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Wildwood 5.31.2006

By Rick Racela

I need to get away occasionally. As wonderful as life is here at the Jersey shore, sometimes I have to go somewhere that doesn’t exist in a constant state of change.
For example, yesterday morning I walked out the front door, waved to my neighbor Hennessey and headed off to work. When I returned after my day’s labors, I found no Hennessey family and no Hennessey house.
In their place was a vacant lot, a rust encrusted bulldozer, and a sign advertising four condos to be available by this summer, constructed by magic, I suppose, in the space that that morning held one house and four Hennesseys.
My friends tell me that change is part of life and a good thing, but can change happening this fast all the time and everywhere, always be good?
Besides, Hennessey still owes me $50 that he bet on the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup and now he won’t be around for me to chase down the way I have to every year the Flyers lose.
Anyway, I needed to get away to someplace completely different. Being a flatlander, I naturally turned my sights to the mountains.
The Poconos in Pennsylvania are the closest objects we have to mountains in these parts so I headed north and west for an extended weekend at a relative’s cabin in the Pokes.
It started raining the moment we drove onto the Commodore Barry Bridge and that rain didn’t stop the entire time we were in Pennsylvania.
While folks in the mountains universally agreed that we “needed the rain,” I’m not sure that need had to be satisfied the entire time I was in the vicinity.
So I figured I’d catch up on sleep since I hadn’t slept much recently, what with all that suspense over the whereabouts of Gus that kept me up nights as I’m sure it did everyone else in the Wildwoods.
Having lived most of my life at the shore, I’ve learned to sleep through any kind of noise, man-made or natural, including the summer a houseful of senior week girls from Little Flower High School rented the house next door and stayed up every night until 3 a.m.
They played Colonel Puff Puff drinking games and listened to the same two records, over and over, immortal gems from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Neil Sedaka, the echoes of which still cause me to wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats every year around Memorial Day.
Not even that prepared me for sleeping with a whippoorwill for a neighbor.
This particular whippoorwill was a regular nightly visitor to the hedge right next to our window. It started singing at 9 p.m. sharp.
The bird proceeded to sing the same three notes repeatedly all through the night until the following dawn when it went to bed and all the insomniacs it created stumbled into that morning.
After the whippoorwill serenaded me for two sleepless nights, I decided to take action. All I could find was a can of old hair spray that the relative’s wife had for some reason decided was essential for cabin life in the mountains.
Having seen what this stuff did to her hair, I figured it would keep the whippoorwill away from the hedge so I emptied the contents on the hapless shrub.
The whippoorwhill returned that night and we were treated to a full concert.
Just before dawn, sleep deprived for about 72 hours, I attacked with a burning brand from our fireplace. I’d forgotten the earlier attack with the hairspray, so when I attacked with the brand, the scene took on a biblical aura, complete with flaming bush at the top of the mountain.
I didn’t burn down the cabin although you would have thought from the turnout of excited neighbors that I’d done something special.
“Something like this, people’ll come from miles around just to watch. Nothing much ever happens around here,” one gawker explained.
I felt gratified that I’d given them something to talk about until the next flatlander popped up for a weekend.
It stopped raining the minute we re-crossed the Commodore Barry into New Jersey. By the time we hit Grassy Sounds, the sun was shining, and all was right with the world.
Those condos next door were already half way built. And what do you know, in my mailbox I found a crisp, new Ulysses S. Grant with a note from Hennessey telling me to “wait ’til next year with the Flyers.”
Sometimes, a little change is pretty good.
***
Margaret Mace teacher Lisa Kobierowski asked me to thank everyone who came out for the school’s second annual Summer Job Fair. This year’s event was expanded to include Wildwood’s high school students, according to Kobierowski, who organized the fair.
Local businesses participating include the Morey Organization, Olympic Fun Center, Gateway 26, Ed’s Funcade, Lime Rickey, Variety Arcade, Boat Tag, Splash Zone, A&LP Restaurant, and the area Acme Markets.
There was also a good turnout of student job seekers from across the island.
More thanks go out to the Margaret Mace Home and School Association, which provided refreshments, and to Mark Hunter and Jim Malinowski from Q107 for putting just the right “spin” on the evening.
***
Wildwood High School Classes of 1957, ’58, and ’59 are getting together for a party on Friday, starting at 6 p.m., at Garfield’s Restaurant on Pacific Avenue.
For information, call Pat at 390-0463 or Diane at 463-0081.
***
The Teenagers may not be teenagers any more but they are still the stuff of rock and roll legend, and will be appearing tomorrow night at 9 p.m. at the Wildwood Convention Center, Burk Avenue and the boardwalk. Joining them in concert will be the Shangri-las.
The show is sponsored by the New Jersey State Elks Convention. Tickets cost $17.50 for adults and can be bought at the convention center during regular business hours.
***
Mark your calendars for The Columbian Squires’, an area Catholic youth group, car wash on Saturday, June 10, from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 206 New York Ave., North Wildwood.
***
North Wildwood City Council meets Tuesday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 901 Atlantic Ave.
West Wildwood Borough Commission meets Friday at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall, 701 W. Glenwood Ave.
Wildwood Crest Planning Board meets tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall, 6101 Pacific Ave.
Wildwood planners meet Monday, June 5 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 4400 New Jersey Ave.
***
The Irish Society’s 2006 Shore Blast takes place Saturday, June 10 from 2-6 p.m. at Keenan’s Pub in North Wildwood. Donation is $35.
Call Joe at (610) 513-9437 for information.
***
That rumble you hear in the distance is the approach of thunder, which can only mean that the annual Spring Thunder on the Beach Motocross races are coming this weekend to the Wildwood beach at Schellenger Avenue.
Racing takes place Saturday starting at noon and Sunday at 10 a.m.
For ticket information, call the New Jersey Hot Rod Association at 523-8051.
***
North Wildwood holds its fourth annual Beach Writers Conference June 6-8 at Montego Bay Hotel and Conference Center. Seminar events are free.
There will be a keynote dinner on June 7. Tickets cost $20 each.
Call 522-7722 for more information.
***
The Elks are coming to the Wildwoods this weekend for their annual state convention, which means there will be a parade on Saturday at noon along Atlantic Avenue from 25th Avenue, North Wildwood to Aster Road, Wildwood Crest.
***
The Morey Organization hosts its annual Education Extravaganza tomorrow and Friday at the pier at Schellenger Avenue and the boardwalk.
This event, which combines beach, boardwalk, and fun learning, is for students in grades three-12.
For more information, call the Morey Organization at 522-3900, extension 1136.

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