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Letters from our Readers 4.26.2006

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Our Readers Write
‘Heaven on Earth’ Was Tiny Cottage
To The Editor:
In the 1930’s. after the Great Depression, my grandfather had the foresight, good fortune, genius, call it what you will to buy a cottage in Stone Harbor, or as our mother called it her
“heaven on earth.”
 Linden Lane was not a vacation destination it was our home. We only spent winters in a suburb of Philadelphia or just went to school up there. Yes, I did have friends in Philly and we did have fun, but my happiest memories are of Stone Harbor.
With the help of space heaters, we would come down to X19 starting in March. On Sundays, when it was time to leave, our father, who bought the cottage from my grandfather in 1955, would crawl under the cottage to drain the water so the pipes would not burst.
The next Friday he would turn the water back on.
My sisters and brother grew up in that cottage, one worked at the bowling alley at 96h & First Avenue and the other at the drug store next door.
My brother worked at a gas station in Avalon and drove home for lunch in  a 1927 Ford pickup that a customer dropped off.
We parked cars in our yard for the July Fourth fireworks for 25 cents apiece.
Years later I took a job at the Holly Restaurant at 95th and Third Avenue. I recall rolling down the dunes in Avalon with my life-long friend Lynne, watching all the hotels go up starting with the Golden Inn, meeting my wife on the boardwalk in 1974 during senior week. Stone Harbor is one of the reasons why I joined the Navy in 1971.
I remember hiding Easter eggs in the yard and around the lane and helping my children find them.
My 7-year-old daughter and her 6-year-old brother  ran like lighting because they saw a rabbit that day. “We saw the Easter Bunny, daddy, and he is under that house,” they said.
We rented a dingy for the day at Smuggler’s Cove with our youngest son. We were attacked by green heads during the return trip.
When our father passed away in 1980, mother replaced the cottage with a two-story house in which she lived for 20 years at her Heaven on Earth. I never really liked the new house.
“I miss the cottage, Mom,” I would say, in a way she missed it too but she was comfortable with her new house. Our family is leaving after over 70 years of joy.
Hurricane Hazel and countless Nor’easters could not diminish our love for Stone Harbor. I am deeply saddened by the decision to sell. If I can find a way, my family will be residents of the south Jersey shore area again. Thank you for the memories.
FRANK ROESSNER
Drexel Hill
Cape May Nears Crossroads, Needs Direction
To The Editor:
With the Cape May City Council election on May 9, I would like to offer some positive thoughts on the projects and operations involving our city.
The 2006 budget has been adopted. There are two very important parts of this budget, one is the day-to-day operations and the other is our capital projects. The city needs the leadership to direct the necessary funds toward completing these.
The convention center, Washington Street Mall, the harbor and Nature Center area and the acquisition of the lands east of Pittsburgh Avenue, all require careful planning with sound financial control.
I supported the budget and feel I can offer this important ability. The council must perform carefully, both in the planning and fiscal stage using the most qualified people to accomplish this task.
The city is at the crossroads of moving forward but, careful direction is necessary. The voters must choose a solid and credible council member. I am proud to say that I have always supported the residential and business concerns. We also must be aware of the delicate area of our tourism success and promote this important and necessary part of our economy. My message is very basic: I offer much experience but more important, I offer sound ability today, tomorrow and in the future. This election will place three persons in office for a full four-year term. We must be certain that we choose people who are willing to offer and accept this responsibility. I pledge a commitment and dedication to all the people of Cape May and ask for your vote and support on May 9.
To quote Benjamin Franklin: “Well done is better than well said.” Please choose wisely.
WILLIAM G. GAFFNEY
Cape May
(ED. NOTE: The author is a city council candidate.)
Our Readers Write
Trek Isn’t Official Class Trip
 
To The Editor:
In response to the Spouter regarding the “Junior Class from Wildwood Catholic is going to France again.”
I would like to enlighten readers about a few things: it is not a Junior Class trip, the school doesn’t sponsor individual class trips of this size. The trip is offered to juniors and seniors, who are in good academic and disciplinary standing and want to travel and learn while doing so, with open minds about other cultures and places.
The trip this year is not to just France, but to England and France. They will be touring and visiting places in history, which they have learned about and also experiencing different cultures.
Some sites they will visit include: Windsor Castle and World War II sites such as the landing beaches of Normandy, Pegasus Memorial, The American Cemetery, the Louvre, Versailles and the Eiffel Tower. What a wonderful experience for a teenager or anyone.
 I am aware of this because my child is part of this wonderful experience, which was offered to travel and see the world.
Yes, there are wonderful vacation places within the United States, which many families can experience and enjoy together, but how many families can afford a 10-day vacation for all to another country, such as these?
Many of the students have worked one or two jobs to earn the money for this trip and this experience is one of a lifetime.
I commend Ms. Kane and the other faculty members of Wildwood Catholic High School, who have willingly taken on the responsibility to act as adult supervisors and chaperones of the many students that are currently experiencing a time of their lives, which they will never forget.
Thank you, Wildwood Catholic High School faculty members for this opportunity for my family to explore the world through my child’s experience in Europe.
 
