Wildwood Daze – Maritime Fun – Part 2

Philadelphia, PA – 1976

My father was a Vice President at the Provident National Bank in center city. In his time with the bank, he had risen up the ranks and had made dozens of friends and contacts. My dad was a charming and effervescent guy. Everybody liked him. He was the “cool” dad to my friends. A guy who shot from the hip and not afraid to tell it like it was. I think my mom and I would disagree with some of that.

He had a diverse set of friends and acquaintances around Philly. One of his friends was this rich lawyer who drove a Rolls Royce. He’d get drunk and stay in the city at his apartment at The Drake. He’d tell my dad to take his Rolls for the night and bring it back to him the next day. I remember getting driven to school in a Rolls Royce one morning and it was like sitting in my living room.

This lawyer guy was a total maniac. One night he was hit by a drunk driver in the Rolls. The drunk guy who hit him was killed instantly in the crash, and the Rolls was the only thing that saved my dad’s friend’s life. They took him to the hospital, and while he was waiting to go in to get checked out, he bummed a cigarette off of somebody in the lobby. (You could smoke anywhere, anytime back in the 70s!) As the man is puffing away on the cig, he notices that smoke is coming out of the side of his shirt. In the accident, his lung had been punctured and the smoke was leaking from his wound. The man told the doctors not to put him under anesthetic. Just sew him up while he was fully awake. He said, “If you put me under, I’ll die.”

Yea, this dude was a wildman. He would be speeding down the Garden State Parkway with my dad in his Rolls, and my father would warn him to watch his speed. The guy would simply say, “Let the cops mail me the ticket.”

Lunatic.

But this story is about another friend of my father’s. He owned/managed a restaurant that my dad and his friends would frequent in the city. It was called Davinci’s. My father became friends with the man, and they’d chat at length. We’ll call him Steve, and leave it at that.

He loved hearing about my dad’s place at the seashore, the sweet sea air, and the sheer bliss of having a shore house. Steve wanted this for his family.

Steve had a hot wife who was a slender redhead with an unforgettable bustline. His eldest daughter Jaime was a slightly curvier version of her mother who was blessed with the same assets. He also had an adorable younger daughter Stacy, who was a delightful, hip kid despite her young age.

Wildwood, New Jersey – 1977

So, Steve decides to buy a shore house right around the corner from us on 9th street. It was nice hanging out on the beach with this family. Steve was a charming guy. Picture Lou Ferrigno but without the speech impediment. His wife Jackie was a lovely woman who became fast friends with my mother.

My friends and I, being 15-year-old boys, were instantly enthralled in the presence of daughter Jaime. She exuded raw sexuality and aloofness which fascinated us. (In hindsight, I think it was just that body) Jaime wanted nothing to do with twerps like us. She was already dating older dudes.

Here’s a photo I found of me and hot Jaime.

This is what we’re dealing with. That girl is only a year older than me. She’s built like a woman and I look like a twink next to her. What made things worse for us guys was, she and her friend Debbie would go out into the ocean up to their necks. They would then proceed to remove their tops and swing them around their heads. We were like… “Are they trying to make our brains explode?”

My bathing suit was wet when this photo was taken, but there was endless ribbing from my friends about how it looked like I was “sportin’ one” because I was standing next to her.

Here’s another shot of me with Jamie and Carol. (Sandy’s older sister from the previous chapter)

The struggle was real.

Sigh… I need to move on.

Their house was nothing like ours because they were obviously wealthy. I remember seeing a french phone on a fancy table in their house. Who has a $100 phone in their seashore house in the 70s?

French Crystal Telephone | French Phones at NoveltyTelephone.com

We just assumed they were loaded. They owned a restaurant in Philly. They must be rich. We don’t know anything.

