Posted by: Kathleen's Life Waves | March 7, 2011

Nicknames: Bums~Sunshine~LOL

This post started months ago when someone asked who Bums was. Well Bums is my husband, Stephen. Bums comes from a part of his/our last name, Bumball.  Now if you were to meet my husband I would introduce him as Stephen he would introduce himself as Steve. To me he is Stephen or Bums but no Steve. My good friend  posted something around the holidays and I commented saying “I was going with Bums” one of their friends saw the comment and they thought I meant street people and that I should be more careful with my words. Once explained they then wondered why anyone would name a child Bums so we had to explain yet again. I, of course, was LMAO thinking no one I even know would ever call anyone a Bum. Then I thought of all the years at the NJ Food Pantry ,which I volunteered at, and wondered how all these fabulous people whom I met over the years would feel if they thought society called them Bums. Yikes! People should go at least twice a year to work in a food pantry and I guarantee you will be amazed how many wonderful souls walk thru that door in need and they are not Bums. Things happen in people’s lives. The food pantries are there to help and in this economy need I say more.  So I digress as usual now back to My Nicknames.

I have many nicknames and started to wonder why.  Some people have no nicknames in their lifetime and I have quite a few that I will gladly share with you.  I am surprised I know my name, LOL

Kathleen~birth name and since I went to parochial school the nuns always used Proper Names

Gram called me Katie

Mom calls me Kathleen

Dad calls me Kathi

Sister(Laureen) called me Kath

Brother (Allen) calls me Kathi

around 16  I decided I needed  a change ~thought it was cool and became Kathi not Kathy, or Kathie just Kathi

Most childhood friends still call me Kathleen

My Mother-in-Law calls me Kathleen

Now here comes the fun part~

When I started teaching nursery school the children had a difficult time saying Kathleen so I then became Miss Kathi

My nieces and nephews call me Aunt Kathi except for John(nephew) who calls me Kath but that is only in the past year or two.

As I walk the streets of my hometown I will run into alumni students, parents who still call me Miss Kathi~now a stranger within ear shot usually does a double take because I who wear jeans, clogs and t-shirts am not the hooker looking type associated with the Ms. in front of her name~LOL

Fifteen years ago Bums and I got married. I was 42 he was 36. My hair was red(natural) with curls galore(hated them,ha)  and I became  Red

When I turned 50 my hair started to turn I am not sure what color but the red was fading and the gray and white was showing. I decided then I would not dye my hair. Why bother I grew up with red hair all my life and it was so naturally streaked from the sun plus my sister became ill and I just did not have the time although she felt I should do it immediately! Ha.  Around this time I became Sunshine.

So Bums is the only one up to two years ago who ever called me Red or Sunshine

Two years ago I reactivated my FB account and never thought about it listing myself as Kathleen

I have met fabulous, fun loving FB people who are now close dear friends.

Here is a list of my FB names:

KB~Linda Lichtman

Sunshine~Bums and some FB friends

Sister of Sunshine~Cheryl Mosley

Kidget~ Sharon Slesinski

KayBee~Linda Lichtman and Sharon Slesinski

Kat~ Georgie Girl

Kath~ Billy/Ruth Smith and nephew John along with a few pony people

When I introduce myself to someone new I usually say Kathleen BUT within seconds most will say oh it was nice to meet you Kathi meaning Kathy (since that is the most common spelling) I, of course, had to be different with the spelling.   Upon offering up my name to a new person they step back when I say Kathleen like it is way to formal or I am a pompous stuck up person or it is my imagination but it is the vibe I get and they usually then call me a mix of all of the above but not Kathleen.

So there you have it.  I answer to all of the above with a ‘smile’ and love my nicknames!!!

Thanks for reading my life waves~Kathleen,Katie,Kath,Kat,Kathi, Miss Kathi, Red, Sunshine, KB, Sister of Sunshine,Kidget,KayBee

Share via a comment some, if any, of your nicknames.

Posted by: Kathleen's Life Waves | September 14, 2010

The Big C is Cause to Live Life for Today Susan’s Cancer Story

A cookie, carrot, car, candy, cucumber, coke, crayon, ok you get the idea that all this could be Big but not as big as being told you have Cancer…sush!! do not say it loud. Do not tell anyone. You hear these stories all the time. Well maybe you don’t.  I, on the  other hand, have heard it, seen it, dealt with it indirectly.

I have been on many car rides or train rides home with friends and a sister, who, after being told to see an oncologist, so right off the bat you defenses go on alert, that my head is spinning so I can only imagine what is going on in theirs.

Do you take an ad out in the local paper, do you post it on your front door, maybe a sticker on your car bumper.  Most I know do exactly nothing for at least two days. They are trying to absorb it but for what outcome. To shield the spouse, children, parents, friends, work colleagues or  to shield the reality within themselves.  They do open up and tell  family and friends within  a few days and secretly hope that those they confide in will spread the word for them as to ease repeating and repeating “I have Cancer”.  In some cases this is good in other cases it can prove stressful.

They went into a Dr.’s  office  and came out with the label of  survivor.  Must have hope, must have faith, must be strong, must beat this beast.

So most cancer patients have to decide next which treatment is right for them. They need to educate themselves best they can and never go to a Dr. alone. Always have someone with you carrying a notebook.  No one can ever remember all the information you are about to receive and keep that notebook as long as you have to.

