Ocean City Magazine– November/December Holiday Issue

Everyone has a favorite memory of Ocean City. With that memory comes some way of referencing it. Whether that be a favorite tee shirt, or a family photo taken in front of the Music Pier, there is always an object to remind someone of their memorable times here. For some, that object is a dedicated bench, with their memory preserved on it thanks to the Bench Dedication program.

The Ocean City Bench Dedications are part of a larger program that helps keep memories alive in Ocean City. By placing plaques on benches, the goal is to memorialize the small moments that residents and visitors have experienced in their time in the town. The program was originally an individual request in 1996 from someone who wanted a bench in their family’s name. The city gladly granted the individual their wish, placing a single bench with a memorial plaque on the boardwalk. Many quickly saw an appeal to it and called into City Hall, asking for the possibility of getting their own bench.

“People started calling in nonstop, wanting a bench of their own,” says Carol Longo, one of the original members of the Bench Dedication Program. “Whether it be where they had their first kiss, where someone met their future husband, people wanted to memorialize their memories of Ocean City.”

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In the final edition of Ocean City Magazine’s 2017 run, I freelance wrote 3 articles. The above is the intro to my big freelance article, “Have A Seat: Ocean City’s Bench Dedication Memorial Program”, a research piece on the beloved boardwalk benches in Ocean City, New Jersey. You can read the article in its entirety in the Issu PDF reader featured at the bottom of this post.

  • The Interview with Bill Scheible, Ocean City Pops Maestro (page 20)
  • Have A Seat: Ocean City’s Bench Dedication Memorial Program (page 48)
  • Good Karma “Kookie Kids” (page 54)

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Ocean City Magazine– September/October 2017

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Freelancing for Ocean City Magazine, I wrote two articles. The content can be read in the Issu PDF reader featured at the bottom of this post.

  • The Interview with Fred Miller (page 20)
  • Good Karma “Saint Damian’s Thrift Shop” (page 50)

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GutterBall

Meredith studied the pool table, studying the ways she could make a shot. She was stripes tonight. She had a slight lead, and felt like she could increase the gap, but that stupid blue ball over in the corner… it was too close to call. But if somehow she could avoid it, it would get two of her pieces in the pocket. She didn’t want to, but maybe it was a necessary sacrifice. She lined up her pool cue, slowly eyeing up the pocket….

Only for a paper plate of greasy, shiny pizza to come smacking down right next to her. She looked up to see John giving her a small smile. He folded his own slice by the crust and took a small bite out of it. She had not heard him approach, the continuous sound of bowling balls thundering down their lanes covering up any footsteps he may have made.

She gave him a love tap on the side with the end of her cue, then moved her paper plate to the table so she could make her shot.

“Classic, coming in to save your own ass,” she laughed. He snickered and placed his own pizza down, shooting that bothersome solid ball into the pocket.

“You just didn’t make your move fast enough,” John’s reply was. She gave him a sour face, and went to look at the table for another shot.

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Kokuviki

Previous Chapter

A sudden bump jolted Bour awake. Sitting up he found himself in his wagon…which was moving. Had his Mahi steeds simply taken off while he was sleeping? No, they couldn’t have. They had not been harnessed to the wagon last night. Incredulous, he scrambled to the front of the wagon. A Kikinalo strode alongside the wagon, its saddle empty while its rider was at the reins of Bour’s Mahi.

“Nireta?” Bour asked, spying the shape of her Kakama from behind. Turning to see he was awake, she smiled. “How did you find…what are you doing here?”

“Bringing you back,” she answered. “Tell me, how do Po-Matoran even survive in this heat? Kokovuki is coming, and I wanted to celebrate with you.”

“But the Rhode—“ Bour protested.

“Can be found another time,” Nireta she said matter-of-factly.  “You should come be amongst friends.”

“But I was getting out there!” the Po-Matoran insisted. “Another day and I could have found something!”

“Then you will know exactly where to look again,” she reminded him. “You were also low on supplies.” There was an uncomfortable silence as they both knew why Bour wanted to be out in the desert by himself. “I miss him too Bour. But I’d also miss you if you disappeared into the desert forever. Just because your best friend isn’t here doesn’t mean you can’t be amongst company.”

The Po-Matoran looked at her. He was upset still, yes, but she was right. He did need to be with company. “I will celebrate Kokovuki with you,” he agreed, “but afterwards I’m coming right back out here. We need to find a way home once our stay here ends.”

“Then I find another reason for you to stay,” she resolved.

“Is it tonight?” Bour asked. Nireta shook her head.

“In a few days time,” she said. “I’m taking you back to the jungle, so you can get some fresh food.”

