New Jersey has always had a reputation. As the “Armpit of America” that is “only good for getting to Pennsylvania,” many people felt it was trashy even before MTV gave people – across the world – reason to associate fist pumps, hair bumps, and Snooki’s humps with the Jersey Shore.
Going to college at the height of this “Realty Show” stirred some interesting conversations at the bar that really got my Irish up. How could all these people really think this is what the Jersey Shore is all about?
This is not the Real Jersey Shore. The Jersey Shore is a place of tradition. Family. Sandy toes. Salty hair. Beach reads. And shopping local. The vibe is friendlier, the pace slower. People smile more and stress less. We live by the tides and let the sunshine determine what type of day it will be – board games at home, boards catching waves, shopping uptown, surfing at sundown.
I was born, bred, and raised a Jersey Girl. My dad’s family had a beach house a block from the beach and my mom’s had a boat on the river. My grandparents worked hard to create these places to spend time with their grandchildren by the water. That’s what they all lived for: time as a family.
My parents lived down the shore while my mom was pregnant with me. We have spent time near the water each summer – and several winters – since before I can remember. Our extended families gather together at Grandma’s Beach House to make memories. We spend time with Grandma and Pop on Poppy’s boat talking about the Second World War and the latest current events. The beach is not only the very rhythm of my soul, it is the place where I have the most precious memories.
I am a Jersey Girl and I say it proudly. I sleep with a little sand in my sheets. I ride my bike to get me where I need to go. I have conversations under trees with my family. I’d rather play a card game than beat the clock. My walks on the boardwalk are moonlit and quiet. “Down the shore everything’s alright;” it’s my happy place. This is what the real Jersey Shore is about.