A place for Quattrones, Betteridges, and Praticos to share our family stories, history, and heritage.
The Quattrone family loved Wildwood, staying in boarding houses around Rio Grande & New Jersey Avenues. In the summer of 1951, we took the long trip by train, as we had no car. We took a train from Camden to Wildwood, and walked from the station at New Jersey & Rio Grande, with brown leopard suitcases filled with clothes, sheets & towels. Nuncie rented an apartment at the Cozy Inn, meals included, on Burk Ave for a week; staying nearby were Dad’s siblings and the folks from 2510 & 2508 S.10th St. We all met at the beach, under a communal umbrella, with our blankets & packed lunches. At the Cozy Inn, our call to the dining hall was Kate Smith’s God Bless America” on the loudspeaker.
It was 90 degrees in late August when Barbara & I met Danny, Joanne, Camille ,Michael & Mary Beth at the beach. The clamshells were our shovels, the wet sand our bricks & mortar. We played for hours. I didn’t know what suntan lotion was, and the sun baked my skin from naturally dark to burnt. Grandmom Josephine took us into the ocean. Boys were hawking papers singing “Philadelphia Daily News, daily news here”, while the Ice Cream men shouted a louder melodic chant, “Fudgy Wudgy man !”
After dinner I walked to buy a newspaper at the store on Pacific Avenue, from a guy with a hunchback, known as “Hunchie”. At night we walked a mile up the Boardwalk into town. The amusement pier strutted out into the wide Wildwood beach, with many rides. Danny & I would crash heads on driving the bumper cars. On the street side of the boards was an Old Mill ride, popular with teenagers, with a rowboat sailing into a dark tunnel. Wildwood’s boardwalk was eating: pizza, fries, funnel cake, & Kohr Bros. ice cream. We played Skee ball at the arcades, collecting tickets for some overpriced prize.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. We now take our children & grandchildren to Cape May, staying close to our Wildwood roots. We create new memories at the Howard Street Beach, near the Skee ball arcade, where Izzy, Sophia, Clara, Amelia & Cristian win, it seems, the same cheesy prizes from the 1950s. The endless ocean keeps roaring in in the late August afternoon, and its tide forces us to move our umbrella & blankets back. Our grandchildren build sand castles with us, their “Nonna & Poppi”. We buy them fudge bars, but the ice cream men don’t sing “Fudgy Wudgy” anymore.