If you grew up in this part of New Jersey, you might refer to yourself as a beach person. That’s mildly true, but the people who are real beach people are the ones who hail from Sea Bright and similar towns dotted along the Jersey coast.
My Dad was born and raised in Sea Bright, Mom in Long Branch on the west side of town. They started dating during their high school years and never looked back. She always said,” I am not a Sea Brighter,” though I am not quite sure what that meant. As a kid, my Dad worked at Fowlers and the Post Office. He was likely involved in any trouble that happened in town between 1945 – 1955 as well. While he was a qualified beach person, he never went to the beach. See, he had his shin removed from his leg from an operation, and it wasn’t pretty to look at, so he wore long pants all the time. The beach is not an excellent destination for the long pants, working uniform type, or someone who looks like they survived a shark attack.
Our house was 2 miles from the beach, but I was neither a Sea Brighter nor a beach person. To us, we were inland too far to be real beach people. Our yard wasn’t sand, it was grass. My sister would sit out in the sun in our backyard.
Now I live 7 miles inland and feel like a satellite to the dwindling numbers of real beach people. As times change, so do people. Today everybody East of rt35 thinks they are a beach person, which dilutes the quality of real beach people. They will tell you all about the shore, waves, and storms like the water was lapping up against their back porch. It was more likely they were watching the weather on TV then living it by opening the window.
Real beach people are dwindling as times pass, and these towns change. Get to know one and ask a few questions about the old days and what Sea Bright or some similar town was like before the gold rush.