I grew up on the Jersey shore, and I never met anyone named Guido.
I ignored the MTV show until it was reviewed in no less a publication than The New York Times, then I checked it out. The less said, the better. But this is not a "when I was a girl" rant: rather, a valentine.
We lived in a Springsteen song, though we didn't know it, my friends and I, bopping down the beach with the radio. We swam and sunned (baby oil-and-iodine melanoma poster girls) and picked up seashells and boys. We rode the Tilt-A-Whirl and cruised the Asbury Park circuit in huge American gas-guzzlers (made sure we cleaned out the bottle caps and rolling papers), listening to The Nightbird on FM radio. We played skeeball in the Casino and heard a lot of good music in cheap little seaside bars, and we thought life was soft summer nights and, always, the sound of the waves.
I grew up, moved away, and only then realized how unique my youth had been. I am forever grateful for my Jersey Shore, and on warm, hazy mornings here in the Poconos I still think, for a moment, that I smell salt in the air. So raise a bottle of Rolling Rock to the shades of sixteen-year-old girls with sunburned noses and their boys with sand in their cutoffs and fresh draft cards. We're still here.
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