Chemo or radiation wow which would be more fun.  But for some it is not the path they want or can take.  Are they then not survivors, are they quitters, do they not have hope, not have faith or do they just accept the best way they know how and just deal.

Some go beyond chemo and radiation and enter experimental trial clinics.  Is that suicide? No not if it is what they wanted. And who has the right to judge their decision? No one in my opinion unless, of course, they are extremely irrational about what is happening to them which brings me to my Big point.

My  Big point I have in sharing this story is to be responsible for yourself. I believe everyone at 18  should have a will, a living health directive and be verbal about your life especially if you want certain situations to take place, in case, something were to happen to you and things do and can happen before you are 90.  People die everyday from many different situations,cancer is just one of them and most people do not die from cancer but from what the cancer has done to vital parts of the body.

What can be said to someone with cancer. How to deal with someone with cancer.

Do not keep asking them how they feel. Do not tell them they look great when you and they both know they look like shit. They want you to just be yourself. Not to treat them like a freak show. Do not visit them in the hospital or at their home and then be quiet and just stare and if they are most verbal about not wanting visitors you need to help figure out what is best for all involved.

I have had three friends tell me when I die whatever you do make sure my husband has my casket closed I do not want people staring at me telling all around that I look good.  My reply is did you tell him/them this info and their reply is usually ‘no’ so I have been elected to now deal with the grieving spouse. Not always a good scene. The words of ‘this is not what she would have wanted’ echos in my mind.

Well I have a friend and I decided to share her story. It is time. I have been watching ShowTime’s The Big C with Laura Linney and I am loving it and I am getting vibes from Susan. It is time to tell her story. Since I do not watch TV I think Susan in her magical way is the one who got me to even turn on the TV.

So Susan’s story starts here  she is pregnant and having problems with her husband who decides to walk out.  Susan is a strong woman and with the help of her friends and Mom she will be fine the baby will be fine.  Well that is not how it played out.  Meghan was born May 22, 1984 a healthy beautiful little girl. Susan, on the other hand, was delivered some not so good news. She had ovarian cancer.  How could that be, she just had a baby, was the baby covered in cancer, did the baby have cancer also.  Well four clinics later she was told point-blank that  her the cancer was so advanced that with treatments the best would be 4/5 years. One Dr. the eldest actually hinted she do nothing the outcome would be almost the same.   Time for Grandma Barbara to babysit so Susan and I could go listen to some good music, down a few drinks and talk.  She chose to do nothing. At  age 30 I personally found this a  remarkably courageous and admirable  thing to do. Since no else knew except her Mom and myself it was easy for Susan did not have to deal with stares or comments as to what is wrong with you fight! fight! She did fight she went to four clinics and made a decision.

The next 3/4 years were almost normal (a word I feel is often misused) what is normal?  Susan enjoyed Meghan and her life and channeled out the future. She took care of legal stuff but did not sit counting days or complaining.  Who know anyway when our time could be up. We could get struck with lightning, drown, die in an auto accident have a heart attack. Heck, my best childhood friend was murdered when I was 16. We think we have control of our lives but we waste much of that time controlling it. We should not wait to live our life  we should appreciate and enjoy it each day we wake up. Yes life does get in the way sometimes and we can and do lose sight of that.  If we all knew our fate we would probably hide under rocks or do what so many newly told cancer survivors do. They start living.

Well Susan’s days went into weeks into months into years until year 4. BAM  Her mind was so powerful no one knew she had cancer, she worked, she played, she lived her life with her new baby daughter and her Mom. We even went to The Stone Pony a few times for the music.  She did a joke with me about looking like a bowling ball in her third year but heck I just told her people who do not know will just think you are a  baby making machine. She would laugh.

The Bam 4th. year started off a little rough but Dr.’s have drugs and we were prepared. Well personally I do not think anyone can truly be prepared but we had talked about a plan and I and her Mom were in control of this plan. All kinds of legal papers were taken care of  two months after she gave birth and Tom the husband just stayed on the side lines quiet.

Now it was finally time she told everyone she was sick, well she actually told everyone that she was dying and no one knew what to say or what to do.    She had avoided all this for three  years now the zillion questions the multi zillion cures the billion zillion you should go see so and so or you need to take vitamins and yes all were from concern.  Some people were angry that she had not confided in them sooner. For what to ease their conscience.  The meds worked for the first 6 months than all hell broke loose.  Blockage, dehydration, weakness never once complaining.  We had a system worked out. The new-born was now 4 aware her Mom was ill but the word ill or sick was never used. The word Cancer was.  Mom has cancer. One day she will sleep and God will call her to come live with him up  in the heavens. Heck we Irish with the heavens.  Susan was not sure about the heaven part but I told her that any God who would do this to any women better have his big Golden Gates Open to Welcome Her or have to deal with me. She would laugh so hard then pee the bed.  Oh heck, we come into this world in diapers and most of us will wear them again before we go out. Actually some of my friends wear  them on road trips(just in case) and after the day out with Bums this past Saturday I might be next in line.  I was drinking all day and peeing -I am not one for public restrooms.  I digress …

So Meghan was told that she  can always talk to Mom,  that she will always watch over us always.  A cloud angel. No, we will not see her again but we have pictures and story books all around of fun times together since you were born.

