SpeakEasy

So It Begins – A New Generation to Share the Joys of LBI

By GLORIA C. ENDRES | Sep 19, 2018
Courtesy of: Gloria C. Endres Newborn Stanley Joseph Wildman is soon to discover the wonders of LBI, following in generations of his family’s footsteps.

I once began a piece for The SandPaper with these words: “I am alone now, dreaming of summer.”

I wrote those plaintive words eight years ago after the death of my beloved husband, Stanley. I truly felt as if half of me were gone after a marriage of 38 years. My sweet daughter, Claire, was already on her own. My parents and only sibling, my brother Danny, were all gone. There was a great hole in my life.

I was especially anxious about how I would feel on our next wedding anniversary in August. Stan and I loved spending many an anniversary week on our favorite Island. I have albums of pictures of us on the beach or by the pool or sailing the sunset cruise on the Black Whale. We could not wait to show off the Island to our toddler daughter, Claire Marie. My parents, Mary and Nick Cipollini, even brought their beagle Snoopy down once for a day trip. Many happy memories.

But then, to my surprise and great joy, Claire offered to take me down to LBI for my anniversary on Aug. 12, 2010, the first without Stan. It was a magical day. I wrote all about it then. I actually felt as if the three of us were together again. She even won me a stuffed animal at a claw machine in Fantasy Island just as her dad used to do all the time. It was as if he were inside her, directing her actions.

Those wonderful trips continued even up to this year when Claire was eight months pregnant with a baby boy, her first child. My grandson, Stanley Joseph Wildman, was born on Aug. 14, just two days after my 46th wedding anniversary. Of course they named him after his grandfather.

He was born with a full head of hair and dark eyes. He is a true summer baby, warm to the touch, who enjoys his little play sets while wearing only a diaper. Claire and Steve plan to introduce him to the Island perhaps next summer when he is a year old. Of course I will tag along. We will have to stay overnight.

So now I can no longer say, “I am alone now.” I have a new baby to fill my heart and my days with joy. It will be wonderful to show him the same sights, sounds, textures and tastes of one of my favorite places in the world. I cannot wait to introduce him to seashore breakfasts. I want to be there when he sees the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. I can imagine his tiny toes digging into the sand or his hands filling his first bucket. There will be the melody of waves crashing on the beach. The briny smell of the ocean air will fill his senses.

Stanley is already interested in all the new sights and sounds of the world around him. I can just imagine his reaction to the vast horizon of the ocean and the unlimited skies above it. When he is older, I hope his mom and dad can wake him up after dark, so they can lie on the beach to see the August Perseid meteor showers. They peaked this year just around his birthday.

Speaking of the sky, I am hoping he is able someday to enjoy not just the rising of a full moon over a calm ocean, but also the emerging from the horizon of the planet Venus. The first time I saw it, I recalled Botticelli’s famous painting of Venus being born from the sea on a large shell. The ancient Greeks saw this and claimed they were observing the birth of the goddess of love. They called her Aphrodite, whom the Romans later renamed Venus.

Oh, and he should get swimming lessons as early as possible. When Claire was little, her dad got her used to the water by tossing her into a pool wearing a life jacket. She squealed in delight. Soon after, I took her for swimming lessons.

Besides flying kites, I can just imagine little Stanley throwing a beach ball to his dad or collecting seashells with his mom. Summer babies just know how to enjoy the seashore better than anyone else. Perhaps a boy will not be interested so much in building “castles” out of sand, but rather “forts” to defend. He will be the sculptor of his own imagination

Fantasy Island and Schooner’s Wharf in Beach Haven will provide many opportunities for amusement and adventure. The bay is a world all its own with fancy yachts and sailboats for Stanley to admire. And, of course, the family must visit Barnegat Light and show Stanley the wonderful view from the top of the lighthouse.

There is so much to explore on this wonder of nature known as Long Beach Island. And Grandmom will hopefully be there many times to share her stories of past adventures from her life and the lives before her from a century ago. She will tell him how his great-great grandmother Virginia found the Island a cool summer respite at a time when there were no air conditioners. How she even invested in land in Beach Haven. How she had to take a train with her family, including his great-grandmother Mary, to the Island around the time of World War I.

Grandmom will also tell stories of her own early childhood, during World War II, of exploring the beach with her twin brother while fighting off mosquitoes. And, of course, the many happy tales of his own mother’s childhood around her own summer birthday, on July 11. He will hear about his handsome grandfather whose name he bears, and how much he enjoyed playing with his baby girl Claire.

Yes, a whole century has passed since my family began to connect with our beautiful Island. Now a new generation will be welcomed soon to its fabulous wonders. Welcome to the world, beloved Stanley Joseph. Welcome to a healthy, happy life filled with exciting new things to explore and learn. And soon, welcome to a precious and unique treasure by the sea.

Gloria C. Endres of Philadelphia is a lifelong visitor to LBI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.