Born and raised in Manchester Township and a lifelong resident of Ocean County, I've developed a keen sense of awareness of the similarities and differences between residents of the towns in our area.

While many things come and go, I tried compiling a list of the Top 10 things that have crossed generations of Manchester faithful.

Here are the 10 Signs You Grew Up in Manchester:

  • 10

    You Never Swam in Pine Lake

    You would think a neighborhood like Pine Lake Park would be known for the great memories of swimming in the lake that bears its name.  This is not the case.  For years Pine Lake went almost completely unused except for the bravest of souls.  The lake and park seem to have undergone a transformation in the past few years and the stigma is thankfully disappearing, but for generations of us it is a bit of a black hole.

  • 9

    You Swam in Sarco Lake

    Unlike Pine Lake, Sarco Lake was a right of passage - even though you weren't actually allowed to swim in it!  Let it be known that we are NOT condoning any illegal trespassing!

  • 8

    You Partied in the Woods

    OK… so Manchester is great, but there aren't too many places for the youth to socialize.  That's why many of our brethren chose to head into the woods to hang out.

  • 7

    You've Experienced The Smells of The Dump

    The funny thing about this is - most of us never even noticed the smell of the hot garbage in the summer wofting from just across the road - we were too used to it.  However, bring an un-initiated nose over on a hot August day and they will probably remind you of what we stopped noticing.

  • 6

    You Ran In The Turkey Trot

    The Thanksgiving tradition unlike any other - the Turkey Trot.  I was lucky enough to bring home a few apple pies and bags of fruit for 2nd place, but the elusive 1st place prize of the turkey was always just out of reach.

  • 5

    Stand By Me Day

    A staple of Manchester Middle School, 'Stand By Me Day' was part field day, part lecture day.  You knew it was coming because they replaced the standard "Pledge of Allegiance" with the addition of Timon & Pumba's version of "Stand By Me" for weeks leading up to it!

  • 4

    You Rode Your Bike In 'The Pits'

    Before being developed into what is now 'Renaissance' behind Holly Oaks, 'The Pits' was a wasteland where the kids brought their bikes (and where the bigger kids brought their dirt bikes).

  • 3

    MTES

    Your grade school experience was defined by being before, after or during the construction of MTES.  Many of us spent their first years in Whiting and others in Ridgeway, but a select few had the wonderful experience of spending half of kindergarten in the trailers of Whiting and transferring over to the brand new Manchester Township Elementary School.

  • 2

    You Went to Summer Camp at Harry Wright Lake

    It didn't matter what neighborhood you came from, we all united in Whiting for 2 months out of the year for summer camp.  Many of us even went on to work there as camp counselors.

  • 1

    Mr. Bee Was Your Bus Driver

    Whether in school or camp, it was always a great start to the year when you found out that Mr. Bee was your bus driver.  Always a character and one of the nicest people on the planet, he made riding the bus to school a fun experience.