One day, we’re all on the beach and Steve tells my dad that he’s acquired a little boat. (Like the one in the photo above) He’s determined to firmly ensconced himself into seaside living. Apparently, he had won the boat in a card game in Philly. That’s some high stakes, I thought. (I think the boat was worth $12k) He told my father that he could use it any time he wanted.

It was a cool little boat to have access to. My father of course got me a little book to read about boating. I like how before my dad took on anything new he tried to learn all he could about it. He passed that good trait onto me. I read the book cover to cover. I knew starboard from port, and bow to aft. I also knew that if the tide was going out that you had to give the boat that was traveling with the tide the ‘right of way’. All of these things are as important as rules that apply to the road when you’re driving a car.

I remember the boat being up on its trailer in our yard for a period of time. Somehow it was my job to scrub the barnacles off the bottom of the hull and paint it with a special blue paint to keep them from getting back on there.

I also studied the steering mechanism of the boat and rewired the whole thing with fresh cable to fix the steering. That was my contribution to our new shared toy.

Before we ever left the dock my father would always make his presence known with someone on staff. He would tell them where we were going and how long we expected to be out. Safety first!

On the property of the marina was this goose named Thor. He was like the watchdog of the whole place. I had seen him on several occasions squawk and chase hapless mariners around the property. Head down, wings out, at a full angry run.

We’d take the boat out and dad taught me how to drive it. It wasn’t like the boat I had previously ridden in. This had a steering wheel and a throttle. (Way cooler!) You’d get it out in the bay and gun the throttle up, and the nose of the boat would rise up as the boat went faster. I still had much fear about the ocean and water in general, but I really enjoyed driving the little speedboat around.

Once my dad took my sister and me out of the bay and across the channel into the ocean. We were across from second and JFK Blvd at the northern point of the isle. Once we crossed the channel, (which I was told had been dredged to 40 feet deep so the bigger boats could travel through it!) he drove us out to a huge sandbar 100 yards offshore. This amazed me at the time. One always thinks that the farther you go out into the ocean the deeper the water becomes. This is true, unless there’s a sandbar.

He beached the boat and tossed out the anchor. So we were far from the shore and standing on dry land because the tide was low. It was like being on a small desolate island offshore from Wildwood. My mother had packed us all lunches and we had a little picnic out there that afternoon. Everything always tastes better at the shore!

Dad would get his fishing rod out and cast a few times back into the channel. Normally, if there is a sand bar, the bigger fish hang out at the edge of it, waiting for the little fish to come across the sand bar as the tide rolls in.  As they reach the deep water they get eaten by the bigger fish. My dad was hoping to get one of those fish to fall for his lure.

I walked on the sandbar away from shore. It’s so cool because if you walk east you would think the water would suddenly get deeper and you’d go into the sea. But I could walk really far out into the ocean and it only remained a foot or so deep. It was weird to be so far offshore and only be in water up to your knees for 50 yards. But of course, the idea of all of this went against all of my instincts and I didn’t stay out there long. That coupled with my active imagination. I had remembered reading that most shark attacks against humans occurred in less than three feet of water. So I was pretty sure, even though I was in shallow water, I was really far from the shore. I was positive there were tons of big sharks out there just waiting to kill and eat me there. So, I quickly got back to the safety of the sandbar and my dad.

We had some good times out in that little boat. I have another story about our fishing exploits on that boat in another post.

The tide would start coming in and we’d head back to the marina. We took care of that boat like it was our own. But that’s how our parents raised us. You clean up after yourself and you take good care of things that don’t belong to you.

However, this wasn’t the case with Steve’s family. His daughter Jaime and one of her boyfriends would go out in the boat on occasion. We’d find trash in the boat and things in just general disarray onboard when we’d go to use it.

I remember finding a bottle of men’s aftershave stowed under the dashboard of the boat once. I was looking for something when I came upon it.

“Hey, dad. Now we don’t have to worry if the boat sinks.”

“Why not, son?”

Amazon.com: Canoe By Dana For Men. Aftershave 8-Ounce: Beauty

“Because we can just hop into this!”

