Sunday, September 7, 2008

Jersey Shore Memories (Part I)

Rough surf on a foggy day in Sea Bright, New Jersey -- ahead of Tropical Storm Hanna -- Sept. 6, 2008.


Just a few pictures from my New Jersey trip this weekend. I have about 40 or so images I plan to post. These are just a handful of noteworthy ones.

This is my (great) Aunt Babe (her real name is Leonilda Frances), and she is my beloved late paternal grandmother's younger sister. Aunt Babe is 95 years old, God Bless Her. This picture was taken on her house on Victor Ave., in West Long Branch, N.J., Sept. 6, 2008.

Above is another picture of Aunt Babe, taken Sept. 7, 2008, in her house (Sunday morning, the day after the previous pictures). I was there with my dad and Aunt Babe's daughter Betty, who is a college professor in New Jersey.

Seeing Aunt Babe was like seeing my grandmother -- that is, seeing her was like seeing a ghost, and I told her that and she laughed (Aunt Babe is still very sharp). My grandmother would have been 100 years old this year on Nov. 4, 2008. (That's Election Day 2008 when McCain may very well win, but let's avoid that topic right now.)

Above is a picture of my grandmother (circled in blue), Aunt Babe (circled in lavender), and (great) Uncle Freddie (see below) that was taken with all 15 Acerra children, in chronologically order of their ages, and my great grandparents. There were actually 17 born between 1905 and 1931, but two died very young, at least one during the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreak. The above picture was taken around the time of the 1939 New York World's Fair (shortly before the outbreak of World War II), when Newark Airport had a contest for New Jersey's biggest family and they won it.

This is why, while I have no siblings, I have approx. 40 first cousins removed once (I think, though they may actually be reckoned by some as second cousins) and 100+ second (or third) cousins removed once, twice or more -- I can't recall how that "removed" business works. As it is, I'm a dead gay twig on this sprawling family tree.

Only four of the 15 are still alive. One of the others is one of my grandmother's younger brothers, my (great) Uncle Freddie. He is pictured above on Sept. 7, 2008 with my dad in his house on Morford Ave. in Long Branch, N.J. He is the one circled in green in the 1939 picture above. He would have been 15 in that picture. He was a Marine in World War II, circa 1943. More on him in my next entry. He is 84 years old now.

Of the 12 Acerra boys, 6 went to WWII and all came back, Thank God. They all also had an all-brother baseball team and in 1997 were inducted into a special category of the Baseball Hall of Fame for that reason.
They were also once featured in a "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!" strip for this.

Here is my grandma ... this is the last picture of my paternal grandparents taken together of which I am aware. It was taken circa 1986. (I incorrectly identified this in my currently - dormant Arcturus blog as taken in Jan. 1985, but that was when they had their 50th wedding anniversary.)

Here is my grandparents' and uncle's grave at Mount Carmel cemetery in West Long Branch, N.J. That blank space is for my dad, who is still very, very much alive. He's staying with me tonight here in D.C. before heading back to Florida tomorrow.

Here is a picture of him, my dad, on the beach in Sea Bright, New Jersey, Sept. 6, 2008, on a foggy day ahead of Tropical Storm Hanna.

I was named for my late uncle, who died in March 1963 at age 19 from complications from cerebral palsy (in a way that would today TOTALLY be medical malpractice -- experimental brain surgery that ended in a brain infection and death). I was named for him when I came along 6-1/2 years later. It's weird seeing your name on a grave stone like that.

Regulus on a foggy beach in Sea Bright, N.J., Sept. 6, 2008.

I wasn't happy to be back in D.C. and was in a rather frenetic -- well, shrieking hysterical mood at home -- but my dad, my good friend LP, and my bar friends at Cobalt all made me feel better.



krzysztof said...

I like that family photo from 1939. But which one are you?

Regulus said...

I'm the first gay flight attendant on that TWA "Lindbergh Line" prop air plane, and I ducked out of view.

But that is you a the top of the stairs and NOT my Great Grandfather Luciano.

I'm guessing you were remembering fondly where you were during the Boer War.

So are we on for Bua's tomorrow night?

fifi said...

that looks amazingly atmospheric, that foggy beach.

what an amazing family, so many of you. I wish I had my grandma, she would have been 100 this year too!