Tag Archives: Beach

Summer and Springsteen

Summer and Springsteen

Like cotton candy and sticky fingers, hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, and warm nights in the yard catching fireflies, the music of Bruce Springsteen means summer to me.

Summer and Springsteen

Springsteen, just a regular Jersey boy.

When I was in college I had a summer job at the Jersey shore – a rite of passage for many of us who live in the northeast. Shucking clams by day and partying by night, surviving both romantic flings and crushing heartbreaks, I had the time of my life.

I worked in a beach community on a small barrier island a far cry from the glitz of Atlantic City, without a boardwalk or large concert halls. There were few venues for musical entertainment other than smoky motel bars or dilapidated watering holes like The Acme and The Rip Tide that we college kids flocked to night after night. If you wanted to hear live music, you might catch a local act. Or you might get lucky and witness a performance that in time would become legendary.

This is what happened to us.

Bruce Who?

We heard one day that there would be a performer at the improbably named Le Garage, a small warehouse that was usually a venue for teen dances. Some guy named Bruce Springsteen was performing. No one had ever heard of him, but we had nothing else to do that night, so why not.

Summer and Springsteen

From the book “All Things LBI” (Down the Shore Publishing)

At 10:30 that night the place was full. How many it held, I don’t remember, but probably not more than a couple hundred stood perspiring in the heat. The lights were dimmed as we waited for the show to begin. Bruce Springsteen, in all his grungy, unknown glory, his guitar slung across his hips, ambled out on center stage blanketed in a spotlight. He opened with the song was 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy). That voice, as gritty as the sand between the rocks in Barnegat Light, that song, so Jersey shore soulful, that moment, that would become a memory to cherish. The crowd was spellbound and the ovation that followed was thunderous.

That man would become The Boss.

As of that night I was a fan forevermore, and this song would always evoke a pang about that moment, the salt air, my sunburned shoulders and peasant blouse I wore, how our ears rang as we walked out into the night air talking about the music.

Over the years my devotion to Bruce has never wavered and to my delight, the Boss published his autobiography, Born to Run, which fans and critics alike have enthusiastically endorsed. When a fellow Bruce fan and friend of mine raved about the audiobook version, I made it my next Audible selection.

So here is the thing about autobiographies on audiobooks narrated by their authors: you feel like you are having a private conversation with this person. I loved hearing Springsteen talk about his early years in Freehold, his introduction to the music world, and everything that came after. I loved hearing him talk about meeting Stevie Van Zandt, another Jersey musician trying to make it in a competitive business.

No surprise, Springsteen is a gifted writer, and I was as blown away by his book as I was by seeing him live at that little club so many years ago.

Here is Springsteen just a few years after I first saw him, performing 4th of July, Asbury Park, (Sandy) live. I would see him in concert again and again, but that first time was the best by far.

Enjoy.

And Happy Summer.

Do you use Audible? You can try it out for a month by going to Audible’s free trial site and have access to hundreds of titles.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible.
The opinions and text are all mine.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Book Buzz: Enchanted August

Who among us hasn’t felt a desire to get away from it all – the stress of our everyday lives – and escape to a blissful haven, bringing a suitcase but leaving emotional baggage behind?

I know I have experienced a “Calgon, take me away …” moment or two in my life, particularly as a young mother during those vexing times when my children were cranky and we had one too many meltdowns.

And they lost it sometimes, too.

What I would give to just run away and be alone for a while, I would fantasize as I dried tears (mine). No kids, no husband, no responsibilities. Just me. Me time.

And then the fantasy would evaporate.

But more power to the two harried moms from Brooklyn in Brenda Bowen’s Enchanted August who do indeed take that ball and run with it.

Enchanted August

Enchanted August

The story begins when Lottie and Rose come upon this notice on the bulletin board at their kids’ preschool:

Hopewell Cottage
Little Lost Island, Maine.
Old pretty cottage to rent on a small Maine island.
Spring water, blueberries, sea glass.
August.

It is a rainy morning and they have just dropped off their kids. Struggling with both rain gear and discontent, they pause to gaze at the notice in silence, each thinking the same thing. Oh, I couldn’t. Could I? Maybe?

Later that day Rose texts Lottie. “Do you think we could still go?”  Lottie responds, “I think we can.”

Whatever element of guilt they might feel about leaving their families is overshadowed by the enticement of this getaway.  It will be restorative, they reason, and by the end of the month they will feel reinvigorated, in much better condition to resume their real lives. They need two more renters to share the cost of the rental, and luckily they find Caroline and Beverly to sign on.

Four strangers, each leaving unresolved issues behind, set out for an adventure to an unfamiliar but alluring destination.

What I liked best about this book was the gorgeous description of Little Lost Island. Having never been to Maine, I could still feel the sea spray as I sat on the rocks. I smelled the salt air and felt the sun burning my shoulders. I inhaled the scent of the fragrant roses blooming in the garden.

The plot meanders languorously through daily discoveries of local nature and culture. The days are quiet and uneventful, and the biggest decision to be  made is what to have for dinner. Fresh blueberries are picked, lobsters are caught and cooked, salad greens from the garden are tossed. Pleasant enough, but I was about to doze off. I yearned for some action to break through the idyllic spell.

And then, maybe two thirds of the way through, the plot thickens when a philandering husband sets the stage for an embarrassing confrontation, and the back stories of the characters begin to collide with one another.

Based on the book The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth Von Arnim (which was also a movie made in 1935 and again in 1992), Enchanted August is as light and refreshing as a vodka and tonic with a twist. If you are looking for a beach book this summer, this one fits the bill.

Enchanted August

Book groups will be happy to know that Viking is providing this excellent book club kit to facilitate discussions.

I am delighted to be able to give away a copy of each book — Enchanted August and The Enchanted April — to two of my readers. Please leave a comment below and winners will be selected randomly.

I received a copy of Enchanted August and The Enchanted April from Viking for an honest review, which is the only kind of review I write.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Wordless Wednesday: The Last Day of Summer

The last day of summer has always been more bitter than sweet to me, but this year I was given a gift that made the transition much easier.

The stars aligned to bring my geographically dispersed children home at the same time for a short visit: the first time the five of us had been together in over a year. We savored the togetherness at our favorite destination, the beach.

I will remember this special time as the autumn leaves swirl and darkness comes early.

last day of summer on the beachgirls playing in ocean last day of summerseagulls on beach summer

family on the beach in the summer

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Morning on Long Beach Island

Dawn breaks with the first shaft of sunlight dancing on the water. It is still but for the gentle crash of the surf and the squawk of a seagull in flight. A few fishing boats dot the landscape, and the ocean, sparkling like a cascade of diamonds, goes on forever.


I scan the shoreline in both directions, and there is no one in sight. Of course it’s empty. It is early on a Saturday morning, and sensible people are relishing the extra sleep. Duncan and I, however, both early risers, are excited to explore the beach.

We will find treasures: a piece of driftwood, a glistening pearly shell, a sand crab burrowing in the wet sand. With practiced precision, a bevy of sandpipers skitters away from the tide, and then back again as the waves recede. Duncan observes a gathering of gulls up ahead and races to join them. The birds, alarmed, trot a few steps and then flap their wings to freedom. Duncan looks back at me and wags his tail.

Our walk concluded, we sit on the deck. I sip my coffee and read the morning paper. Duncan gazes at the ocean, happily anticipating our next beach adventure.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg