Dec 26

Thirty Five Reasons to Read My Book

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Tired of winter? Hop into your swimsuit, don a pair of shades and let “Ocean Lifeguard” and summer begin.

The lovely and vivacious Mickey

Spend time with Mickey, the beautiful dancer and model in the soaring memoir, Ocean Lifeguard. See her here.

Don’t be the only one left behind on the beach this summer not to have read my book Ocean Lifeguard.

Before you read my book, Ocean Lifeguard, purge yourself of all politically correct thoughts. You’ll find none here.

Boardwalk, beach, ocean, lovely girls, thunderous waves, daring rescues, Miss America, soaring night life=Ocean Lifeguard.

Lady fights ocean & horny friend to free self of octopus like clutches, only to have him desert her for safer confines.

Girl gives you the eye, you saunter to her blanket. She rubs lotion on you, you on her and presto, instant romance.

Never encountered sharks but the bathers didn’t know it, so we still had fun. What better way to pass the time? Read about it.

Be the first in your crowd to read the exciting, humorous, adventurous, romantic, memoir, Ocean Lifeguard.

Meet Kenny, our errand running 30 year old mascot whose only mission in life was to seek attention…and laughs.

Six bathers go for a dip, get sucked under a pier with only a two man boat crew to rescue them. Find out what happens.

Miss America contestants came to our beach every summer. Find out what that was like.

Miss America Contestants 1950

Ocean Lifeguard.

Jackie was a lifeguard character like no other. He marched to the beat of his own set of rules… which brought trouble.

Rowing a 500 pound lifeboat through treacherous seas can be extremely dangerous to bather and guard. Put yourself in that situation.

Fudgie wudgie ice cream peddlers played an important role as colorful attractions to the Atlantic City Beach landscape.

 

Heroic captain attempts rescue under Steel Pier in turbulent ocean. Find out if he makes it. Ocean Lifeguard.

Walk across the boardwalk every morning, gaze at the beach, ocean, sky. Sample a taste of Utopia.

Bill was a favored bather who went for a swim after hours and almost drowned in a lake like ocean. Read my book.

Rookies play prank on seasoned veterans and the “Phantom” makes them pay dearly for their transgressions.

Home to our big rented house every night for cards and laughs before venturing uptown for night life and women. It was rough.

Shooting seas at its finest

Strolling the boardwalk at night=white sandy beaches, silvery dancing waters, star lit blue sky. Perfect for romance.

Shooting seas in a lifeguard boat is one of the biggest of ocean lifeguard thrills and Atlantic City guards love it.

The Lifeguards Ball is our big event of the year. Find out what happens when you combine lifeguards, free flowing whiskey and bathing beauty contestants.

Taking the Atlantic City Lifeguard test is as dangerous as going on a serious ocean rescue. Read about it.

Being an Atlantic City Lifeguard ain’t nothing like “Baywatch” and it ain’t beanbag. It can be a dangerous job.

Read about the Atlantic City Beach Patrol, the oldest and most famous life saving force in America.

Mascots were an important part of our crew, otherwise who else would be able to deliver a message to a girl you wanted to meet.

Upon leaving the beach it was on to the Erin Bar to watch the Irish step dancers and see if we could attract any.

Lady finds a bauble floating in the ocean only to discover it isn’t the treasure she anticipated. Read about it,

Poor Les, in the wrong place and time, subjected to neighborhood kids who’d perfected the art of hot footing.

Annual lifeguard boat races were as exciting as watching any drama you could imagine.

The end of the race, where one wave can propel you to victory.

WW II, when Atlantic City was used as a staging and hospital recuperation center. What great soldiers.

You’d never think politics would have much to do with taking a lifeguard test but read the book to find out.

Whether you spend one year or fifty years on the Atlantic City Beach Patrol, it’s an experience you’ll never forget.

Apr 19

Waves, Mother Natures Artwork

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A day when the waves are telling you to stay away

Waves are a beautiful adjunct to a massive body of water, notably an ocean. We admire them in paintings, as a necessity in a sporting event (surfing), or in a state of reverie as we watch them splendidly race toward shore. Waves can be large or small, fearsome or majestic.. They can dance happily in a criss crossing pattern or thunder like a locomotive out of control. Regardless of how we see them, they’re always fascinating.

But that artist’s view can change instantly when you’re physically interacting with them. Isn’t it heartwarming to watch a child as he races after a wave as it recedes back to its source, only to turn screaming, as another chases him back up to the safer confines of the families beach blanket.

Some bathers like a gentle wave where they can frolic in the sea at chest deep water. As the wave approaches they turn their back, jumping with the wave as it lifts them off their feet rendering them weightless and giving them a feeling of exhilaration.

There were days when the waves were big, perfectly shaped, running in uniformed sets and

Waves like this were challenging during rescues

fast. This brought the body surfers out of the woodwork. These guys were similar to surf boarders without the board. They might venture a hundred and fifty yards beyond the break to where the seas were beginning to make up. As a series began, they would wait until a big one that looked catchable was making. They’d turn, swimming with it as fast as they could. Once they realized they had it they’d tuck their arms by their sides in cannonball fashion and ride that roller coaster until their stomachs made contact with the sand.

The most menacing waves for both lifeguards and bathers were a type called hollowbacks. These nasty combers were downright frightening. What made hollowbacks so dangerous to both lifeguards and bather’s was that they built very fast and broke even faster. It‘s one whose base can no longer support its top causing it to suddenly collapse. Whether large or small, these waves are quite powerful and scary.

Now, if the same bather described above went out for a swim on a day featuring hollowbacks, turned her back, jumped up to have it give her an exhilarating ride the results would be quite different. As soon as that thing hit her she’d be sent crashing to the ocean floor and tumbled about like a rag doll. As soon as she regained her feet, assuming she did, she would exit the ocean, post haste, to possibly make that her last ever encounter with Father Neptune.

This is what you call a frightening hollowback

As ocean lifeguards we experienced waves in a myriad of ways but mostly in association with our lifeboat. We had no choice to pick and choose waves. Rescues didn’t happen under ideal conditions. So not only could it be hazardous going after a victim in a straight line, but often we had to row on an angle, which increased our chances of a wipe out by about fifty percent. If hollowbacks were the order of the day you could make that a hundred percent.

So as you can see, waves can be fun, scary, awesome or dangerous…but always unpredictable.

Apr 07

Portrait of an Ocean Lifeguard

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Julie, my lovely editor and angel who kept me energized during the rough moments

This portrait of an Atlantic City ocean lifeguard is being hosted by guest columnist Julianna Ashe. Julie assisted the author greatly in the production of this memoir by making valuable suggestions that often resulted in significant improvements to his book.

I would be less than candid if I did not first tell you the most dynamic parts of Bob’s book were his rescues. Through my association with Bob I’ve learned much that would never have been known to me if we were not friends. One is, that ocean lifeguards are a humble lot. They do not brag about the numerous rescues they are required to perform, often on a daily basis and sometimes under very dangerous conditions

I know this only because of the stories Bob has shared with me. Up until the time I started working with him I had never read anything on the subject of lifeguards, but in particular ocean lifeguards. Furthermore, on helping him research this topic we came up with precious few resources, confirming the lack of information on this subject. This portrait of an ocean lifeguard will give you an idea of the important role they play.

Bob’s book is exciting because the reader gets to live vicariously for a few hours as seen through his eyes. Until you have read this book, I promise you you have no idea what is involved in an ocean rescue. Launching a 500-600 pound boat in the ocean could be daunting especially on days when seas were running high and being whipped by heavy winds. These were the kind of days that made rescues daring and dangerous.

Bob’s book is a joy to read. I tell him he was privileged to have grown up in Atlantic City in a

Two Atlantic City guards just making it over a massive wave on their way to a rescue

fantasy land type atmosphere with shimmering ocean, silvery white beaches, endless amusement piers and boardwalk arcades, all complimented by an unparalleled nightlife. What kid wouldn’t want to grow up in such a city and spend his summers beside the ocean watching over and sharing in the joyous wonders of its most valuable assets…its visitors.

Believe me when I tell you one of the biggest presumptions I ever made was that lifeguards just sit on a stand all day and watch pretty girls go by. Bob say’s “yeah, we did that too, ha ha.”

