We're back to the sixties again on Chanese Lane, in beautiful Oceanville, New Jersey. I remember organizing this little Fourth of July Parade. I am the one with the army hat, braids and looking ridiculously patriotic in my red, white and blue. I am also one of the few that is not barefoot. My sister Sharon (Shazza) is the adorable blonde to the right of me with the "cymbals" and yellow shirt. My best friend, Maria is behind me carrying the big flag. I remember the boy on the bike as the obnoxious kid across the street. Maria's sister Mandy is to the far left.
Chanese Lane was a wonderful little neighborhood. It was a half mile cul-de-sac developed with little one-story and split level houses situated on the edge of the pine barrens. Behind us you can see where the lane dead-ended into the salt marsh. My parents bought their little split level for around $10,000.
The neighborhood was inhabited by young families. The parents were friendly. We kids were outside all the time. We had miles of pine forest to explore. The woods on the north side of the lane extended to the Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge. The woods to the south backed up to the Seaview Country Club. There was very little traffic and the lane belonged to us. I remember Mom sending us out in the morning. I'd go to Maria and Mandy's house and we would get her dogs and set off on an expedition of sorts.
Summers were spent exploring the woods. We found the tombstone of the Jersey Devil's relatives (Sarah and Obadiah Leeds). We collected the creatures and flowers and fruits that we found. This was not the New Jersey that people typically think about. There were no Sopranos and we did live on the Jersey Shore.
The parade was a silly idea at the time when we had time for silly ideas. Our imaginations fueled our play. There was no political agenda. It was a holiday and a time to celebrate. My parents moved us to a new home in a new town the following year. Our family was growing and they wanted us to go to better schools. Chanese Lane changed over time. I will always remember it as the setting for an incredible childhood.