The Beachcomber

Letter From the Editor

By VICTORIA FORD | May 24, 2019

Surf City — Dear Reader,

The summer of 1969 saw The Who’s release of the rock opera Tommy, Nixon’s withdrawal of 25,000 troops from Vietnam, the Stonewall riots, astronauts’ footsteps on the moon and, of course, Woodstock.

Fifty years later, the world is vastly different. Better? That’s debatable.

Now, new original music is released digitally every day on the internet. The United States is involved in bigger, longer and costlier wars. Same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, but the fight for full equality, across racial and gender lines, still has a long way to go. Marijuana is becoming more legal in more places all the time, but it’s not your grandmother’s grass.

At least Oreo plans to release special lunar-themed cookies this summer to commemorate the historic moon landing. And a golden anniversary Woodstock festival is said to be back in the works with a new financial backer on board as of just this week.

Long Beach Island is different, too – more cramped, more expensive, more often flooded.

This special issue of The Beachcomber, meanwhile, offers but a brief happy distraction, we hope, from so many modern-day worries and cares, from all the bad news, from the ongoing struggles for sustainability and social justice.

The distraction comes in the form of this collection of stories, thoughtfully compiled, that provide a glimpse into how it used to be, not just in 1969, but in 1919, when the Kohr ice cream family went into business, and even in 1859 when the Barnegat Lighthouse went into service.

Travel back in time with us, to revisit John Bailey Lloyd’s Six Miles at Sea, being re-released this year as a 30th anniversary edition; to sit with longtime Beachcomber publisher Margaret “Poochy” Buchholz and listen to her recollections; to learn how the earliest surfboards were built, 80 years ago; to imagine the 1969 music scene on LBI, in the watering holes and other live entertainment venues, that bore little to no resemblance to the scene in Bethel, N.Y.

With its many layers of history and an uncertain future, the Island and its inhabitants can count on some things. We’ll continue to nurture a thriving tourism-based economy. The ocean will keep taking our sand and we’ll keep putting it back. We’ll worry and debate over how to prepare for ever-worsening storms and sea level rise. And we’ll soak up the sun, play in the waves, and eat, drink and make merry all the while.

Vive la plage!


Victoria Ford


and the entire Beachcomber crew

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