I don’t think my dad really liked having to share the boat with Jamie and her friends, but it was Steve’s boat, and she was his daughter, so there was little we could do.

I was once sitting on the beach with my next-door neighbor. We were just minding our own business and chilling on the banket. Jaime’s boyfriend comes rolling up to us. He was this big, tanned, buffed-out dude named Rocky. We used to refer to him as “Rocky Berufi” because it just seemed to fit him. (Happy Days TV show reference) He was just a big meathead.

So he comes over and says: “Where’s Jaime?!”

“We don’t know. Isn’t it your job to watch her?” (Me, always the wise guy)

This response only serves to infuriate the brute even further. He grabs our little bag of pepperidge farm goldfish crackers and proceeds to crush it in his hand, turning the contents to dust.

This is like being in a cartoon. Are we supposed to be afraid of this guy?

“Where is she?”

“We really haven’t seen her, Rocky.”

And off he goes down the beach looking for her. I’m sure Jaime was probably out somewhere with a new suitor. We got a fit of laughing after his dramatic exit.

At some point, Steve started giving me $5 a week. He told me that if it ever rained, I was to promise to go out to the marina and bail the water out of the boat. Back then, I was happy to have the free cash and it seemed like an easy gig.  But I was young and busy with my life at the shore. Things slip your mind when you’re a teenager. Too many distractions!

I also wondered if he has the disposable income to pass on to me, why doesn’t he simply invest in a tarp to cover the boat?

Well, one day it really rained hard and I totally forgot to go check on the boat.

It flooded and sank to the bottom of the bay.

He came over to our house and gave me an earful. I was sure that I was in deep trouble. But the gods were smiling upon me that day. My father snapped at him for going behind his back and giving his son money to bail out his boat instead of buying a tarp.

All was forgiven, but we really didn’t use the boat much after that.

I really liked that family. They were really fun people to be around. Much different than my family. My favorite memory of Steve was when their dog once ran away during a thunderstorm. They were from Philly, so the dog probably spent its life in a nice apartment in a building in center city. But at the shore the weather was wild, and thunderstorms on the cape could be intense.

So, their dog panics and gets out of the house, and takes off. I’ll never forget that night. Hours passed and Steve came back into the house after looking for the lost dog. He was soaking wet and quite agitated, but happy he had located his lost dog in the storm.

But here’s the thing. It wasn’t his lost dog. It didn’t even look like his dog. It had short hair and was obviously an older stray.

“Steve… I don’t think that’s your dog. Your dog had longer fur than that dog has.”

“What kind of sicko steals another man’s dog and shaves his fur off to make him look different?!”

“Yea… I think it might be time to lay off the coke, dude.”

The family only kept their shore house for a few seasons before they sold it and didn’t return to the shore again.

But with every encounter in life, a story is born.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Tales of Rock – The Best Band You Never Heard – Riverdogs

This was a fantastic band a great record. Viv Campbell has played in Whitesnake and is currently a member of Def Leppard.

Check it out!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riverdogs

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Wildlife and Evil Pets

Philadelphia, PA – 1970s

I remember one season there were thousands of Monarch Butterfly caterpillars all over the place back the tracks on all of the trees. The Monarchs were making nests and laying eggs and the caterpillars were everywhere. I remember we’d catch them and collect them in jars and play with the little guys.

What monarch butterflies prefer | Earth | EarthSky

The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable and well-studied butterflies on the planet. Its orange wings are laced with black lines and bordered with white dots. Famous for their seasonal migration, millions of monarchs migrate from the United States and Canada south to California and Mexico for the winter.

The caterpillar of the monarch butterfly eats only milkweed, a poisonous plant that should kill it. The caterpillars thrive on the plant, even storing its toxins in their bodies as a defense against hungry birds. For decades, scientists have marveled at this adaptation.

