Visualize the bus from Philadelphia pulling into the terminal. First off is the single mother, followed by her four children, all young boys. Once the remaining passengers exit the bus, the boys climb back on board to retrieve fishing rods and suitcases. Wait, they’re not finished- they go back on board and grab crab traps. Yes, the metal baskets that clang and open when you drop them on a hard surface. What did they sound like in the overhead luggage rack? What did the rest of the passengers on the bus hear and think on the two-hour plus ride to Cape May. Did it matter?
In hospitality today, I often wonder how many people would react to that scene. Would we cringe, run and look away? Or, like some back in the very early seventies, would we reach out, embrace and welcome this young family into our guest house for their vacation “down the shore.” As I wonder about their hospitality now and think of the subliminal impact of living so many of these scenes, was the unintended consequence that Nancy’s eldest child would wind up in the hospitality business at the Jersey Shore?
Nancy was determined to consistently get her boys to the beach one way or the other-trips made in a 1963 Chevrolet named “Nellie” and later vehicles, which occasionally required assistance from “angel mechanics” replacing radiator hoses along the way. But car or no car we got to the shore, sometimes by Greyhound or Trailways bus out of the city like the scene described above. You might have even found our picture next to the word “shoobie” in the dictionary.
Enjoying the privilege of living near the beach it is easy to re-live these memories. Or perhaps it is as we get older and see peers going through similar experiences that we come to appreciate the things our parent did for us. Whichever the case, this sentimental Irish fella both appreciates and enjoys the memories.