Right now has always been my favorite time of the year—a stepping off point from the hangover of winter. We have finally rounded the corner and see 80 degrees in the forecast. It’s the only thing that keeps me here. Living in or around ground zero for an opponent that is likely to return makes you wonder. Not sure I have the guts to keep returning like some aging boxer trying to go twelve rounds to get a check.
This year we have the threat of a different beach experience. It seems quagmire might show up with his beach chair and fireworks and restrict, limit or change how we go to the beach. That’s like a no trespassing sign showing up in the bedroom; it won’t make for a long marriage. I think it will work out.
Governor Murphy is a prior Golden Slacks guy who has spent some time in NJ’s more exceptional spots. Navesink and Princeton aren’t too shabby. He looks like he could use some sun, so I think this summer he should be a lifeguard complete with his megaphone voice and desire to do the right thing.
I just worry about what might happen if he has to remove Chris Christie with his coverup and beach towel from one of our beautiful beaches. Now there is a Democrat and Republican fight I would pay to see.
When I was a kid, we turned on the radio or TV and listened to the news for information to help us make decisions. We didn’t hear opinions. We listened to the reports, and rarely questioned them, made decisions, or not, and moved on.
It was a mere 30 minutes. While you might not like the stories, you didn’t have to determine if they were true or not. Today, we are like detectives trying to solve a case. Seeking the truth and validating it is now our job. That’s what reporters are supposed to do. Trying to figure out the back story and why someone would want to bullshit everyone watching is an “add on” that is super confusing, difficult, and a waste of time.
This free form of misinformation is almost as bad as an uncontrollable virus. Being used about one makes things worse than the virus itself. Constant and continuous competition for eyes and ears for any reason or no reason, combined without facts, is what will kill us.
The unemployment office is overworked? If so, this is an enigma inside a paradox surrounded by an oxymoron if there ever was one. The claims are piling up so fast they cant be processed.
Decades ago, I was an HR guy at Chase Manhattan; I spent five years moving through the different disciplines of HR before I decided to move my career into something that paid real money. The lessons I learned there, though, are still among of the most valuable.
The check processing area of the bank was a maze of desks filled with people pushing paper (checks) through the system. There wasn’t much in the way of automation in the early ’80s. I was sent to sub-basement 5 to fire an employee who was putting the unprocessed checks into the garbage because she couldn’t keep up with the work. Her solution was to” throw it out.”
It doesn’t take much to make valuable, worthless in times of stress. We had that in the early ’80s, and have it now in the form of recession. For some, there comes the point where caring about what you do doesn’t make the list.
But my friends at the unemployment office arent throwing the work out but are slowing down processing because of errors and omissions. That’s on the filer. I don’t think its a stretch that people are so worked up over this virus that they cant fill out a simple claim form correctly.
If you take your time and check it twice, you will increase the chances of getting your check.
At the end of Avenue of Two Rivers and a short distance out in the water is what we called Beer Can Island. I remember it well. We would hang out there having fun or doing stupid stuff. If the tide was low enough, you could walk to it from the boat ramp with a small swim across the channel.
The ramp became my fathers’ favorite place in his later years. He went almost every day until there was no one to go there with or to visit. My mom resented the ramp, probably because she knew my dad was saying something she wouldn’t approve of. So she stayed home—the Farber form of social distancing.
It is essential to have a place to go to. To be with others, get away from some or just be. A place to see, not be seen. The crew at the ramp faced East towards Sea Bright like the peninsula town was some kind of biblical place. A short two miles got you there. Somehow it seemed closer because of the history of the crew at the ramp and farther away because there was no going back for these guys – in any form.
I genuinely believe in life’s milestones; they represent the passing of time but, more importantly, mark a point in time, right now, before it fades in another’s future. And that, I believe, is what a small ramp adorned by an island once strewn with beer cans and driftwood can be.
About 1.8 miles SW, as the crow flys, behind the twin lights, lies the house I grew up in, says Google Maps. The Highlands bluff rises about 300 feet, and some say it is the highest point on the East coast
On it sits the Twin Lights. Miles out to sea is Ambrose. Over the new Highlands Bridge is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse which is the country’s oldest working lighthouse, built in 1763. Two miles isn’t far but there is no easy way to get to the lights from the part of Rumson where I lived. A good runner could cover the distance in about 12 minutes if it was a straight shot. I remember taking a bus there as a student at Forrestdale – a class trip.
The point is just how close we are, or can be to such a rich history. We take it for granted, I know I have. I live in Western Tinton Falls near Colts Neck, Woody’s, and where the Fort used to be. Not so very far away.
I took a drive to the Twin Lights the other day. I went up and visited the lights. The view is still as amazing as when the Lenape Indians looked off the bluff and when the Hartshorne family bought a large tract of land in the area. The white metal fence, peeling paint, is still there behind the lights to keep people corraled on the hill.
I couldn’t see the lights from home as a kid, they were on the other side of the bluff and low enough on it for my window to provide a view. But on the northeast side, or the NYC side, the lights could be seen for miles out to sea. A welcome sight for mariners when they needed one.
Highlands is very much its own place. It became a borough in 1900, annexing from Middletown. The Twin Lights are in what my parents called upper Highlands, the lower is just 13ft above sea level. They get water, a lot. Lower includes the restaurants, Bahrs Landing, and the old Doris & Eds, where my dad did the AC and refrigeration for decades. Jim Phillips was the proprietor who passed not long ago. If he called our house everything stopped. A customer, he had customers who expected the finest dining in the area. Dad went off to work.
It’s amazing to me just how different so many of us can be and yet are still so close. That makes me think of NYC where billionaires and the homeless cross paths all the time. In Monmouth County, the same can be true but probably not on a daily or minute by minute basis. It’s funny how that plays out.
I know some of you read this and don’t live around here anymore so I took a pic with my phone to share.
On Every Street
My street had the usual cast of characters growing up. They included: Billy, John, Pete, Steve, Paul, Beeb, and the brothers and sisters that made their homes a family. And that was just our immediate neighbors. It seems our parents were doing more than working back in the 50s.
Most of our time was spent outside, barefoot, in the street. Our yards were dirt with grass spots from overuse as a driveway for a car or machine. As the years passed, we would still be there, but as teens playing curb ball, throwing anything that would fly or just bullshitting about some a girl we thought was pretty. Then we would move down the street about 100 feet and start over again in the new location. We did and said the same things over again, but it felt fresh.
We would make our way to the woods (now two houses) and head into our fort where we looked at Playboy magazines we had slipped out of our homes, while we coughed on cigarettes. It wouldn’t be long before beer and weed made their way into the fort. And it wasn’t long after that, and the fort was gone. Someone had bought the property and put a house on it. Today there are two.
The blue-collar side streets of Rumson had begun a transition that continues at an accelerated pace to this day. Now white-collar people spend a million bucks to live in that neighborhood, the blue-collar folks sorted out as the pay gap widens, and the” have nots” have less of the smaller pie.
WW2 ended yesterday 75 years ago. The people on Blackpoint Road and the North end Avenue of Two Rivers were the sons and daughters of those men and women of my parents’ generation. We are their sons and daughters and are now old enough to look back and tell a story or two. Have fun.
I had one, and it was on the south end of the old Anchorage Beach Club, which is now the Al Ferguson Surfing Beach. It was a big jetty which supported the beach at Sea Bright Beach Club heading south. I knew most every rock as I spent countless hours there watching the waves or just the sunshine off the water. It also provided a view of New York City on a clear day.
These jetties are still there under tons of sand that the gov pumped in to expand the beaches. Someone thought using mother nature for our leisure was a good thing. Unfortunately, we changed the ocean’s contour, which ruined an excellent surf spot when the waves got big. While this wasn’t very often, it made for some memorable days in the water. The manufactured beaches are why we have a shore break problem in the area. Unfortunately, some have paid the ultimate price so the rest of us have enough room for our oversized asses. We all but ignore the fact that the jetties themselves were an attempt to capture the oceans’ course and swimming sand to make a beach.
The jetty could be a magical place. You could be lost in vision and thought at the same time as you sat on the right flat rock, avoiding a chunk of gravel cement or a pole hole from a fisherman. The stories, images, and experiences in these places are lost like sand passing through an hourglass – think mortality and the freemasons, not The Days of our Lives.
Time does fly, but if we can’t see or use them, I take some comfort knowing the rocks are still there and peak through to say hello after a big storm. I have a lifetime of memories of hours alone on them. That’s good enough, I guess.