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

The Summer Rooming House

As you drove into Belmar  on 16th.Ave  you would see the ocean sparkling in front of you when I was really young I would insist that is touched the sky!!  To your right one short block from that sparkling blue sea on A St  were  two huge Red Barn like buildings which are still there today.  I think they might have been converted into apts? I really do not know but as I write this it peaks my interest so Mojo, my English Bulldog, and I will just have to take a ride down to Belmar soon. This is where I spent 16 years of Summers with my Grams.

The Mayor of the town owed these two houses he lived in one with his family and guests with no kids, hint!! Smart Man.  Each house had three floors, no elevators, no A/C, no TV, no indoor showers, yes you did read it correctly the showers were outside. The four outside showers were private with doors thank god for it was bad enough you had to hang your clothes especially your privates out there on a line to dry and I saw some really scary privates back when I was a kid hanging laundry!!   After the beach I loved taking outdoor showers but on a nasty rainy day or in the evening if we were going out I wanted to do one of those go to the bathroom use a wash cloth like old people do, you know what I mean, they go every Friday to get their hair turned into blue curls and did not shower half of the week they just sprayed themselves with perfume. Maybe that is why we are having water problems today we shower at least three times a day in the Summer Months.  Well as usual I digress so back to the showers they  had no lights and I remember them being dark and I always wore my flips because I guess even back then I was a germ a fob. There  were two staircases one  in the front and  one in rear of each house which  led to narrow hallways with bedrooms on one side and lavatories on the other except for one room in the front of the house and guess who got that room? Bingo Grams!! she had her own sink and toilet, WoW and I got to use it which was totally cool also because if you had to use the bathroom is was proper to use the one on your floor and most of  the older people were on the first  floor but some spent so much time in the bathroom some would have to hike up to the second floor to use a bathroom less there would be a problem and as a kid I could never understand what they did in there , I was in and out like a whipper snapper.  When we were really little we stayed on the second floor then graduated up to the third floor which was very, very COOl  because as each year passed Everyone got older and some could not longer do the third floor 16 times a day like we could which make it great for escapes in the evenings down the back staircase and off to Spring Lake which was a few blocks away and there was no view of the back door from the front porch. How Wonderful!!  The bedrooms were small but we were not in our rooms much anyway.  At night I could sit on the edge of my bed and watch the stars over the ocean sky.  On stormy nights I could watch the lightning dance across the ocean which was scary at times but I could also appreciate the beauty of nature.  I was a wacky kid I could always see the beauty in nature which I usually reserved for older people but as I type this I am realizing I got that from Grams. And the Moon I was IN LOVE with the many shadows so many shapes…..sometimes you wanted to reach out from that third floor window other times it looked mean and you wanted to hide under your covers.    I would also  watch the boat lights on the ocean at night and I loved the sound of the ocean waves.  I have never understood anyone who finds the sound of  the ocean bothering. Plus from the third floor I could see the sections of the boardwalk which I liked.  Sometimes Joey (he is coming up) and I would play floor games in our room because the porch was windy being a short block away from the beach.  We played Monopoly the most, Risk, Scrabble, and some card games.    The rooms were plain, a simple bed, dresser, chair.  I loved the smell of this old house with its carpeted floors so you would not wake anyone when you were in the hallway which came in handy as I already mentioned as we got older and needed a little more extra fun.  The main floor was a common room with sofa, chairs and it seemed like tons of newspapers that the men read every single day page to page all day. I do not think any of the men ever came to the beach.    There was no tv remember and then the huge porch loaded with rockers…maybe about 20 rockers.  But the coolest floor was the downstairs, it was the common dining room with individual tables and private cupboards, and then the Massive kitchen with its wall of stoves, walls of sinks and its wall of morgue like refrigerators/freezers.  Now on any given night there could be at least 3 families down there.  Cooking, eating, etc. but the downstairs WAS ONLY for that purpose and once meals were done, things cleaned up everyone went to the porch.  Few went to their rooms except after lunch because if you went back to the beach we were told we would drown, so dumb that we were we listened and napped then ran back to the beach from 2-4  for some afternoon fun.  Our beach days are coming up next…
By now you are probably wondering who the we are  or who Joey is well people came and went each year but there was this one family a Grandmother, Grandfather and grandson, Joey.  Joey and I were the best of friends.  We became pen pals during the school year and I remember crying one year when we were driving away because it was so much fun to be there but I did not let on in the back seat.

Joey’s grandparents lived in the Bronx and he lived in Massapequa Long Island that is about all I remember. I remember his Dad was a member of the police Dept.,  a detective,  and his mom, Frances, an older cool hippie sister, Susan, a brother Michael and a baby sister Donna. They were HUGE Yankee fans.  His Dad worked the Yankee games for extra income and I know when we got older and we  no longer went to Belmar because both our Grams just could not travel anymore Joey worked at Yankee Stadium himself and loved selling programs, popcorn I remember him writing me and saying he would sell Shit as long as he got to go to the games.

Joey and I shared some fun times in Belmar. Tune in for some of our adventures. We were devils in disguise…..but good.



  1. -What happened to Joey?
    -What were those private parts you noticed
    -I love when you talk about your love of nature and how you remember the stars and all the details. I just loving this – you’re giving me a side of life I never experienced…I want to read it and see it…xoxoxox

  2. Oh Linda Linda, No they were not Joey’s private parts,ha. I have been searching for Joey since 1980 I have no idea until this past Memorial Day Weekend I met this Army Guy who told me how to contact the Maritime which is where I know Joey enlisted around 75. I also know his entire family died..very very strange he had two sisters and one brother and all died of cancer very surreal. As for nature I got that from my Grandmother. She appreciated all outdoor life and took notice of it publicity when others would look at her with a ? in their eye. Like the swan on the lake, or the size of the moon.
    Thank you so much for reading my little stories I am working on one now. I love sharing them with you. Hugs, xoxo

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