Have you ever mooched off your parents and tagged along on vacation with them? Mr. Saver and I have — for the past five summers, in fact. Ever year for three decades, Mr. Saver’s parents have rented an efficiency room in the lovely beach community of Wildwood Crest, along with two-thirds of his dad’s side of the family. It’s like a family reunion on the beach, and we weren’t too proud to stay in the 2nd bedroom for a few days each year for free. We’d try to give them money, or bring some of the food (they’re Italian — they bring trays of chicken cutlets, eggplant parm and so on), but we’re rebuffed every time. They’d usually stay anywhere from 5-8 days, but we’d only come down for a few, that way they’d have time to themselves. Which is the least we could do.
Here in New Jersey, Wildwood Crest is one of the nicest beach communities in the state — it has miles of boardwalk, rides, games, food — and most importantly, wide, clean beaches with free admission. Yes, that means 99% of our state’s beaches require a daily or monthly beach pass that helps pay for the maintenance and staffing.
My favorite thing to do was go boogie-boarding with all the cousins – I could do it all day. Enjoying a Kohl’s soft ice cream cone or a funnel cake on the boardwalk rank up there, too. There are fireworks on the weekends, cocktails on the balconies and card games all night.
But this year, my in-laws called off their trip (the rest of the extended family is down there now, calling and telling us all about how the waves are, where they’re going to eat, and the latest gossip). They thought they’d save the money, what with all the family weddings, the need for a new car and other expenses. I was sorely disappointed by the news, but really, we were merely benefiting from my in-laws’ extreme generosity for the past few summers.
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