I think most people would agree that Seaside Heights is a town that is often not portrayed in a positive light.

Whether that image is deserved or not is a different story but in fairness officials have been working very hard in recent years to try and portray the one-mile resort town in a more positive fashion and have had some success.  Hopefully they can build on that in the years to come and change the opinions of both locals and visitors alike.

However it was not always like that and the Seaside Heights I grew up in during the 1960’s and 70s was a town envied by others.  It was almost a perfect place where everyone looked out for one another and many of those who had summer businesses lived there on a year-round basis.

I’ve been thinking of that since Chris Mesanko and I engaged in a back-and-forth dialogue via Facebook.  He is a couple of years older than me and we found ourselves waxing poetic about the people and places that made Seaside Heights such a great community, especially for kids.

We had the old elementary school near the boardwalk where Mr. Boyd was not only my 6th grade teacher but the principal.  We both remember well the “Sweet Shoppe” on the Boulevard with Terry and Mr. White.  Many of us had “charge accounts” so if we did not have any money for a hamburger or soda they would write the amount in a little notebook and we would pay at the end of the week.

Once my account got up to around $20 and Terry cut me off and let my father know.  He paid my account and permanently closed it at the same time.

We had Sinn’s Diner, Wiener’s Department Store, McDevitt’s Hardware Store, Sid’s Pharmacy, Peluso’s Market, Barney’s Restaurant, the Ocean County Review newspaper, two bakeries, three gas stations, two movie theatres right over the Seaside Park border, the iconic Barnegat Ice House and too many bars to mention.   Looking back, we had it all and I didn’t even bring up the beach and boardwalk.

Times may have changed but memories do last a lifetime and my memories of growing up in Seaside Heights are ones I will always treasure.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything.