This island I was talking about has an interesting history itself. During colonial times, the entire state was settled, and Long Beach Island was home to a specific tribe of the Lenape Indians. The island is fourteen miles long and roughly a mile off the coast of the mainland, and there were no bridges, there were no motorized boats, there was no walkway—the only connection between the mainland was the canoes the Native Americans made from the trunk of the great oak. Much controversy surrounds the shifts in inhabitants from Native Americans to the Colonial settlers, but one thing is agreed upon: somehow…some way, the slaughter of an entire tribe of Native Americans occurred, and a mass burial took place on the southern tip of the isle. Some say it was syphilis that took down the tribe, others think it was a severe hurricane, some say the settlers who valued land for fishing and farming and agriculture decided to head over to the island in middle of the night and execute every Indian in sight. There is no evidence of exactly what happened, but people who live on the island sometimes report that sometimes, late at night, they can almost hear the wails of the dead echoing from that burial site.
N has spent his summers in Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, New Jersey since he was born. The tiny town was established in the late 19th century and holds incredibly rich and often, dark history in the original structures that still stand. Many Victorian buildings still exist, which gives the beach town a unique flair. A popular pastime of teenagers on the island is to bike ride at night to the various, rumored-to-be-haunted locations and scare each other. Thus, the telling of ghost stories is prevalent in the childhoods of the children who grew up on the island. N’s grandfather told him the story of the slaughter of the Lenape Indians on LBI, and is another ghost story that was prevalent in his youth amongst his friends as they biked around in the dark.
This piece reminds me a little of the lost colony of Roanoke and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of its inhabitants. The unknown leads to peoples’ imaginations wandering, and it’s interesting that various theories were mentioned in this performance. It’s also interesting to consider the sordid past of this quaint beach town.
Now the island is settled, the Native Americans have mysteriously disappeared, and the colonial farmers begin to set up their crops, their homes, their barns, et cetera… Beach Haven is at the southern tip of the island near the mass burial site of the Native Americans, and all of Beach Haven was owned by a wealthy man his wife and their seven children who built a beautiful house in the center of their property. The white colonial home had four floors, a cellar, a porch swing for the family to sit on and watch the sunset every night, a couple balconies so they could see the waves crash from the top of the house, and even a pool in the backyard for them to cool down when the days got hot. And around the house they planted corn and tomatoes, wheat, erected a beautiful barn to house hay for their livestock. There was a chicken coop, a pen full of pigs, an open field for their horses, and a wooden silo. Years passed, and the father would pass down his farm plantation to his oldest son and then his son after him. And the island became more populated… more people flocked to the shore to spend time with their family. But water and erosion and unruly weather slowly made their crop less valuable than it once was so slowly they halted their agricultural practices, but their house still stands on the island and is older than the other houses and bigger than the other houses. The house stands between two streets: Liberty and Iroquois Avenue. The lot is huge but it always seems like no one is there. The shrubs and trees and weeds have overgrown and spill out onto the street into the lots of the neighbors homes, marring the image of this beautiful White House to somebody passing by. Sometimes when the moon is full and the night is quiet you can hear the porch swing creaking back-and-forth in the wind, reminiscent of the days of the man and his wife and their seven children lived there.
N has spent his summers in Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, New Jersey since he was born. The tiny town was established in the late 19th century and holds incredibly rich and often, dark history in the original structures that still stand. Many Victorian buildings still exist, which gives the beach town a unique flair. A popular pastime of teenagers on the island is to bike ride at night to the various, rumored-to-be-haunted locations and scare each other. Thus, the telling of ghost stories is prevalent in the childhoods of the children who grew up on the island. This house is arguably the most historical monument on the island, and since no one is ever seen there and there is never any car in the driveway, despite its hulking size, it is the most prevalent ghost story on the island. Many of N’s friends have tried to sneak onto the property, but no one has ever made it past the driveway.
Again, it is funny to me to see the creepy, ghost story twist added to the tales from this island. This house cannot simply be an old, abandoned house with rich history. It must be haunted and creepy, with a creaky porch swing being ridden by its many ghosts.