These Butterflies Evolved to Eat Poison. How Could That Have Happened? - The New York Times

One time my friend Micahel had a jar full of them and he had it on his bicycle. The jar slipped and hit the street. Suddenly, there were hundreds of caterpillars spreading out through the broken glass and crawling all over the street, his bike, and on him. It was like a writhing malignancy from a horror movie. He didn’t know what to do and was obviously alarmed, and simply rode off on his bike from the scene. I think one of the parents just swept up the glass into the gutter as all of his caterpillars made their untimely escape.

Some of us had pets like dogs. Mostly everybody had dogs on our street. German shepherds were popular back then. Think I’m kidding? I’ll name all of the dogs just on our block. The Hunzingers had Jason, a scary dog that always barked at us and most of us were afraid of him. But the baby of that family, Jenny, who couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 at the time would go right up to the beast and tell him to settle down and he would. It was uncanny! She had power over that terrifying dog.

The Mitchell’s had a dog named Greta, Hersh’s next door had Gretchen, The Hanley’s had a Belgium Shepherd named Duke. That dog was enormous. He didn’t have to do anything. Just the sight of a dog that large was enough for you to steer clear of their gate. The McMeans had a chubby little dog named Happy, whom they would allow to go down into their cellar and do his business. It was a dirt cellar and they would just let him go down there and take a dump. Their next-door neighbors would complain because the smell was coming through to their basement. They later had a dog that was white with a little black spot on its side named Heidi.

We didn’t have a dog yet, and wouldn’t have one until 1978. You can check that out here:

April Wants A Dog – Part One

April Wants A Dog – Part Two

Up the street, there was a family who had a shepherd named Carrot, who was very shy. Apparently, he got his name because he had big pointy ears, and the little girl who owned him thought his ears looked like Carrots!

I think the Zerbach’s had a dog as well but I think it may have been some kind of black setter. Not sure.

We had a box turtle that my dad had found up in Stover, PA which was a camping area my dad and his friends would hang out in. Probably just to get away from the city and smoke pot. But we had her for a while and I think her name was Elizabeth. Not evil, but I think she escaped at some point. (maybe she was simply returned to the wild.)

I had a lizard named Rex who looked amazing and cost me $14. He looked really cool and I felt like I owned a little dinosaur, but he didn’t live long.

I had white mice for a short period as well. They weren’t much fun. Like all rodents, they just run around in the woodchips in their cage and constantly crap everywhere non-stop. I think they were only .49 cents at the pet store and were probably only there as lunch for people’s pet snakes. Kinda sad.

Here’s a previously published story about rodents:

Rosalie’s Rodents

Our neighbor Sandy had a little green turtle or two. We had heard a rumor back then that there was something going on with those turtles. But I’m sure that was just a childhood myth.

Oh, wait…

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/12/23/460561642/tiny-turtles-still-cute-still-illegal-and-still-spreading-salmonella

That’s why you didn’t see those little turtles around anymore.

We did have fish for a short period of time. That was my older sister’s idea. It was a freshwater 10-gallon tank. I remember she had all of these lovely fish. The most beautiful being the angelfish that always looked so elegant. There were also a few other fish and a pair of what I think they called tiger barbs. Everything seemed well and good, but I think someone at the pet store should have known not to mix certain species of fish together in a confined area. Because at night the barbs would hunt the other fish and ended up killing everything in the tank.

This reminds me of another story. When we were kids we’d be at the seashore with our parents and in any gift shop back then you could find hermit crabs for sale. These cute, shy creatures are of the tree variety and not the ones I’d occasionally see in the surf on the beach as a kid. Those little cuties hiding in their moon shells. My parents bought us each a hermit crab that we got to pick out. I don’t know if I named my guy and I don’t remember if my older sister named hers, but my middle sister named hers Shirley Temple. We kept them all in a little cage in the dining room of our house in Philly. But again, containing nature has its consequences. (You’ve seen Jurassic Park. You had the technology to do it, but SHOULD you do it?) We enjoyed having our little hermit crabs and would take them out and hold them. It was cute, You’d pick them up by their shells, and place them in the palm of your hand. Once you touched them they would zip back into their shells. Then if you held them in your palm and were still, they’d slowly peek out and walk around. It was really cute.

But what I didn’t know at the time was that hermit crabs don’t grow their own shells. These guys acquire their homes by finding snails and ripping them out of their shells and just hijacking the real estate. Home invasion and a hostile takeover. We didn’t know any of that. When we acquired them, we probably just picked each crab based on the color and shape of the shells they currently wore when we got them.

But night falls and that’s when all of the bad things happen in the animal world. I think this is why kids are instinctively afraid of the dark. Because that’s when our ancestors were at their most vulnerable. You’re passed out one night and you open your eyes and some large predatory dog or cat is chewing on your baby. But I digress…

Kids are busy getting into different things all of the time. When you’re young the world is a fascinating new place that’s controlled by adults. Anything you can get into on your own always feels exciting and powerful. Maybe a few days went by and we weren’t paying attention to the hermit crabs. They’re primarily nocturnal creatures for obvious reasons and they don’t do much during the day, so after a week or so, they’re kind of boring.

Doesn’t the Shirley Temple hermit crab begin to systematically murder her cage mates and rip them out of their shells?  Yea. I guess she was growing and was looking for a bigger shell to hang out in because hers was getting a bit snug around the hips. She killed the other crabs and then somehow busted out of the cage and left. We were all freaking out and of course my dad, the science dude comes to the rescue. He realizes she must be traveling along the baseboard and maybe somewhere nearby. So, Shirley busts out of her cage after killing her cellmates crawls along the tabletop. Falls three feet to the floor and makes her getaway. My dad finds her in the living room, like 40 feet away just cruising along to parts unknown.

I wish there were more to this story but wasn’t all of that pet murder enough?

Does anyone else have any interesting pet stories?

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Phicklephilly – 2019 – 1000 Posts! – We Did It!!!

“If you live a life that is without the elements of who you really are you will never be happy.”

I’ve just been notified by WordPress that after 2 1/2 years of writing this blog I’ve written a 1000 posts!!!

It’s been an incredible journey to finally be writing again. I started out in this life as an artist. Then a musician, and then a writer.

But life, marriage, a child, and a career removed me from all of that. Other people needed me and the bills had to be paid.

But after 10 years I decided to write again.

I created Phicklephilly in the spring of 2016 and then did nothing.

By the fall I asked myself, is this something you’re going to talk about in bars with your friends and never do? I had discussed the notion of writing a blog about my life with many of my friends. One who is a better and more visceral writer than myself.

But I started to write.

I published a post about a waitress I had been infatuated with for some time on a Monday.

I worried no one would read it or like it. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to come up with content every Monday.

But I did.

Then I started writing updates for a Wednesday release.

Once the wheel started to roll, I did what needed to be done.

I wrote.

Writing is a hard lonely existence.

It’s something that you have to push yourself to do. Especially in the beginning. But like anything you really want you push yourself to do.

You begin a fitness program and you stick with it. The muscles grow and the fat disappears. You keep at it and then it gets easier.

I started to write like mad. Cranking out content until I had something happening  few times a week.

 

Then I found other things I liked and started to write about them. The Tanning salon, Tales of Rock, Crazy dates I’d been on in the past. Celebrities I’d met, and most of all, past relationships.

Some beautiful. Some bittersweet.

I’m not a great writer, but I kept at it. Like a pilot, I put in a certain number of hours until the plane called Phicklephilly soared.

And now here I am with all of you my loyal followers and readers after two and a half  years of writing.

1000 posts and over 50,000 views!

I couldn’t be happier.

 

If you want to do something, don’t talk about it. Like Nike says: Just do it.

