Travel Thoughts By Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together….down Memory Lane to Atlantic City, NJ!
Of course I don’t need any special day or event to bring memories of my mom into my day, but the holidays always seem to make those memories so much more active. I was giving a lot of thought to what my first travel article for 2022 would be about (the start of my third year doing these articles). What kept coming to mind was trips my mom would take my brother and I on when we were kids. She worked at GE and had two weeks off for vacation every July. She’d save up all year and when July came, we’d pack up the car and either go to the Adirondacks, Snowhill, MD to visit our Aunt Betty, or Atlantic City, NJ. There are no blog posts to link to for these memories and very few photos – after all, they were not only pre-blog, but also pre-internet, pre-computers, and pre-digital photography.
I’m going to talk about Atlantic City, NJ in this article. For you young whipper-snappers (yes, I just proudly used the word “whipper-snappers”) out there reading this, Atlantic City wasn’t always a gambling mecca – the east coast answer to Las Vegas. When we spent our summer vacations there, it was just a wonderful beach with a boardwalk and a steel pier. It was a place where a single mother could afford to take her children to play in the ocean and experience some magic for a week or two. We’d usually travel with friends of Mom’s to help share the expenses – often another mom with kids – and we’d stay in roadside motels.
Our days were spent on the beach and walking the famous boardwalk and steel pier. Meals were hotdogs on sticks and other not so healthy treats we found on the boardwalk. I remember starting each day with big breakfast at a diner near the motel and dancing to the jukebox while other diners looked on and applauded – “I Ain’t Got No Satisfaction” and “Wooly Bully” were a couple of my go-to selections for these daily morning performances. And, my brother and I thought we were so cool getting our photo taken with Mr. Peanut, who strolled the boardwalk advertising the peanut carts that were conveniently located along the walk. Of course, there were lots of sandcastles built, holes dug, and sand burials of pesky brothers performed on the beach when not frolicking in the ocean.
One year, we got to see Brenda Lee in person on the Steel Pier and another year we saw The Four Seasons in concert – live concerts like that weren’t as pricey as they are today. I usually say my first concert was the Guess Who for my 16th birthday, but that’s only because I tend to forget that my true first concerts were Brenda Lee and The Four Seasons when I was about 9 or 10. The Steel Pier was the place for all kinds of circus type acts – including acrobats and even a horse that dove off the pier into the ocean! WOW! That was a thrill we looked forward to seeing whenever we went.
Mom loves to tell the story about scrimping on food so that she would have enough money to eat one nice meal at the world famous seafood restaurant – Hackney’s, which I believe is sadly no longer there. She’d say that the menu was full of seafood choices – any kind, cooked any way, stuffed with whatever other seafood you could possibly want. And….what did the kiddos choose? Spaghetti!!! Hahahaha…..over the years, I did develop a passion for seafood, but at that time – yep, spaghetti was the only thing on the menu that appealed to me or my brother!
I have not returned to Atlantic City since it became the glitz and glitter place it is today. Maybe I will, someday, and I can write another article comparing my experiences. For now, I have these amazing memories of vacations with mom, my brother, and the friends who shared them with us. We didn’t know we were making memories…..we just knew we were having fun playing in the sand and the ocean and seeing magical things happen before our very eyes.