Dr.’s and Drugs kept Susan comfortable and at home where she wanted to be.  I or her Mom read her stories,we would laugh, cry, sing, talk and share our final months together. Painting in bed with a four-year old is some experience actually one that I treasure.

This little girl was losing her Mom. This Mom was losing her only daughter. I was losing a best friend, a concert buddy, a hang out college girlfriend. This girlfriend was losing her life and her daughter.

Susan died a peaceful death with a smile on her face holding the hands of all three of us.  The husband stood in the room with tears flowing. Susan and Tom had worked things out over the years for Meghan’s sake. Two years later Susan’s Mom passed away I swear from a broken heart. The loss of her daughter was too much for her to bear especially when Tom took Meghan to live in CA where we never heard from either of them to this day.  I have often wondered when I see 24/25-year-old girls could they be Meghan.  I never liked Tom it was no secret. I know I know you are not supposed to not like anyone but we all have someone who we just don’t like.  He was sneaky, I was never into sneaky.  I shoot from the hip, always have and always will. He probably felt he would punish Barbara and myself by taking Meghan away.  In my heart I feel Susan has watched  over Meghan. Tom would never hurt Meghan but this was his way of being in control. Insecure people need to feel in control of  things. He will not die a peaceful death when his time comes because he knew Susan would strongly disapprove of him keeping Meghan away from Barbara or myself.  I remember talking to my Mom after Susan died.  Maybe I should try to take Meghan away from Tom but two family lawyer friends said the courts would never rule in my favor it could be a mess in the courts and very unsettling for Meghan unless I had proof that he would harm her and in my heart I know he never would do such a thing.

RIP Susan 1989         RIP Barbara 1992

This blog is Dedicated to Meghan.   If you are out there, somewhere, reading this, I loved your Mom, and she loved you so much. I can only hope that all the books we put together for you during your first four  years your Dad shared with you.  My  heart tells me that he did the right thing once in his life for your sake. As for your Mom well we had one hell of a good time at concerts and classes at NYU. We shard a friendship of fun times together that I will treasure always. Mom and Your Grandma Barbara are  watching over you all these years until you meet again.      Peace and ♥

Posted by: Kathleen's Life Waves | September 9, 2010

Autumn/Fall = Mold/Mess A Season I can live without

A few weeks ago a friend posted a remark about hating Fall.  I found this strange because she lives in CA and well I think of CA as sunny, warm, with colorful plant life year round  and swells along the Pacific Beaches to die for.

I remarked how I also disliked Fall probably because I love Summer so much and have to close the pool and  thankfully the beach is never closed.  September is the most beautiful of months to me but everyone keeps telling me it is Fall and  well I live in my own little world and October and November are Fall to me and I still dislike them.    I am outside almost everyday in the Summer walking, biking, gardening, swimming, riding waves at the beach, picnics, festivals, music clubs.  Then everything comes to a creepy close and I begin to suffocate.  Even the colorful garden that I worked on since April starts to die, the trees make up for that for they do produce magnificent color and when reflected off the lake it is beautiful from the window for all of two weeks then the Fall Mold and Mess takes over. You rake and the Autumn wind blows them back at ya. Even as a kid my Dad would rake the leaves to the  curb  and the kids in the neighborhood would dive into them. The only diving I wanted to do was back in the pool which was closed.  In grammar school I once wrote that Fall should fall away and I went to Catholic School the nuns had no sense of humor.  I know this was just wishful thinking but I wanted to stay on the beach. So my hating Fall started in my youth.   Time changes, it gets dark so early.  When I was teaching I would get up in the dark and return home in the dark.  Very depressing, I am Sunshine!! I need some daylight.  I am no vampire but would do anything to be in NOLA for Halloween.

So Fall is coming and I live among  acres of dead trees with limbs creaking scary in the night looking like they are going to swing down and grab you with their long bony  branch like fingers perfect for yes Halloween. Then the turkeys seem to appear ,what fools are they, ‘stay away’ I yell from the window but they start running all over the yard   Thankfully we do not hunt and I do not eat meat so they are safe here unless one big ass bird flies into your car.  Now the biggest reason Fall and I do not get along is allergies, I look tired all the time, my eyes tear,they  become the size of golf balls and  I feel like someone took two knives and stuck them up my nose and I cannot breathe.   My ever-loving husband has no concept of allergies he wants the windows open to let in that rustled  sound that the leaves make swirling on the ground along with the cool night breeze. If I am going to let any breeze come in my window my choice would be Drew Brees. So while  I prefer the A/C what a waste of money says he so open the window and I will become unstable, cranky and bitchy. Each year for 15 years I have to make this point so yes I commit suicide and open the window just a crack and in the morning he looks at me and says WoW what happened to your eyes and I say YOU and the Autumn happened to my eyes.  Windows are now shut again but the damage is done.  I need to go to the beach where there are no trees and I can breathe in some fresh salt sea air but the closest I get is the downstairs freezer to stick in my head for a few minutes of relief.

If that is not enough reason to hate the Fall then YOU are on the drugs that I refuse to take that make you hyper , cranky or dizzy.  I live with my neti pot and ice bag and if I stay inside I need nothing.  So like a bear I start to hibernate and come out once it is cold and welcome Winter but that is another Season.  One last big question that has always puzzled me,  why does Fall/Autumn get two names??   Which is it Fall or Autumn?

