Remembering Nancy as She Was and Tis


My annual remembering Nancy as she was and ’tis

See the bus from Philadelphia pulling into the terminal in Cape May?

First off is the single mom, followed by her four kids, all young energetic boys.

Once the remaining passengers exit the bus, the boys climb back on board to retrieve fishing rods and suitcases. Wait, they’re not finished they go back on board and grab crab traps. Yes, the metal baskets that clang and open when you drop them on a hard surface.

What did they sound like in the overhead luggage rack? What did the rest of the passengers on the bus hear and think on the two-hour-plus ride to Cape May.?

Did it matter?

Today in hospitality, I often wonder how many people would react to that scene. Would we cringe? Maybe run and look away? Or, like some back in the very early seventies, would we reach out, embrace and welcome this young family into our guest houses for their vacation “down-the-shore.”

As I reflect on their hospitality then and think of the subliminal impact these innkeepers of my past had on me, I wonder if that was the reason Nancy’s son would wind up in the hospitality business?  At the Jersey Shore no less.163795_475716089146_1082895_n

Nancy was determined to get her boys down-the-shore one way or the other. Some trips made in a 1963 Chevrolet named “Nellie” and other vehicles.

Some cars would occasionally require assistance from “angel mechanics”- replacing radiator hoses along the way. But a car or no car we got to the shore, sometimes by Greyhound or Trailways bus out of the city like the scene described above.

You might have even found our picture next to the word “shoobie” in the dictionary.

Enjoying the privilege of living near the beach it is easy to re-live these memories. Or perhaps it is as we get older and see peers going through similar experiences that we come to appreciate the things our mom did for us.

Whichever the case, this sentimental Irish fella both appreciates and enjoys the memories.


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  1. Meg
    February 18, 2015 / 12:05 pm

    She was one heck of a mom, and a great aunt. Kudos to her for always giving her boys the best they deserved. She loved you guys and it showed. I learned a lot from her and I know her boys are grateful for all she did for them…


  2. Briana
    February 18, 2018 / 9:16 am

    Love this! #shoobie

    • February 18, 2018 / 9:35 am

      I wrote this so long ago. I’d like to think my writing continues to improve. She would have loved visiting down here. She’d probably stay all winter.

  3. David Greene
    February 24, 2021 / 2:46 pm

    Thank you John. I loved this. Thanks for sharing the great memories and personal history.

    I do some hospitality of my own. Thank you for the lesson here.