By Michele Bucklin Curtis
For many summers I remember my family renting an apartment on Magnolia Avenue in Wildwood N.J. My parents would load up the trunk with box loads of food. Having an Italian mother and grandmother that were excellent cooks meant that we had homemade meatballs with spaghetti , roasted rosemary chicken and other delightful meals during our week down the shore. We sat on a lot of our clothes in the car to make sure there was enough room for food as our family was never going to starve on vacation. I remember when we first arrived at Magnolia Apartments and got the car unpacked how my brother Tom and I would walk the half block up or should I say run up the ramp to the boardwalk and head right over to Hunts pier to see what kind of new ride they had put in for the season. This was in the 1960s and Hunt’s pier was the in-place. I remember when they put in the log flume what an amazing sight that was. Back in those days the ocean would come up under the pier. So on the beach at high tide, mommy and I would take walks under the pier and see what kind of sea creatures would be trapped in the tidal pools around the pier pillars. My Nana always wore a kerchief on her head on the beach and she loved going in the water and I would feel safe holding her hand as we jumped the waves. Daddy first took me on the Hunt’s pier flyer. It was a wonderful wooden rollercoaster with a fantastic thrilling track! I remember back then the long lines to get on the Golden Nugget mine ride. Life was simpler then and folks loved the thrills and twists and turns and mysteries within the creative mineshaft adventure. The pirate ship Skua, a walk through, had the best slanted room ever and you couldn’t help but run from one end of the room to the other. Of course there were Sportland, Marine and Fun Piers and we covered the whole circuit during our week. My brother Tom would make his way down the boardwalk to the fun shop, where he would purchase joke gifts to play on us and to add to his magic routines. Every morning at my young age, I rented a bicycle across the street from the apartments and would take off on the boardwalk for an hour long bike ride stopping to buy fresh juice from one of the stands and a donut at another . Things were safer then for a child alone and I had no fear in my independent way of just going off on my own and enjoying that daily ride to greet the day. Nana loved to sit on the front porch in those old wooden rockers while watching the people go by as they went up and down the ramp to the boardwalk. Douglas fudge was always a favorite and without a doubt we always had plenty of fudge around! My brother Tom and I used to like to sit behind the front window and play tricks on people walking by the apartment. I was one of the first persons that I knew of that had one of those laughing bags where you would just press the button and crazy laughter would go on and on ! This was courtesy of my much older brothers Jim and Joe who had recently been in Boston where they purchased it for me! When folks walked by they had no idea what or who it was that was laughing like a hyena!! Mom always had to make a traditional stop at the Anglesea Shell shop where we would spend hours just browsing and enjoying seeing these treasures from the sea. We would always go one day to see the sunken ship in Cape May and search for Cape May diamonds!! What great fun and memories on that exploratory adventure !!
Never in my wildest Wildwood dreams in those years did I ever think that I would end up having a little place to enjoy with my husband Paul to continue making new memories . Somewhere in my mind I can still smell the fresh gravy/sauce on the stove in that apartment and and can see nana standing there. It is all well and good in the memory kept away in my heart and mind where I first
learned to love the Wildwoods.
By Michele Bucklin Curtis