Friday, March 13, 2009

Rambling in New Jersey



The above picture was taken about 1964 in Toms River, New Jersey. Toms River is about 5 or 6 miles east of NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, where I was stationed. If I remember correctly, Toms River is about the half way point between the Naval base and the ocean at Sea Side Heights. We went out to eat a lot at Toms River.

This scene was just a block or two from the downtown area of Toms River. I think this water was an inlet leading out to the ocean. I remember behind me wasn't such a sedate setting - a deep fried clam and oyster sandwich shack with hand lettering (scrawls) of their specials all over the building. I wished I had taken a picture of that.


This picture was taken just outside of Lakewood, New Jersey, which was about 5 or 6 miles north of the base. This lake was just outside an exclusive resort called Laurel of the Pines. We tried several times to get in and were never successful.

We went to Lakewood many times to go to the movies and to hit the bars. The town had more of an urban layout. Just the opposite, Toms River had more of a small town sprawl.

On one of the side streets, around the corner from the theater was a mini-ghetto with rough looking characters hanging out on the corners and leaning against store fronts and walls. Down this little street we discovered two bars across the street from one another. One we named Bar X and the other we named Bar Z.

The first time we went into Bar X a big boned lady came up to us and sung us a song she just made up:

Play With My Box,
And I will
Sucka Your Cock.

I’m not sure but I think she thought her poem rhymed. Well, I guess it was the idea that counted. No one jumped at her offer.

Bar X was a long narrow bar in a long narrow room. Not that has anything to do with anything, but I that is what I remember.

Bar Z, across the street, had a bigger and wider room. Both bars had some strange characters come and go. .

One weekday evening I drove into Lakewood by myself to go to the movies. On the way back I stopped at a bar between Lakewood and NAS Lakehurst to have a drink. The clientele there was mostly red-neck.

I sat at the bar to get a closer look at the video jukebox they had. That was the new rage in bars, was to have video jukeboxes. Sometimes it was the singer performing and other times it was just good movie cinema photography that was entertaining, and probably not always entertaining the way it was meant to be.

At the bar I sat next to a middle age sad looking woman and a sour looking man. Neither was saying anything and they both looked depressed. I correctly figured they were husband and wife.

I started talking to the woman and she told her and her husband, pointing with her head tilting his way, were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. He didn’t say a word. She said he was a chicken farmer and he worked very hard. I agreed, that must be hard work. He looked over at me and nodded, without smiling. She said this was the first time they went out in years… there were a few couples dancing out on the floor. She said she wished he would dance with her.

I jokingly told him he should dance with his wife… that was something, being together 30 years. That would make her very happy.

He didn’t say anything but just kept looking at the video jukebox.

Then after a while he turned to me and said, “You dance with her Butterball.”

I laughed. He didn’t.

He said, “I said for you to dance with her Butterball!”

I nervously said I would be uncomfortable dancing with her when it was their 30th wedding anniversary. I said I just wouldn’t feel right.

He stood up and said, “Dance Butterball!”

Suddenly I slammed my money on the bar and left in a hurry. I mustn’t be late!

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Reuben said...

And.... do you remember the night that I quite by accident discovered you sitting in one of these fine establishments. I was under 21 and these places became known a good places that did not check ID's.

7:47 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Reuben,
You were always here and you were always there - I don't remember any particular incident of running into you at one of those establishments. But it sounded like a place we would have loved to seek out - the type of place that didn't check on ID.
I remember when you and were on the cruise to New Orleans and they handed out a sheet with a list of the places off-limits. That sheet of paper was an excellent tour guide.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Si's blog said...

Oh, no, you all did not frequent places like that? The things we do in our wild and crazy youth. And then some of us still do.

10:43 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Si,
I didn't hold on to my street survival skills - I would be like a lamb waiting for slaughter in a place like that today.

1:02 PM  

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