Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1979 – Moving the Family to North Wildwood

My father was fed up with living in Philadelphia and wanted to get out of the city and out of the Provident National Bank in center city. My family was focused on getting my sister Janice into Franklin Marshall because she was a good student.

I remember it was Janice that drove my mother and other two sisters to the shore that summer. With Janice out of high school and in college, Dad decided to move the whole family to the shore house. I liked living in Philly. I was in a band called Renegade then. (See: Renegade – My First Band) All my friends were there. I liked that I was going to be a senior at Frankford High next semester.

But all of that was ending for me. I would vanish from Frankford and end up taking my Senior year at Wildwood High School. I knew no one. Wildwood is a resort/retirement community. The place rocks hard from Memorial Day through Labor Day, but then it becomes a ghost town. At the time I knew what anxiety was. I had it since I was a small child. But I would really get to know what severe depression was very soon.

They didn’t give a shit about my life because I was always a poor student in school and was a nobody. So After 11th grade we moved to Wildwood NJ for good. I had to leave my band Renegade behind and all of my friends, and move to the shore.

My father had no coping skills so ripping his son from his peronal and social life meant nothing to him. Everybody had to be hunky dory and happy with his move. His dad died, (My grandfather) and left him enough cash to build up on the shore house and it was beautiful. (Biggest house on the block)

But after the summer at the shore, Janice went off to college. My dad was all teary eyed losing his love and I was left to take my senior year not knowing anyone in a town that was dead during the winter. It’s a resort town. There is NOTHING going on there in the winter. They turn the traffic lights off and roll up the fucking sidewalks. This is a perfect dark depressing environment to be dropped off in. Yea, that will work out great. But as long as Dad is out of Philly and has his family all set up down there, he’s all set.

I remember falling into a depression after the summer and my father ripping me a new one because I wasn’t on board with where I had been sent. God forbid anybody would put a chink into daddy’s plan. He always hailed himself as a planner. It was just his mad OCD and anxiety that made him so insecure that he had to control everything because he was never the favorite beloved son like his brother Jack. He was forced to man up his whole life. He worshiped his father like he was Superman and his dad never gave two shits about him. Brother Jackie was the smart one and Dad was just the elder that had to handle all of the shit his mother was to cowardice to do. He was the one that had to go to his father and tell him that they weren’t coming back from the shore because they were getting divorced. I have this guy completely mapped out. My sister Janice loves and worships him, but I know the real deal.

Fuck. I didn’t think I was going to go there.

(Update: This opinion of my dad as a diety has changed for Janice.)



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8 thoughts on “Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1979 – Moving the Family to North Wildwood”

  1. Wildwood certainly was boring in the winter. I used to tell people that if you’re studious or an athlete, you could make it through the winter. My first winter down there was 1976. I spent most of my time in my room listening to Rumors, Dreamboat Annie, and Boston. Wore all three of them out!

    1. all three great records. I was so depressed when I landed in Winter Wildwood. The summer we shared on the mine ride Paul was so fun, but I never realized how hard my life would be trying to navigate being dropped off in a deserted town and forced to go to a high school as a senior that nobody knew and I knew only one one kid named Jim Gloria.

      1. Jim Gloria. I’m not sure if I ever met him, but I feel like I did, at least on one occasion. He was one of the vast Gloria clan, one of which was Anita, his sister. I worked with her at North Wildwood Recreation Center, I believe, in the winter of 1980-1981. Crazy how Anita was our server (my wife and I) at the Lobster House in Cape May a few years ago. It’s crazy how you sometimes re-connect with people from your past.

        Anyway, I can relate to what you were feeling, being in a new school where you knew virtually no one. That happened to me when I started classes at Wildwood High after the Christmas recess of 75-76. It’s jolting, to say the least, to be ripped out by the roots and transplanted into a new place. Luckily for me, I met Bruno Giannini, Brian Smith, and a few of their friends who took me in as part of their group.

      2. Yea… the summers were always glorious as you’ll see in my blog posts. But being ripped from my life in philly was selfish and very unsettling. I think that’s when my real depression kicked in. My band was the only thing that saved me. I left for California in 82 to just escape the grinding resort/retirement community I got dropped off in. I have so many great memories of wildwood but do many bad memories from NJ that i am so grateful to live in philly now and am happier than I’ve ever been.

        Anita Gloria to me was always the prettiest sister in that family and i always had a thing for her even though she was the sister to my best friend and lead guitarist in my band, Union Jacks!

  2. I know a lady who grew up in Martha’s Vineyard, before private planes and hydrofoils made it a bedroom area for Boston and Providence. She left Vineyard Haven in 1989, and hasn’t been back since. Seaside resorts, at least in the Northeast, are not for very many, once winter rolls around.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

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