PAT MANNING
North Wildwood
Laud Priest
For Having
Convictions
To The Editor:
In response to the April 12 letter, “Brokeback’s Real Villains are Zealots,” the writer’s analogy is both lacking in context, and hysterical in itsattack of Rev. Michael Orsi, regarding his observations concerning the plot of this agenda-driven film.
He pulls out all of the usual invective clichŽs linking anyone, whom from a faith-based perspective, still believes that the homosexual lifestyle is disordered and sinful. He references “Romeo and Juliet,” “West Side Story” and the agreeably vicious hate killing of Matthew Sheppard, a gay man, at the hands of two drunken malcontents, as though Orsi agrees that the protagonists in the former got what they deserved, and because Orsi has the courage to teach, what has been held as immutable truth in Christianity for 2,000 years and in Judaism for 6,000, he somehow shares  responsibility for the latter crime.
As a Catholic, I applaud Orsi for having the courage, lacking in many priests today, in the face of politically-correct and cultural pressure, to teach the truth.
Yes, there are zealots within every group, I would submit that the writer is one. This is not about hate. The writer would like us to forget that every major religion down through history, as well as every civilization, has held that homosexuality is disordered and against natural law.
Both the Old and New Testaments admonish the homosexual lifestyle, though the gay lobby along with secularists, have attempted to re-interpret and revise the meaning to suit their agenda.
One has only to look at how “Brokeback…” was hyped by Hollywood against the vitriol encountered by Mel Gibson’s “Passion” to realize that this is all about pushing an agenda.
DAN Mc NEILL
North Cape May
Our Readers Write
Honor Wartime Bravery 50 Years Late
To The Editor:
As we approach Memorial Day to remember our fallen of all wars, I offer a story that would honor many of the unsung, unrecognized heroes whose acts were known only to their immediate comrades.
On Oct. 1, 1944, our ship, a minesweeper, was engaged in sweeping operations at Ulithi Atoll in the Western Caroline Island. This was necessary for a fleet anchorage, important to the campaigns that would follow, which would finally end the Pacific War.
The enemy had mined it heavily before being forced out by the Palau Island invasions.
Along with our sister ship, and another minesweeper, we began this sweep for moored contact-type mines, with our ship in the lead of the formation. This position puts the ship more in harm’s way, as it is the first into unswept water.
After some mines were cut and floated to the surface, we had one caught in our sweep wire, which wasn’t cut loose by our cutters. We turned out of the formation to try to clear this, and our sister ship took our place, which now put it in harm’s way.
Shortly after the position change, we were stunned by a terrific explosion, as the ship we had left the states with, and had been through two major campaigns with, was suddenly destroyed.
The ship was broken into three sections by the force of one or two mines. We quickly cut loose our fouled sweep cable with a buoy attached, and preceded into what was apparently a very shallow moored minefield, as our draft was only eight feet.
We spotted a moored mine in the clear, lagoon water, very close, so we lay to, with no way on, and began rescue operations.
Wounded survivors were picked up by our small boat before our lookouts observed an unconscious man, entangled in sweep wire, which was still attached to the stern section, and was being pulled underwater by the swells in the lagoon passage.
Three of our crew who were good swimmers volunteered to try a rescue. They managed to keep his head above water, while they dove repeatedly to untangle him from the wire.
Finally free, they swam back to our ship and he was hoisted aboard.
Now consider this, if any of the sections of the ship that were still afloat hit one of these mines, the rescuers would have been surely crushed by the explosion.
Another serious risk was the presence of many sharks in the lagoon, which would be attracted by the bloody water from all the dead and wounded.
It seemed like a miracle that we moved away from the minefield without any more loss of life.
Task Force 38 was anchored in the swept part of the Atoll and we put the most seriously wounded aboard the USS New Jersey. The man saved from the sweep wire had head wounds and was saved by a lengthy operation.
Our skipper sent a recommendation for the three rescuers to the Navy Department and never even received a response. Lost in Navy red tape, we thought.
Some 50 years later, a belated award was given to his insistence that the men be recognized. They received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.
This is the same medal President John F. Kennedy was awarded for his PT-109 exploits.
Under most difficult and dangerous conditions these men saved a fellow sailor from certain death while placing themselves at great personal risk by swimming through an existing shallow minefield and shark-infested waters.
Just another example of courage that was exhibited many times during that terrible war.  Several days later, after a typhoon had passed through the area we resumed the operation.
We swept, sank, or exploded the swept mines by ship’s gunfire, without a more casualties, except for more than a few cases of frazzled nerves.
EDWARD W. MOORE
Erma Park
 

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