The days of farming have ended and the days of tourism have begun. Winter and spring awaken and summer begins. Busy people with busy lives from busy cities escape to Beach Haven. Today two twin homes stand at the intersections of Atlantic and Coral Street and Atlantic and Berkeley. They are larger than the homes around them. Each home features a sharp spire standing from the roof and an onion shaped rotunda called the Lotus Room. Both homes are now elegant bed-and-breakfasts, but they were once the summer residences of twin sisters. Built by their father as wedding presents, these two homes featured eight bedrooms each with its own character and charm. The young girls would get married and have plenty of children each and escape metropolitan life in Manhattan every summer in order to enjoy the soothing sounds of the waves by the seaside. If only the lives were as harmonious as this sound. Well… supposedly… the more attractive of the two sisters caught the eye of her sister’s husband and an illicit summer affair began. Lies were told and the two somehow evaded publicity for decade. They would crawl out of the balcony of their respective houses and meet on Pearl Street Beach and gush about their undying love for each other. Until one day, the man woke his wife accidentally on his descent from the Lotus Room and she caught him and her sister holding hands on their way up the Pearl Street Pavilion. Instead of calling them out right then she decided she have her own fun and made her way to her sisters home where her sister’s husband lay alone in his Lotus Room. She woke him seduced him and murdered him. Awaiting the return of her sister, she hid behind the armoire. When she heard her climbing back up the house to get into her room she emerged from her hiding spot and threw her sister down from the balcony. No one really knows what happened to her husband but I think it’s safe to say his end was just as painful as those of his lover and brother-in-law. My only advice is at all costs avoid the Lotus room.
N has spent his summers in Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, New Jersey since he was born. The tiny town was established in the late 19th century and holds incredibly rich and often, dark history in the original structures that still stand. Many Victorian buildings still exist, which gives the beach town a unique flair. A popular pastime of teenagers on the island is to bike ride at night to the various, rumored-to-be-haunted locations and scare each other. Thus, the telling of ghost stories is prevalent in the childhoods of the children who grew up on the island. These twin houses are the most prominent and well-recognized because of their rotundas and spires. It is popular to dare each other to spend a night in the bed and breakfast because of all the ghosts that are rumored to haunt the premises.
Of the four island ghost stories, this one seems the creepiest and most plausible, as two proven murders took place on the premises. I can understand why local youth would be fascinated and simultaneously scared by this story.
“Don’t let your meat loaf!”
G’s father used to say this to her as a child, which is why she began saying it, too. She thinks it is funny and it reminds her of her childhood, as well as her father. She says it often and enjoys when her family members say it, as well. She says it mostly as a joke and has never considered its meaning while saying it.
My mom said this to my dad and me all the time while I grew up. She would say it when we were leaving to go somewhere, like, for example, if my dad was leaving to go to the grocery store. She would call out after him, “Bye! Don’t let your meat loaf!”
This phrase never seemed strange to me, because I heard it all the time growing up. One time, I actually looked it up and was shocked and sort of horrified to learn its very sexual meaning. I didn’t even know it was a common phrase; I always thought it was just something my grandpa made up and circulated around the family.
“De är inte alla karlar som bär byxor.”
Swedish: All are not men that wear trousers.
G’s Scandinavian father used to say this to her and her siblings in Swedish while growing up. He immigrated to the United States from Sweden when he was young, and it was a phrase that he heard growing up. It’s a phrase that G repeated (albeit slightly butchered, as she does not speak Swedish) when she grew older, because it was relevant, reminded of her childhood and her father.
G’s father would say this to his five children to encourage them to break from the mold and be different. He said it to emphasize that his daughters could play sports and listen to rock music, and his son could design clothing and play musical instruments. He didn’t believe his kids had to do strictly things designated by society for their respective genders.
I love this phrase, and I think it is especially applicable in this age, where the previously-designated boundaries of gender are being pushed. Girls do not equal pink and boys do not equal blue. I think a variation of this proverb exists in every language and culture—not every woman has to be girly and not every man, manly.