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LBI Tradition Continues With Baby’s First Visit

By GLORIA C. ENDRES | Aug 28, 2019
Courtesy of: Gloria C. Endres Little Stanley Wildman experiences his first LBI sea breezes raised over his mother’s head at a Beach Haven pavilion on the bay.

Last year in the Sept. 19 issue of The SandPaper, I announced the birth of the newest member of my family, my first grandchild, Stanley Joseph Wildman, who came into this world on Aug. 14, 2018. His newborn photo was the illustration for that piece. In that column, I expressed the desire to introduce Stanley to the same Island that members of my family had been visiting for a whole century, starting with my mother, Mary, and her parents, Giuseppe and Virginia De Sanctis, who traveled to Long Beach Island by train long before the first automobile bridge was built.

I recalled my own childhood memories of visiting with my family, including my twin brother, Daniel, and my parents, Nick and Mary Cipollini. We usually stayed in the largest developed town on the Island, Beach Haven, which is still booming after surviving some of the most powerful storms of the last century, including Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

On this occasion, Monday, Aug. 12, the 47th anniversary of my wedding to my beloved, late husband, Stan (for whom my grandson is named), and two days before the baby’s first birthday, my daughter, Claire, drove from her home in Havertown, Pa., to pick me up at my house in South Philly. We proceeded to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge en route to LBI. Claire was hoping Stanley would nap on the way down, but he only slept a little. He must have sensed there was a new adventure coming.

If we had to choose a perfect summer day for our journey, we could not have picked a better one. The weather that day was one of the best we had experienced all summer. The temperature was in the 80s with low humidity. The sky was bright blue dotted with small cirrus clouds. The sun was smiling down on us.

Claire drove directly to Beach Haven and our first stop, Uncle Will’s. Since the time when Claire herself was a baby, it had been our family custom to have brunch there before taking on any other activities. When the owner found out that this was Stanley’s first time there in continuation of a family tradition, she sent Uncle Will, the ceramic pig eating his ceramic pancakes, over to our table. Stanley was delighted and could not keep his hands off the icon. The management gave him a special new T-shirt in honor of his first visit. All he did was smile, look everywhere at once, and thoroughly enjoy himself. He even shared some of Mommy’s scrambled eggs.

Our next stop was Bay Village and Schooner’s Wharf. We wanted Stanley to see the bay for the first time and enjoy the breeze. We took him to a shady pavilion near the bay where he could see the sky, the water, the gulls, and enjoy having his hair tousled by the wind. Claire was having fun, too, and picked him up as if to toss him in the air. He was squealing in delight. I took photos of those joyous moments.

Afterward, while Claire did some shopping, I kept Stanley company on the deck of Schooner’s Wharf near the Lucy Evelyn. We both enjoyed the breeze. I sang to him and we played pat-a-cake. Soon Mommy was back, and our next lap continued to the northern end of the Island to see Barnegat Light.

I thoroughly enjoyed the view on that trip to the lighthouse as we passed one small town after another, with their bustling shops and large seashore houses. Everything looked so brilliantly fresh with no signs of damage from the 2012 storm. Meanwhile, Stanley was extremely patient with all this car seat business. He only fussed when he was hungry or wet.

At the fishing pier next to the lighthouse, Claire sat on one of the benches and fed Stanley from a baby food pouch, while I strolled to the end of the pier, passing fishermen and other visitors. It was my first time seeing the Atlantic this year. The air was divine and the breeze refreshing. When I got back, Stanley was done eating and we posed while a passerby took our picture with Barnegat Lighthouse in the background.

Then it was back to the Causeway and the return trip. We had just one more stop planned en route to Philadelphia. Claire parked the car at one of the roadside produce markets on Route 70. Stanley loved the break from the car and enjoyed looking at all the colorful fruits and vegetables as we shopped.

On the final leg of the trip home, I sat in the back to amuse Stanley, who eagerly took his bottle into his own hands and drank it dry. After that we played catch with his toys, with lots of laughter. The object was to keep him awake so he would sleep better at night. No problem. He was wide awake and thrilled by his special adventure, exhibiting no sign of fatigue. Only Mommy and Grandmom were exhausted.

Claire chose a different route home and crossed the Walt Whitman Bridge to South Philly and my house. We had created another fabulous memory to add to our collection and the start of a new chapter in our family’s loving relationship with Long Beach Island.

Oh, and Stanley stayed awake the rest of the way home, obviously very pleased with himself.

Gloria C. Endres lives in Philadelphia and is a lifelong visitor to LBI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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