I hope your Autumn Life Waves bring you fun school days,  apples from the orchard, hay rides, pumpkins from the patch, vampires of the night and a stuffed turkey with cranberries.   PEACE

Posted by: Kathleen's Life Waves | September 6, 2010

Life Waves Blog: The Summer That Changed my LIFE The Summer of ’69

The Summer of 69 proved to be a turning point in my life at the age of 15.  The events of 69 are not exactly as they happened in time.  I remember I was looking forward to the Summer of 69 for it was going to be filled with exciting events such as: Man walks on the Moon, Hippies, Woodstock, Music from Those Jersey Shore Guys from the Garage near Cousin Brian’s, Belmar Beach Waves and of course Joey.

We did not head South down the NJ Parkway to Exit 98 when school ended instead we drove to a cemetery to bury  a childhood friend who was murdered in AZ.  Freddy was a true Hippie, he did not want to go to Vietnam but his parents did not want him to go to Canada so he decided that before he went to War (he knew he would never come back alive) he was going to CA.  Growing up that is all he talked about–going out to CA with his guitar and drums to hang with some friends, jam some tunes, live in peace. Well he went for his physical came home and packed his car…Drove off to CA to meet up with Ron. Called everyday until the day  THE CALL came.  He had met someone who wanted to share a ride to CA.  He was in AZ told not to take anyone along he would be in CA in one more day.  Well he did not listen for he was so trusting not knowing that this animal person he let into his car would beat him to death and leave him along side the road of an Indian Reservation.

Because of the heat he was almost unrecognizable but thankfully an Indian riding horseback saw something(Freddy).

I am now attending my first wake, funeral, exposure to loss/death.  It is not until my 20’s that I realize that we all die in many different ways. Murder, Accident, Age, Illness. I loved psychology and spent years dealing with death. I do not understand why anyone has to suffer in illness, age, murder,accident,etc.  Why can’t we all just go to sleep one night and not wake up??? What difference would it make?  We are never prepared anyway and it is human nature to question and there are no answers.  I digress as usual back to how I viewed the loss of Freddy.

The church I remember nothing of…but as they lowered Freddy into his final resting place there was the most beautiful tree where the birds would sing to him in the Spring, which would shade him in the hot Summers, where he could play his guitar and drums, where the Autumn leaves would cover him like a tie dyed blanket before the winter snow.  He was my best older childhood big brother who taught me how to play a few notes on the guitar, who introduced me to a world of peace and music. How dare this happen I wanted to scream, I wanted to I do not know but I knew I felt angry.  Yet it was his peace that has stayed within my soul.  I was around 21 when I sat one day with my Gram on our front porch and realized how this had affected not just his family but mine also. I felt the change, I saw the hurt, I felt the loss of the most free-spirited person I had ever known who longed to go to Woodstock.

Things were unsettling for a while.  We were all told to go ‘play’ like  hello at 15 we did not play but I remember all the parents seemed strange so I longed to see Joey and the beach where I felt safe and freedom in the ocean.  Finally we are in Belmar but wait Belmar seemed to have changed also. There were more people, more young people around and I was liking this.  Joey and I were allowed to go to the beach by ourselves since we knew Dennis the Lifeguard.  I really did not talk to Joey about Freddy  because all the adults seemed to be quiet and I thought that was what you were suppose to do be quiet. My Gram mentioned the word Respect a few times but I did not understand why at the time.  I just know it was great being back at the beach I would jump waves for hours each day not realizing again until I was in my 20’s that I was trying to wash away my hurt, my loss, my anger.

The Rooming House also had an interesting change.  The common room had an addition of a TV. Now I was way curious how that was going to work with 20+ people yet I do remember every single one of us sat in silence to watch the Moon Walk. That day all the older people took naps which Joey should have done for he kept falling asleep and I kept pushing into him to wake  him up because I knew he wanted to see the Moon Walk  and would feel like a fool the next day if he had missed it.

For the first time that I could ever remember we were going home for a few days something my parents had to with reference to Freddy.  This was also the week of Woodstock and I really wanted to go. I wanted to go for the music.  I wanted to go for me.  I wanted to go for Freddy.  But at 15 my parents were not listening and it was not even allowed as a subject for discussion so I ran away to our detached garage.  I stayed there for three days not realizing that my Mom was watching me from the kitchen window. My Mom was cool she never said anything I would sneak into the house to use the bathroom when she went to the basement to do laundry. It was not until the third day that a bag of food was left outside the garage door.

My Gram stayed in Belmar that week and I was ever so thrilled to be back in Belmar again.  I remember not knowing how I felt about anything and it seemed Joey did not understand but he told me of something happening in Long Branch so we convinced my Gram and off we went to Long Branch to hear The Guys who played in the garage on 10th. Avenue Freeze Out.  I was loving the music these guys were playing and it is just amazing to realize that to this day I still listen to their music and have been lucky to run into them on and off for years.

Well this was my Summer of growing up.

My Gram explained it best to me. We are all here living our lives and always its best to appreciate each day, do your very best, have no regrets, remember those who love you and tell them  for we never have control as to when our living will come to an end.

What came to an end the Summer of 69 was my childhood for I grew up.  It was also the last Summer I saw Joey for he started working at Yankee Stadium the next Summer. My Gram well her arthritis got so bad that Winter that going to Belmar became difficult in the 70’s and she passed in 72′.

Some of the best waves came in that August of 69 and Joey and I rode them like they were our last not even knowing that they were until this Summer of 2011 when I rode in some waves in honor of Joey my forever Beach Bum Buddy.  RIP Joey July 2009     RIP Freddy June 1969    RIP Gram 1972

Today when I ride the waves I am never alone. I know Joey is alongside me and that Gram and Freddy are watching over me.

Thank you  for reading and riding my life waves along with me during the 60’s.

My Life Waves Blog will continue as I share with you some of my daily life waves so hold on some are wipe outs. Others are the highs and lows of life.

Remember the PEACE  and  you will always have great  MOJO

Welcome back  to 1968 and garage bands. Garage Bands were the thing back in my hometown of Maplewood, NJ they were also big in Belmar and Asbury Park, NJ.

Joey and I are now 14 and allowed to wander a little more on our own yet as kids we stretch that wandering a bit to far. Come along on this life wave:

Everyone has someone in their family that they call Aunt,Cousin even when there is no blood connection it is usually because they are some close family friend as is the case here. Aunt Diane moved to Belmar from Millburn and she had a son who, like Frankie and Johnny, was a little on the wild side and if you remember Joey and I (being the eldest we were more on the quiet side but most interested in the adventure).

In the evenings Joey and I were allowed to walk the boardwalk  and Gram could see the boardwalk from the front porch. The Belmar boardwalk in ’68 had an ice cream shop at 16 Ave with a mini golf and if you walked toward Avon there were two Pavilions one at 13 and one at 5 (Taylor Pavilion) their might have been one at 8 but I do not remember(menopause moment) but across the street on 13 was an arcade where we would go to play skee ball.

Joey and I wave to Gram from the boardwalk as she is rocking away on the porch and chatting up a storm with Joey’s Grandparents.  What Gram did not know was  that when we got to around 9th. we crossed Ocean Avenue and walked to 10th. to the garage of Aunt Diane where  everyone would be hanging out.  This one night  everyone was just sitting, talking, reading waiting for to see what other freinds where doing when  we go down the block to hang with some new friends .  Little do we know that Aunt Diane  is calling Gram to tell her we got there ok. “Oh!!  so they decided to visit you thanks for letting me know” and even though we are not supposed to be there at all we fessed up ‘on our own’ when we returned. My Gram was cool about stuff like that explaining the dangers in going somewhere where no one knows you are.  She always instilled to tell the truth and hopefully also learn a lesson each day which is a motto I carried over to my Creative Playgroup-Little Creations  “Each Day is a learning Experience”.

Now Back to the garage!!!! ….These kids are older and way cool. I kind of felt like Gidget falling for Moon Doggie. Some had that surfer/beach bum look and tan plus they  were just dreamy(I cannot believe I am telling you this).  The coolest thing about me was my surfers cross, ha.  As for Joey he was a  guy what did they know about cool back in the 60’s.  A bunch of people hanging in a garage playing music, talking. Now Joey and I were told never to go to into any garages but well we figured since our friend knew them and we could see Aunt Diane rocking away on her porch chatting with some lady so our way of thinking made sense it was not like we happened upon the place by ourselves.  The was lots going on. Talking, guitar playing, more guitar playing, drummer was working something out with another guy  but the big chatting group was talking  about Asbury Park and what time the bus runs, playing music on and off.

We hang out for a while but realize we best be on our way back  to the house where Gram is with her tea and cookies still rocking on the front porch chatting away with Joey’s Grandparents.

A few days pass and we are doing our usual bike rides, hang at the beach stuff until this one overcast day we decide to go to the movies.

Now this is the honest to goodness truth!!!  We truly planned on going to the movies but somehow as we were walking along the bus to Asbury Park pulled up and like magic we both got on it. We were used to being on the bus with Gram but never alone.  The bus dropped us off at the Orange Howard Johnson’s Pavilion and we walked the boardwalk for the first time with no grandparents, parents, siblings and it was a FREEDOM  neither of us felt or experienced before. We were loving this!!   We purchased one ticket each and rode our favorite tilt-a-whirl ride and the more I think of it I am sure Joey loved this ride only because it  forced him into me  squashing me to death but each time we rode this ride we laughed so hard and our laughs were so pure and innocent.

At the candy shop we bought some licorice laces, ate some and wanted some to braid  into bracelets. We walked across Kingsley to the Palace Arcade where the huge ferris wheel stuck out of the middle of the building with its big bright-colored box like cage cars each imprinted with the name of a Jersey town. This building is also known  for it huge “Happy Face” Tillie. Weird kid ,was I, for I also hated CLOWNS, now some call Tillie a clown, my Gram told me he was a ‘funny face’ painted by a local man and had some connection to the Coney Island George Tilyou face. There was also a similar face in Atlantic City, NJ.  This Tillie brought much news to Asbury Park in the late 80’s early 90’s when the City went to HELL with contractors promising wonders. I am not going to get into the political bullshit and corruption that went on in Asbury since I was old enough to understand what my Gram had told me about it all starting in the 70’s.  Hence there was this massive wave that came in with the Save Tillie Group.

Back to our wave.  Joey wanted to go on this ferris wheel so bad and I point-blank lied to him all the while promising we would the next time when in my heart I knew I would NEVER go on that ferris wheel that swung and reached up to the heavens. We went into The Tunnel of Love rode The Swiss Bob and played a Fortune Teller Game.  I loved the mystical face on the Fortune Teller more than the fortune.

