of the Wildwoods ages five to 16.
North Wildwood is looking for corporate sponsors for the city’s upcoming 100 anniversary celebration.
Contributors can give anywhere from $100 to $25,000 (or more) and will be recognized in the city’s publicity campaigns throughout 2006.
North Wildwood VFW Post 5941 has already kicked in $1,000. And the New Jersey Council on the Arts has come up with $3,000 for the arts portion of the event.
The main celebration will take place May 12-16.
Among the activities already slated is a parade which will be followed by an old-fashioned community picnic.
There will also be a concert featuring a John Phillip Sousa-type band.
Those wishing to make a contribution to the centennial should call Joe Quattrone at 374-0562.
Wildwood Crest Borough Commission meets this morning at 9:30 a.m.  at Borough Hall, 6101 Pacific Ave.
Crest Planners are scheduled for tomorrow at 7 p.m. for the same location.
West Wildwood Commissioners meet Friday at 7 p.m. at 701 W. Glenwood Ave.
North Wildwood City Council gathers on Tuesday, March 7 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City hall, 901 Atlantic Ave.
Wildwood Planning Board meets Monday, March 6 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 4400 New Jersey Ave.
Story time for preschool age kids continues tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Wildwood Crest Public Library, 6301 Ocean Ave.
Call 522-0564 for more information.
Reminder: The Fifth annual Polar Plunge for Andrew takes place on Saturday at noon at the Jefferson Avenue beach in Wildwood Crest.
Cost to get wet is $25 per person.
Proceeds go to a scholarship fund at Wildwood Catholic High School established in honor of Andrew Alameno who died at the World Trade Center.
For information, call Lisa at Fitzpatrick’s Crest Tavern, 522-1200.
The George D’Amico Memorial Basketball Tournament takes place March 9-12 at the North Wildwood Recreation Center.
Boys and girls teams from eight Cape May County schools will compete.
The tournament raises money to support youth activities and scholarships for local students.
The event is named in honor of the Optimist Club member and volunteer firefighter who died in 1993.
There will also be a cheerleading competition on Sunday, March 12 at 10:30 a.m.
That event is named in honor of Gia Chiarella, an eighth grade student from Margaret Mace who died in 1998.
Admission to the tournament is $2 for adults, $1 for students.

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