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Wild Memories

Can you believe it? The summer is almost over, and it seems like it just started. This summer will be memorable, but mostly for the wrong reasons. Thankfully, I have many years of great memories of summers spent in Wildwood and the Wildwood Villas.

As far back as I can remember, Wildwood was a summer getaway for our family. We loved Wildwood, so it wasn’t a surprise when I returned after four years in the Air Force and found that the family had two new additions. The first was a small toy poodle that my mom named Cindy, and the second was a small house in the Wildwood Villas.

The Villas, as we called it, is located on the Delaware Bay just north of Cape May. It is an easy ride to Wildwood and the fun of the beaches, boardwalk, and fishing in the ocean or bay. It’s close to Cape May with its historic quaintness and lovely beaches. I know this sounds like a travelogue, but the truth is, remembering my days spent in that tiny house always makes me smile.

One of my first writing projects came from a small nautical store, The Rigging Loft, located on Fisherman’s Wharf in Cape May. It was titled Whaling in Cape May and the Delaware Bay. I learned that Cape May owes its existence to New England whalers chasing whales down the coast. Cape May was the perfect layover for the weary men. Wildwood Villas owes its existence mainly to people from North Philly, and especially Kensington.

The Villas was Kensington with grass, so to speak. It was a great place to escape the hot bricks and cement of the big city in the summer. More importantly, the homes were inexpensive. It didn’t take long before my mother’s best friend Agnes and her two daughters relocated to the Villas permanently. This was a bonus because they were as close as family to us.

I can still see my grandfather flaying flounders he caught in the bay, my mother and friends soaking their feet in cold water to stay cool, and my mother’s toy poodle Cindy rollicking on the grass. The image of our Villas neighbor May standing in the middle of the street howling at the full moon is indelibly imprinted in my mind. May was an incredibly funny lady. When I would visit with my small children, May would partially push out her false teeth, making them flee in horror. All in fun, of course.

My mind conjures up images of my mom frolicking in the ocean or visiting her favorite Christmas store in the summer, playing badminton, one of my grandmother’s rare visits, and my niece, nephew, daughter, son, and other family members enjoying the Wildwood Villas and the wonders of Wildwood.

I moved to Atlanta, GA, in 1982, and my visits to the fabled land of the Jersey Shore became infrequent, but when I yearn for some pleasantness in my life, which has been often this year, I just access my Wildwood Villas memories. You can’t see it, but I am smiling as I write this story.

To read the Whaling in Cape May story see the PDF file click here

 Originally posted on The Kensington Neighborhood Alumni Group on Facebook.

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