I am now braiding licorice laces while we waited to get on the carousel.  There was a carousel across the street at the Casino Building but THIS was the carousel you rode if you wanted to grab the brass ring and for that you had to wait sometimes  because you just had to have  a horse on the outside so you could grab for the ring or the man sitting by the ring machine would yell at you.

Now remember we are 14 years old kids with no concept of time until we hear someone mention dinner and we look at each other in sheer horror  and decide to head back to the bus stop. As we are crossing Wesley to head towards the boardwalk we hear loud laughter and  Blinded by the Sunlight we look back at the carousel and who is riding the outside horse reaching for the brass ring…that guy  and those guys from the garage on 10th. Avenue.  This meant nothing to Joey and I at the time for they were guys we listened to, with my not blood cousin, in a garage in Belmar on 10th. Avenue and it was not a freeze out until the  Summer of ’69 when we knew him as Bruce.

No names were changed or altered some we just plain left out.

Come along on my next life wave  which comes crashing down on me, 1969, murder,Vietnam, Woodstock, Run Away

Posted by: Kathleen's Life Waves | July 12, 2010

Kathleen’s Life Waves Blog: Fourth of July Accident

Kathleen’s Life Waves Blog:  Fourth of July Accident

Memorial Day Weekend 2010 I started writing about my Summer’s in the 60’s along the Jersey Shore  in the beach towns of Belmar and Asbury Park mainly because they were great times and still remain close to my heart.

Also as the years passed I realized I learned something from each of those Summers that makes me smile.

This blog brings us to 1966  a few days after the Fourth of July.  Joey and I are on the front porch when we see these two boys walking towards the beach, boogie boards in tow.  We have seem them before, they are about our age, so we walk down from the porch to talk to them.  Welcome Frankie and Johnny, yes, Frankie and Johnny are brothers who live in Belmar year round and attend St. Rose’s School.  Like magic my Gram  appears in the doorway inquiring who these boys are???   They introduce themselves and later that day we all meet at the beach.  Gram meets their Mom and everything is good or so we think…….

Now Joey and I were on the quite side (Surprised??) HA!  but Frankie and Johnny were wild and Joey and I  were liking that:)    One night we left our rooms via the back staircase and went off to Spring Lake where we untied a few of the row boats so that in the morning they were all in the center of the lake.

This news made the front page of the tiny town paper where, need I remind you, the owner of the Rooming House we lived was the publisher and Mayor !!!  then as my Gram sat and read that paper the week after we did this horrible, terrible, nasty  delinquent thing her remark was” now who would do such a thing?!?!?!”    I think I was around 18 when I fessed up.

Next event was going to Frankie and Johnny’s house one afternoon.   Down in the basement they were working on a project what did that mean? something for school, camp?? we had no clue. Well it turned out that Johnny had a firecracker(Cherry Bomb) now I hate fireworks!!!  cannot stand the sound!! I think of Anne Frank and bombs-do not ask me to explain other than I loved history as a kid and read many history books.   I hated the Fourth of July, not the Independence part, the  Fireworks part.

Well I wanted out of that basement and I know Joey left with me even though I do not remember if he really wanted to stay, something about boys and fireworks!!!  All I can say is it was a good thing we left.

A few days passed and we did not see Frankie or Johnny.  Even my Gram asked where they were, it has been raining so we were not on the beach or boardwalk  to ask anyone.

A few more rainy days pass until we awake to a glorious morning of ‘Sunshine’  so back to the beach we go  to hear the news that Johnny had an accident with the fireworks and lost two fingers.  Both boys were fine but could not come to the beach because of the surgery but also because they were being punished by their parents.   Now I did not like fireworks before this event and to this day I still do not like fireworks.

I am happy to watch them on TV or from afar.   I do  appreciate the colors, designs, as long as I do not have to hear them!

Each year since moving to PA my brother-in-law loves to do a July  Fireworks show over Rickard’s Lake.  I HATE going for I re live that Belmar experience for  my mind is most creative and can  visualize his fingers flying thru the air.  Plus I hate the sound and all the bugs find ME so I learned to say NO I am staying home with the dog, a good book and a drink!

Happy Post Fourth of July   2010

Come ride the next wave into Asbury Park and meet Bruce  — you are not going to ask Bruce who? are you?

A few times each Summer we would spend nights  in Asbury Park for dinner and walk on the boardwalk. The Boardwalk has two magnificent buildings at either end.  The Southern end of the boardwalk stands the Casino Building which stretched out over the beach yet on the road side were  these unique patina colored oval sun shaped glass entrance ways to the carousel while the Northern end stands the Convention Hall/Paramount Theatre which also stretched out over the beach to the jetties. The Hall had huge rocking chairs along the beach side so you could sit and watch the ocean or listen to music especially in the evenings when bands would play. Some evenings or Sunday afternoons my Gram and I would go just to sit on those rocking chairs and listen to the bands and , of course, have a treat.   Both Buildings had/have  magnificent marble floored open arcades to walk thru.  There was also the Palace Arcade on Wesley Lake with its big funny face Tillie, fabulous Carousel and ring grab, Ferris Wheel, Tunnel of Love Fun House, and  Olympic Bob Ride one of my favorites that I rode at least once a week each Summer until 1987.

