Every June, I have flashbacks to Ortley Beach in the late 1960s, when we’d cram ten to fifteen Adubatos into a tiny bungalow for an annual two-week “vacation.” Remember those canvas blow-up rafts we rode the waves on when we were kids? At night, they doubled as cots for me, my two sisters, and our three cousins. We’d line ’em up on the porch and sleep until the sun woke us up. My parents got a bedroom, my aunt and uncle slept on the couch, and stray family members slept on chairs or the floor. The good news? We got a great price on the house, because we were one block away from the Ortley Beach sewage plant, which we used to call the “s–t factory.” I loved it, but you’d never catch me sleeping on that porch again.
Back in the day, we’d frequent Joey Harrison’s Surf Club in Ortley, gawking at the women in bikinis, high heels, and really big hair. Now that we’ve gone “uptown” to Lavallette, I am only allowed to take our three boys back to Ortley for mini-golf at Barnacle Bill’s. I’ve played there for 30 years. Never won a free game. If one of the boys beats me to it, they’ll be finding their own ride home.