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Ocean City Magazine– July and August 2017

Grouping the two summer issues together, the July and August Issues of Ocean City Magazine feature a few articles from yours truly. img_4827.jpg

In the July Issue:

  • In the Kitchen– “Del’s Grill” (page 8)
  • The Interview with Edwin Nusbaum, Tennis Pro (page 24)
  • Good Karma– “Ocean City Fire Department Charitable Fund” (page 60)

In the August Issue:

  • In the Kitchen –Jon and Patty’s” (page 8)
  • The Interview with Bob Rose, Music Promoter (page 24)
  • Good Karma– “The Exchange Club” (page 61)

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Shelter Found

Previous Chapter 

Their initial stumbling had stopped, and now the two Utywan Matoran simply struggled the long hike up the mountain path. Their guide, Okoth, turned for the thirty-ninth time to make sure Bour and Nireta were still with her, watching them grapple with the challenges the landscape of Tenpravih gave them. The air was starting to thin as they ascended, and Okoth could see the chests of the two visitors heavily rising and falling.

“Do you need to rest?” she finally asked.

“Maybe— we should have waited a few hours— to get our land legs back…” Nireta replied. The Ga-Matoran straightened herself.  “We’ll get them back, don’t worry,” she reassured her guide. They both looked at Bour, who stood doubled over with his hands on his knees. The Po-Matoran gave them a thumbs up, his eyepiece on his Akaku extending to the path they still had to climb. Okoth nodded, waiting for them to restart their pace before she continued to guide.

The Utywans had allowed their cloaks to drift behind them as they climbed the base of the mountain, but the warmth of the bay was quickly left behind as they entered the bleaker parts of the island. The two wrapped themselves tightly as the mountain air sent shivers up the back of their necks. A wind unlike the far seas crept slowly around them, their expressions of exhaustion now of concerns. Okoth seemed unaffected by the cold, and did not express any concern about the weather.

“They are travelers,” explained Okoth to the guard of the bastion. Bour and Nireta, wrapped in their cloaks, marveled at the structure before them; seemingly carved out of the mountain itself. Though they had hiked a considerable distance, the walls of the place extended considerably higher than the Utywans  would have thought. Large windows looked out from various points facing this side of the mountain, balconies looking down along the path. They had come up the jungle side of the mountain, and far to their right, they could see a river rushing down the face of the mountain, to where it would meet the waterfalls of the beaches they had landed on far, far below.

“What business do travelers have in the Bioaku?” asked the guard.

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Shelter Needed

Previous Chapter

A Po-Matoran stood atop a rocky outcropping, squinting underneath his Kanohi as he tried to see through the white radiance of the afternoon sun immersing the plains around him. He gleaned small sprouts of shrubbery along the endless stretches of sand, but his Akaku kept scanning, his eyes never settling. Rays of sunlight streamed from the sun, an orb in a sky so fair blue that it looked white. It was one of those days where one could forget it was still the depths of winter, true spring many months away. The wind had even died down to a breeze as it participated in the weather’s charade, the Matoran’s tunic robe barely flapping atop the rocks.

Having seen enough of the rolling desert, he climbed down from the crest to where his covered wagon lie. The two Mahi that carried him here grazed on nearby brush, looking up at his return. Climbing back on his wagon, he urged the Rahi forward, continuing his journey. What the Matoran was looking for he did not find, so he would continue exploring the further depths of the desert.

Beneath the desert dirt, beyond what his Kanohi could see, the Rhode was buried, a highway system connecting this place to the rest of the continent of Del Vienvi. Somewhere out here, half buried in the desert, the elders of Tenpravih claimed that the Rhode still existed. The Matoran had been sent out to find it; their home having been destroyed by hurricanes, his village had sailed to find new lands, to only find that they had not left their country at all. If the Rhode existed in this desert, then he and his own people—the Utywans—could possibly make their way back home this way once the winter ended. There could be food on the Rhode, and they would be able to be away from the ocean they’d grown to hate sailing on. He shuddered at the thought—across the sea had been an unforgiving and unforgettable journey; if they found the Rhode, they would not have to endure that ordeal again.

The first step, however, was trampling through the desert in the direction he thought was right. Now a few days journey beyond the westernmost homes of the most withdrawn hermits, even the silhouette of the largest mountain of Tenpravih no longer visible. Out here existed nothing but the wilderness, (and hopefully the Rhode) the grasslands even fading to the beginnings of the deep desert. While the pair of Mahi pulled the traveler, their footing shifted, the sand turning from stretches of hard packed and rocky to soft and hilly. There were hours when sweat poured from the three of them, falling into the waves of heat that rippled off of the dunes. The Matoran would watch them, before looking into his wagon, unsure on how many more days he could travel in this direction before being forced to turn back.

The nights were cool, where the extremes of the day gave way to the comfort of the stars. While his steeds rested, the Matoran would lay on the dunes, watching the constellations in the blackness. His Akaku contained starcharts from previous adventures, and he would compare where the stars rested in the sky; most nights, however, he would just gaze up, seeing what made the night milky. The Red Star still was up there, hanging stoically amongst the whiter stars, while bursts of the cosmos were plastered against the sky for his viewing pleasure.

He would lay like this, watching the nights, until he fell asleep. In his slumber he would dream, most nights of how he first came to the Tenpravihn shores…

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