The Asbury Park Boardwalk was loaded with rides, arcades, mini golf, candy shops, souvenir/gift shops and Fortune Tellers(well one: Madame Marie) who my Gram made me promise never to go in. I never have but I know many friends who have looked into that crystal ball.

Now for dinner we are walking thru the Casino Building Arcade pass the bumper cars, Mr Peanut Stand, Fun House,  to the other side  which boarders the town of  Ocean Grove. Dinner will be at The Homestead.  I love this place because you sit out overlooking the ocean and we  never eat desert here because the Boardwalk is loaded with treats: lollipops, cotton candy, pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, ice, ice cream, taffy, chocolate, fudge and licorice laces and candy apples.

My Grams favorite treat was dark chocolate peppermint patty or an orange/vanilla cone.  Joey liked ice cream almost any flavor and he made sure each time he had ice cream anywhere in the Summer he would never have the same flavor(he started this at around age 9).  Now I liked Ice: lemon, cherry, watermelon, raspberry blue.  Candy was not a big thing for either of us yet we loved to watch the guy in the big window at Criterion, Candies of Distinction, making the taffy with large paddles and what looked like a big old washing machine. We would walk the boardwalk and take in the sights, sounds and smells.

These adventures to Asbury Park  included Gram, myself, Joey and his grandparents, Mary and Joe.  Joey and I were allowed to go on a few rides.  Now I have never been Twiggy but Joey was a big kid and no matter what ride we went on he crushed the crap out of me.  We would laugh so hard on some rides.  We loved  The Round Up, The Whip, The Bob Sled, Tilt a Whirl.  I liked fast rides never anything that was high and slow like the dreaded  Ferris Wheel or the Ski Chairs overhead.  Anything that could swing I wanted no part of and yes these were favorites of Joey.  I think it was around ’67 when Joey finally convinced me to go on the Ferris Wheel.  I agreed if he totally promised not to make it swing and he swore, he swore on everyone and everything and well what an idiot I was to believe him. He rocked that  chair back and forth and my shoe fell off and I was crying and yelling at the guy that I wanted to get off but we kept going around-it seemed  liked a lifetime. To this day I can remember that feeling, I never have been able to conquer the fear of the Ferris Wheel and @56 I really do not give a damn.


Posted by: Kathleen's Life Waves | June 29, 2010

A Final Wave Together

June 2010 and I find myself back at the Jersey shore where I first saw waves in the 50’s.  I have not seen Joey since the 70’s. He shipped out and I went off to college and work.  I learned young not to put off what I can do today for tomorrow may never come yet I always thought I would see Joey again.  I searched, I googled, Nothing!!! This past May I decided to start my Life Waves Blog. My childhood Summers were always so wonderful and when things get tough those memories always pull me thru.  Almost anything with my Gram is a sure fix also!! add Joey, a Summer friend, to the mix and well life was just so awesome especially in the Summer.   After my first four blogs I was now really determined to find Joey and someone had given me a lead to the Navel Academy.  Sadly Joey passed away last July 2009, unexpected, sudden I was told from a Navy buddy.  I cried waves of tears that flowed into such a high tide.  Then my best girlfriend, Terri, lost her job, it was a horrible job anyway and she was looking and worked for a Witch when I got this Fabulous idea to go to the beach for a few days.  It would be great for both of us to spend time together since we always planned on going somewhere when we turned 50. Well my sister became ill and five years later she passed away. Now it might be good for us to go somewhere to chill but Terri’s Mom got ill and just passed away. So now at 56 we are off, not for our big adventure, but just to get away.  She is the girlfriend I just share everything with. That treasure in life that makes it all right.  We always have each others back.

Terri loves the beach and someone was watching over us because the weather and the water could not have been better.  Terri sat and watched me (she does not go  in water over her ankles) as  I entered the ocean where the high tide waves washed away my tears for Joey which freed me to start  jumping and diving into the  waves.   I felt refreshed and renewed the tears will still flow for Joey, actually they are as I write this but they are good tears. I believe that Joey is closer to me now watching and guiding over what I write about our Summers together. He was right there with me jumping those waves just like we did back in the 60’s.  Joey is along for this blog ride and Joey will forever be my Beach Bum Buddy.

RIP  Joey     at  home in the ocean you so loved.

Posted by: Kathleen's Life Waves | June 3, 2010

Beach Days: Jelly Fish, Skim Boards, Sea Glass

Well you have met Joey and  by now realize that  we hung out all the time together.   We fished, we swam, we had skim boards, boogie boards,  surfed on Dennis’s board (he was the Yummy lifeguard who all the girls would swoon over) but I knew him and it was so different I did not hang all over or around him and felt so grown up because of this.   I liked being with boys. The girls never did anything plus they  never wanted to get wet or exert themselves in any way they just wanted to tan all day.   The boys were always busy exploring and how interesting that I still continue to explore and realize that I  told my students and their parents to explore and discover for each day  is a new learning experience which  I never thought of that until now as I am typing that childhood theory stayed with me all these years.

Joey and I would go and look for that perfect spot and lots depended on the TIDE.  I just loved the tide charts. High tide, Low tide(my favorite). I drove some of the people at the house crazy I was always asking for the paper to check the tide charts then realized the lifeguard stand started to post it,  way cool!! I would set my beach day around the tide. I am  no longer two minutes from the beach more like two hours so weather and  tide are checked now.  As I got older and walked  the beaches the tides represented the highs and lows in life.  I could work anything out in my mind if I could walk the beach. The tides would come gather my thoughts and release ideas, theories, situations with each braking wave of foam.  It was like therapy…it worked..I solved a lot of situations walking the beach.

