Tradition, Tradition! – My Memories of The Jersey Shore

Summer at the Jersey Shore can be a blast.  I loved growing up there.  And as any well raised child of the north east in the 1950s and 60s you learned what to wear and what not to wear.  At least in our household.

My mom cared how she looked when she left the house.  NEVER leave the house with curlers in your hair.  If we needed something from the store and her hair was still damp and wrapped up in curlers she did tie a kerchief over her head and waited at the far end of the parking lot while one of us ran in to grab the much needed item.  These were rare occasions.

Memorial Weekend marked the beginning of summer.  Pools opened, beaches opened, ice cream trucks came out in abundance.  Along with all these came the summer wardrobe.  Sandals and flip-flops (called thongs in our neighborhood), sunsuits, shorts, pedal pushers and clam diggers (cropped pants).  AND anything white.  No longer brown or black shoes – white or cream colored can now be worn.  My mom was serious about this!

And when the last weekend of summer came along, known as Labor Day Weekend, all beaches closed at the end of Monday.  Lifeguards went back to college, we all geared up for school.  We put away the white sandals and shoes.  We bought new brown ones and black ones.  Sigh.  We wore fall clothes to school in the still 80-90 degree weather.

We could change into shorts when we got home – thank goodness.  These were good times…….. but were they practical?  To this day I hesitate wearing sandals in the fall.  I said hesitate!  I do it anyway.  As much as certain styles were drilled into my head (like NEVER wear brown and navy blue together) I have broken tradition!  My style?  Whatever feels comfortable to me.  I’m all about comfort in clothes and styles.  If I walked through a Mall tomorrow and those fashion hounds saw me – I think I would qualify for their next make over.  They would tisk, tisk and shake their heads at my look.  Hey, you try having my hair that is so thick that all the  thinning and cutting and product in the world would not make it stick up.  Been there, and it doesn’t work.

A friend told me of her grand kids being aloud to dress themselves….. and when they came out in mismatched pants and shirts and two different socks on – they were praised and permitted to go about their day that way.  Because they were creative and permitted to be themselves.  Come on people!  Let us find who we are and create our own fashions.  More power to those who wear pajamas to Walmart (I won’t).

I have broken tradition and my kids grew up comfortable.  I hope.  Enjoy the summer months dear readers.  And enjoy being yourself.  Don’t know yet what you like?  You will.  I give you permission to break out of tradition and find who you are!  Be free!


cate b

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