As long as I’m on the subject of going back to the Jersey Shore, it’s also important to remember that Thanksgiving is also the anniversary of making Asbury Park mine … falling in love with the Jersey Shore, not just at the Jersey Shore. It became my place then … particularly the Day After Thanksgiving, 40 years ago as of this writing, which was when THE HESH came into existence, in Lee’s Arcade on a lucky-charm imprinter [=metal typer]. Flying through the deserted-for-winter streets on that borrowed bicycle. The sun high in the November sky shining down on the boardwalk and the Casino in the hazy late morning. There was just something in the air that day … we went into town, to the boardwalk, to Convention Hall and Lee’s Arcade, which is where/when I made that charm. Then later, we went back to the house. It was Friday … everybody was socializing or otherwise getting ready for Shabbos. I was just hanging around the house … something was drawing me back to AP. That was when I borrowed the bike. I got on and flew down Windermere, across Deal Lake Bridge, and then down to the boardwalk. I saw the No Bicycles sign at the semicircle between Convention Hall and HoJo’s, but I decided that since there was nobody else on the boardwalk, I was getting on.
And that’s when I had the vision, seeing the sun over the Casino … that I was someone other than the caricature that everybody made of me back in Long Beach.
Not the geek, the nerd, the non-athletic nebbish that I was at school.
Not the Torah learner that my father wanted to make of me.
Not the dreamer that I seemed to be everywhere.
Not the weirdo that they made of me at summer camp.
Not the outsider everywhere I went.
Here, all that was meaningless.