By Harvey Tobkes

My mom and dad rented a bungalow every summer from the year that I was born till about age 13. Some of you may remember some of the streets were not paved with asphalt but filled with sand, just like living on the beach. Every spring when we went to hunt for that summer bungalow, one of the adults was sure to remember me in my baby days and remark about how I used to eat the sand. It didn’t help my bowel movements though, as I am still constipated. There are many, many fond memories I still hold. I remember:

BeachOur baseball team played on the beach, we went fishing in the bay, I made a surf board out of my mom’s ironing board and road the waves and some days they were gigantic. We had “wars” and shot little squares of roofing material from wooden guns that launched the missiles by unhooking the pulled back rubber band, we went to Playland and played ice-hockey, Baseball, Shoot a Jap, There was Poker (roll a ball into holes representing cards in a deck) and Ski-Ball; and we tried to accumulate tickets to redeem for prizes for worthless toys. It was so good, eating frozen Milky Ways, hot dogs and Knishes and lemon Ices. Mmmmmm!

We used to watch the teenagers jitterbug to songs like “Tisket a Tasket” and “In the Mood.” As I got a little older one of the games we played was camping under the boardwalk at advantageous spots to be able to peer through the boards and look up at the girls legs as they walked along.

There were so many activities and things to do that I could fill a book, but this I must relate to you: Once, and only once, my dad took me fishing in lower Rockaway from the Jetty (a government project that was made by laying in some huge boulders) and extending them a good distance into the ocean. Fortunately, one of dad’s friends accompanied us; he was a physician, and an avid fisherman, so he was teaching me how to cast my line from the rocks into the ocean. On my first try, I heaved the rod with all my strength and lo and behold my hook caught my dad in his ear and he was bleeding profusely. Of course, I was so ashamed, distressed and anguished at the thought that I might have a father with one ear, I was ready to jump into the surf, but lucky for us the doc had a cutting pliers in his tackle box made for just such a catastrophe, and he snipped the hook but that ended the fishing expedition for the day. However, on the way home, my father always being an upbeat guy, like all the Tobkeses, stopped at a fish market and chose some fresh, good-sized Flounder, so we did eat well that evening.

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