1973: ‘P-U!’ Predicament; Girls’ Softball; Angst With Russians

The Beachcomber

The lack of sewers was a pungent, highly charged issue on the North End during the summer of 1973. Residents invited officials to come smell their overflowing cesspools or their toilets backed into the kitchen sink. Doctors wrote of an increase in ear infections, especially among children who swam in the bay and lagoons. One resident complained, “Man has walked on the Moon and we are living in the Dark Ages.” Harvey Cedars Mayor Thomas placed a half-page ad, urging residents to write to their county and state officials. By October, Washington had committed $170 million. The state matched with $34 million from the 1968 “Clean Waters Act” bond. Only a “piddling 10 percent,” as our writer noted, would come from the towns. Digging started the next year.

Not only the problem of sewers, but what to do with doggie waste was rankling residents: “Irate householders are urging Ship Bottom to pass an ordinance requiring dog owners to follow their beasts with bucket and scoop, stooping to retrieve Fido’s calling cards.” Our writer then went on to comment about cats, suggesting that not only their waste, but even the cat itself “is great for tomato plants if dispatched in some convenient and bloodless way and laid to rest below a fledgling plant in the spring.” A flurry of outraged letters followed.

Soviet fishermen were spreading their nets wide, scooping up vast shoals of fish just 12 miles offshore and processing them in their huge factory ships. In 1973, between 650 and 750 trawlers were depleting nearby fish stocks. According to American fishermen, the Russian fishing industry was a government-sponsored institution and there was no way American fisheries could compete. It took nine years of debate and fighting to get the limit changed to 200 miles. In a friendly incident, Barnegat Light fishermen passed some cigarettes over to the Russians – we think they got vodka in exchange.

E. J. Bart pulled a 25-pound bass out of the surf at the south end of the Island. Tim Coleman, our staff photographer, hauled a 40-pound bass off a jetty. … Six-year-old Mary Beth Sedlatschek hooked a 12-pound fluke on a minnow.

A 1,000-pound turtle came ashore in the surf at 38th Street in Brant Beach. Guards at first thought it was an overturned dinghy. … A large flock of American oystercatchers was summering on the beach at Loveladies.

A softball league for girls 9 to 13 was formed – 70 girls signed up and were assigned to five teams. The mothers and high school girls assisting as coaches said they wanted the girls to gain the same character-building qualities that the boys got from Little League. … In 1968 the Barnegat Light guards set the record for time rowing around the Island in 12 hours and 20 minutes. In 1973 Harvey Cedars guards Bill Marts and Mike Clark knocked an hour and 20 minutes off the record.

Kayaks were so rare that when our writer saw one in the surf, she wrote, “A kayak on Long Beach Island?! Is it a lost Eskimo?” Then she spotted seven more paddling just outside the breakers. It was the Kayak Club of New York. One of their members lived in Surf City and said June was a great month for kayaking on LBI.

Three new housing developments were blooming on the Mainland: Pebble Beach, North Gate and Cranberry Hill – models started at $24,990. … Mancini Builders would build you a year-round house on the Island for $41,900. … The Township rejected a mammoth condo proposal in Holgate. … Condominiums were proposed for the block between Taylor Avenue and Eighth Street in Beach Haven. Battle lines were drawn. … LBI Trailer Park in Holgate advertised fully furnished mobile homes from $8,200. … Phase one of the North Jetty project off Island Beach, across Barnegat Inlet, was completed.

Bowing to the times, the conservative Board of Trade, which preceded the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, for the first time in 16 years allowed participants in the Miss Magic Long Beach Island beauty pageant to be photographed in bikinis. … The “Barnegat Light Jaybirder,” a naughty nudie, prowled the town at night, displaying his wares at lighted windows, and flashing an occasional moon.

Spearheaded by Beach Haven Commissioner Watson Pharo and Dick Zipf, the first osprey poles and platforms were installed on Parker’s Island, which is owned by the borough. As the use of DDT declined, the ospreys, formerly abundant on the bay islands, were beginning to return.

Letters From Our Readers: This writer was way ahead of her time.

July 12, 1973: “Long Beach Island is overflowing with shops of all kinds: gift shops, dress shops, hobby shops, grocery stores, marine stores and many, many more. With each and every purchase comes the ecological nemesis – a bag. The number of bags distributed every day in every store on the Island is too large to grasp. Paper bags are bad enough, but at least they will eventually disintegrate. Many stores actually perpetuate the crime of using plastic bags, which are not biodegradable!

“The answer does not lie with us. Perhaps when the situation is even more threatening we will see much needed government action. But until that time, every little bit helps. You don’t always need that bag. For one quart of milk; for one tube of glue, you can suffer. Naturally for groceries you need a bag … But stop and think when you don’t need it. You can say, “I don’t need the bag, thank you.”

Surely the ecological state of the nation is more important than a momentary struggle with a bottle of suntan lotion. — V.C. Clements”

Barry Miles, a jazz pianist, performed at the Foundation. This was two years after he recorded his White Heat album, a pioneer jazz-fusion disk. … Chubby Checker had ’em twisting in the aisles and on the bar at Joe Pops. Tiny Tim, the Shirells and Brooklyn Bridge drew huge crowds throughout the summer. And, lucky for us, the Beachcomber office was right next-door.                n

Margaret Thomas Buchholz is the former owner of this paper and author of Island Album, Shore Chronicles, New Jersey Shipwrecks, and her latest book, Josephine: A Memoir 1917-1959. She is co-author of Great Storms of the Jersey Shore. Reach her at lbipooch@comcast.net.

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