Write everyday.

Push yourself. Who cares who reads it. Just create and express yourself.

 

I GUARANTEE  you that if you start writing and keep at it, the rewards will be like pieces of gold falling into your lap.

When you write from the heart and tell the truth about everything in your life, (Not everything. Keep some of yourself for yourself. That belong to you.)  You will find this liberating weight lifted from your shoulders.

Get it all out. The good, the bad and the ugly. Don’t be afraid. It’s just words. But it will lighten the load you’ve been carrying around your whole life.

Once you write it down and publish it… It’s gone but not invisible. But it’s out of you for the first time in your life. It’s now safely on the paper. You can understand what you’ve experienced so much better once you write about it.

You can look back on your work and your life and it’ so much easier to process, forgive and understand.

 

Writing Phicklephilly has been the most singular liberating experience of my adult life.

 

And there is so much more to tell.

I have so much more to say.

Knowing that these stories are now out on the internet forever. Even after I’m dead it is comforting.

Because they are no longer my responsibility. WordPress carries the weight for me now.

But by writing all of these stories guarantees my immortality.

 

I don’t need that, but it’s so much to live a simple, happy, and uncluttered life once you write.

I love most of what I’ve written. Everybody knows I hate writing dating and relationship advice but I found a way to keep it going for my readers who enjoy it.

I think my followers now know that I write Phicklephilly because of my simple love of creating. I’ve always been that way since I was a child. Drawing a picture. Sculpting something out of clay. Writing a song. Writing a book and a screenplay. Creating a comic strip.

I am an entity that apparently must always be creating and am happiest when I’m doing that very thing.

“If you live a life that is without the elements of who you really are you will not be happy.”

I feel happier than I have ever felt in my entire life.

I’ve lived a big exciting life. I’ve done a lot and experienced much. But it really comes down to a few simple components for me and please take heed if you wish.

  1. Your health is essential. You have that. you’re already winning.
  2. Surround yourself with good people. Whether they are friends, family or even some wonderful pet companions.
  3. Have something to do every day that you like to do. If you hate your job, find a better one that suits your life needs. It’s a third of your life, work. Why spend your day being miserable? Do something you don’t hate every day. It’s a short life. Enjoy yourself!
  4. To love and be loved. This is a tough one. Most people need this one. Love yourself and find someone else to love. If they love you back… Awesome!
  5. Have something to look FORWARD to. I don’t care what it is. Just have something. Brunch with a friend, a red envelope arriving from Netflix, a party, a day off, something you want to do that you made time to do. 

 

That’s it.

The rest is just stuff and bullshit.

Focus on the top 5.

 

Thank you one and all for taking the time out of your busy lives to take the time to read my little blog about dating, relationships and a bunch of stuff from my life.

I wish I could throw a big party and invite each and every one of you and we could all hang out and really get to know one another.

I’ve had the joy to become friends with some of the other talented writers on WordPress and it has been an absolute delight.

So many great people on here.

I also really appreciate my friends who have read and have subscribed to Phicklephilly. I love knowing they are here with me on this journey of self discovery and I hope some of this will inspire them to push forward on their lives.

Two and a half years ago there was nothing. I decided to start to write and now this is here.

You can create anything you want. You just have to do it and do it every day.

Look what can happen if you put your mind to something.

I’m still going to try in 2019 to get a couple of books published on Amazon Kindle this year!

 

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

 

Anything can be done, and you can do it too.

Please reach out to me for anything. I’ll always get back to as fast as I can.

 

My heart is full of love.

 

Life is good and my daughter Lorelei is healthy and happy, so that’s all I need.

 

Thank you one and all. This means the world to me and I hope you continue to enjoy the content I provide in 2019 and beyond!

 

There’s so much more to the story!!!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

Why Dogs Are Replacing Men in Women’s Hearts

http://va.topbuzz.com/s/yjhSQcp

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly