Try to Imagine

Jul 11, 2018

To the Editor:

This is an open letter to those who enjoyed a wonderful July 4th with family and friends in their air-conditioned, elevated beachside and bayside X-thousand-square-foot homes on Long Beach Island.

Imagine those from Ecuador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mexico and neighboring countries who are working 12-hour days caring for your home and lawns, cooking your restaurant meals and washing your dirty dishes. Those people are grasping dreams of their children or maybe grandchildren somehow attending the same university you attended, the university that was your stepping stone to your wonderful 2018 Fourth of July on Long Beach Island.

Now place in your mind’s eye these people loading themselves four each in Dad’s dozen-year-old Toyota packed with their picnic coolers, swimsuits and towels and maybe diapers for the baby. See them leave their apartments in our hot and crowded New Jersey cities for their only summer day off at Bass River State Park. This park in the pines is maybe 30 minutes from where you are under your umbrella, feet-in-the-sand, within sight of your third-floor deck.

Imagine, again, them lining up at 6:30 a.m. maybe car number 201 in a line of 250 at the Stage Road park entrance, just hoping to get a spot in the park by the lake next to compadres when the gates open at 8. They are almost there. They know that because a state park police SUV is just ahead with lights flashing and a man with a uniform is telling them to stop.

Only 200 cars are allowed, and these people want to ask, “Where can my family go for our day?” The uniform rolls his eyes, turns his back, motions to car number 202 and tells them gruffly to “move on.”

It’s hard for you people on LBI to imagine this as you sip that Bloody Mary, look out at the ocean and maybe wonder what the poor people are doing today.

Grove Conrad

Lower Bank, N.J.

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