So Joey and I  would set up blankets, chairs, umbrellas,rafts and coolers.  We did not need to bring much to the beach because the house was a few steps away and we ate lunch at home but sometimes we  made sandwiches which we  brought back.

By  15 Joey and I were allowed to go to the beach alone.  Sometimes we did and sometimes we  got sidetracked………………..

One day Joey and I were off the jetties snorkeling and there was a shark so the story is that my Mom came running to the beach to find us this time she did one other time  she did not find us and WOW that was not good.  We were punished for two days which seemed like a lifetime(another blog).

One weekend all our families were together and we just had a blast beach day.  I had a cold lemonade  with ice  that we would make in the morning after breakfast. Joey thinking he would be funny  put a tiny round jelly fish into my cup. Well, oh yes, I drank it, and had nightmares for weeks thinking this creature was growing in my stomach or worst that I was going to see it when I used the bathroom. I welcomed ‘Neither Thought’ and for the first time did not talk to Joey for two whole days.

We never did get into that bury your body in sand thing..but I was always looking for treasures on the beach.  I would search out shells to paint and sea glass…..sea glass became a daily quest for me.

As we got older we no longer took naps after lunch because we knew we would not drown like we were told when we were little, ha.  now we were told we could have terrible  stomach pain if we went into the water after lunch which we believed in our early teen years  so I opted for long walks….Grams would come with me sometimes but she did not want to walk as far a I and Joey was bored with walking in  search of anything unless is was alive.

My quest was for sea glass.  I loved the colors, I loved the sparkle, the texture, the awesome shapes no two alike, I loved the fact the sea created this artwork from glass we threw in the trash(since recycling was not heard of in the 60’s) all this started probably around the age of 6 until present.  If you come to the beach with me today it is rare that I will sit with you, no offense, I prefer to walk hoping I befall a treasure of sea glass for you see that is how the story was told to me by my Grams.

Never, Never go looking for sea glass. It will come, it is a treasure that will befall you.  Joey used to laugh at this but I loved the theory so bucket in hand I went walking sometimes all the way to the next beach town of Spring Lake. And damn well Grams was right I have found the most beautiful cobalt blue, red and turquoise glass when I am not expecting or looking and these are rare finds on the Jersey Shore.   When I walk the beach today which is rare I feel like I am cheating nature, my Grams and myself, for I search it out because my visit it so short.

I still have some of my sea glass on my desk and in my kitchen window.   Thanks for viewing if you have the opportunity to walk the beach do so for me.  xoxo

Come back and see if the tides turn towards some Asbury Park visits.

Posted by: Kathleen's Life Waves | June 2, 2010

Summer Activities

It is a miracle that in three days, just three days, everyone changes their personalities, we all become free. My Gram says is comes from the salt water and the  ocean air.  Grams has lots of theories…Irish tales…and as a kid I just loved them, treasure them now, but  embraced them for  they fueled my imagination all the more and I have some imagination.  Grams is rocking on the big front porch one short block from the ocean. My Mom is off reading in the common room.  My Dad has left for home he will return on the weekend, but not every weekend because he really does not like the beach and there is no TV here and he has to go to work.  My Dad lives for the boardwalk with games and rides so we know when he comes back we are heading off to Asbury Park,YEA!  because Belmar does not have a big boardwalk like Asbury Park but little does he know sometimes Grams and I sneak off to Asbury Park via train or bus, but that is a secret for another blog.

Belmar has a boardwalk starts north a the Shark River Inlet and ends at Spring Lake.  Down on 5th Ave there was a Pavilion where a band played  music and people dance and kids like us would  go under the boardwalk and laugh at them dancing….they all had  on big shoes what is with the big shoes? and the makeup didn’t anyone tell them this is the beach but I guess it is ok because it is nighttime and they are having fun spinning each other around and around and the smell of perfume even in the ocean air would kill you.   Now on the boardwalk right near us on 16th. is a mini golf where Joey and I would  go in the evening, after dinner,  and the  sea mist would hit  your sunburned body and you are dressed liked an Eskimo because you are freezing because once again  you did not put on enough sun lotion actually opted instead for the oil/iodine mix you prepared on the sly in the bathroom the day before. Joey and I spent a lot of time playing mini golf, until we got into trouble but that also is another blog.   Across from the boardwalk on 14th was an arcade and skee ball was my favorite.  We were given a roll of quarters each Summer and that was supposed to last but  of course it did not make it last past the first week. Grams always kept a secret stash in her room which carried us through the Summer.

Life was simple, I  rode my  bike everywhere, I had a huge basket on my bike to carry things home from the store. I got paid a dime to go get the newspapers especially on rainy days.  I loved riding my bike in the rain as long as it was warm and not storm like.   I read books, played board games, sat on the porch and made fun of people walking by(I admit it) I did not yell out or anything and no one could hear us but we just sat there looking at people walking up to the boardwalk and laughed at them, their hair, their clothes, hell we were kids  oh my get a life will ya! and every day we were on the beach doing most of the same things, reading, walking, skim boarding, crabbing.   I loved my Summer Beach Days.   next blog is the Summer Rooming House

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