But now I get to the part which is most important to convey to would be readers – and that is; there is a branch of service which our country and its people know little about. We have no lack of education as to our policemen, firemen, the men and women who defend our country, our doctors and world leaders who have done much to save lives. But who has shared a portrait about the branch of service called ocean lifeguards? We can count those who live at, or close to, beach resorts or summer tourists and maybe some others. But the vast majority of American’s have no knowledge of ocean lifeguards or what they do.

During Bob’s period of service covering the 1950’s and 60’s, 5000 rescues were performed each season, with 50 stations, that averaged 100 rescues per lifeguard stand per summer. I would love to see those brave men, and now women, honored, who for over 128 years have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. How grand it would be to bring them all together including the dinosaurs, as the retirees are known, to the present day young lions, and acknowledge them for their service to America.

The author and his partner scan the ocean for signs of danger

How many doctors, lawyers, moms, dads, service men and women, artists, writers, business executives, children and people from all walks of life, who because of their survival, have made important contributions to society? These selfless men and women only speak of their rescues among themselves

In all my conversations with Bob regarding rescues, the one observation I have duly noted is this: These Atlantic City lifeguards perform their duties unconditionally. When someone is in danger they don’t judge race, color, political preference, man, woman, child, gay, straight, rich, poor. They care not what your profession is, your personality, your bad habits, your judgments or the things you have been judged for. If you are a human whose life is in danger you are under their protection. Period.

So thanks for taking the time to view this portrait and please take the journey with Bob. His book will surprise you. It is nostalgic, funny, exciting and informative.

Very Sincerely,

Juliana

Jan 20

An Elephant Named Lucy

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Lucy the Elephant of Margate City, N.J.

Visitors to Atlantic City during my lifeguard days in the fifties and sixties were easily hooked by all the wonderfully exciting diversions the city offered. Besides the natural attractions like the beach and ocean, there was the boardwalk that thrilled pedestrians who strolled her four mile wooden way,. Their were piers , arcades, movies, stage shows and other kinds of entertainment, or in other words everything to keep a vacationer occupied.

There are three other city’s south of Atlantic City called Ventnor, Margate and Longport, in that order. All three, like Atlantic City, are all beach town resorts but that’s where the similarity ends. All three of these resorts are family oriented and of a more sedate nature and become more so the farther south you go. They do not cater to children and thus prefer more mature visitors and summer dwellers

Consequently, you won’t find amusements along the boardwalk, or anything else to disrupt the statue quo. However, Margate does have a rather unique attraction that’s been part of that cities history since 1882. It was on this date James Lafferty was given the right to sell animal shaped buildings in an effort to sell real estate and promote tourism.

“Lucy the Elephant” was born in 1900. She stands 65 feet (19.7 m) high, 60 feet (18.3 m) long, and 18 feet (5.5 m) wide, weighs about 90 tons, and is made of nearly one million pieces of wood.

Over the years, Lucy had served as a restaurant, business office, cottage and tavern. A popular story is that the elephant once housed a hotel but this is untrue. Lucy had fallen into disrepair by the 1960s and was scheduled for demolition.

Lucy the Elephant stands watch

According to the official history of Lucy published by the Save Lucy Committee, in 1969 Edwin T. Carpenter and a group of Margate citizens formed the Margate Civic Association, which eventually under Josephine Harron and Sylvia Carpenter become the Save Lucy Committee. They were given a 30-day deadline to relocate the elephant, or be solely responsible for demolition and removal costs. Money was raised by various fund-raising events, with the most successful being a door to door canvass by volunteers to save the elephant. She was moved and refurbished in 1970 and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

The howdah elephant carriage atop Lucy, also known as a hathi howdah, is a replica of the 1881 original created by James Lafferty. In 1881, real estate customers ascended a narrow spiral staircase from within the elephant to the howdah where Mr. Lafferty could point out real estate parcels available for sale in the distance. Tourists, especially children, enjoy climbing to the top of Lucy and enjoying the view of the Margate City, New Jersey ocean and the Atlantic City skyline.

I was born in Margate and spent my first six years on Washington Avenue, located about two blocks from where Lucy lived on the beach. That unique elephant was one of the first recollections I have as a young boy. I followed her career all through my Atlantic City period and witnessed her many transitions throughout those years. Many’s the time I saw tourists register shock and surprise when they first encountered her size and uniqueness.

If you ever visit Margate City, N.J. look up Lucy the Elephant.