Seaside Heights is a small town that for years has suffered from a big image problem, real or imagined.

However the Seaside Heights I grew up in was magical and there was no better place to be a teenager in the 70s.  I moved there in the winter of 1967 just before my 11th birthday and it was against my wishes for what that was worth.

I was born and raised in Rockaway Beach, New York which was a pretty great place at the time surrounded by both the bay and ocean. My father was getting more involved in the amusement games business in Seaside and wanted to settle there instead of going back and forth so we made the move.

Entering a new school in the middle of the year was not easy but the teacher and principal was Hugh J. Boyd who was a family friend so that helped.  It did not take long to be introduced to my 6th grade classmates as there were only about 13 of them who made fun of my New York accent and quickly gave me the nickname “boss.” That was a word I used to describe something that was cool. I guess I used it a lot.

By the way my one and only year in that school (which was located in what is now a parking lot behind the Aztec Motel) was the last before they opened a brand new one that would bear Mr. Boyd’s name.  I just missed out!

Growing up in Seaside Heights was simply the best, especially during the school year.  We hung out at Terry’s Sweet Shoppe, played touch football in the parking lot of the church and had our own baseball field behind the old Barnegat Ice House which sold the best and coldest soda found anywhere. My personal favorite was the clear cream soda and what I would give to be able to walk into the big cooler and grab one now.

You knew everyone in town (and everyone knew you) and we had pretty much everything we needed: places to eat, a bakery, drug stores, hardware store, a bank, two gas stations and the beach.  Heck in the summer there were two movie theaters that we could walk to and I remember being about 14 when a bunch of us snuck into our first R-rated movie at the old Stand Theatre.

Most of us worked in the summer on the beach or boardwalk which was awesome because we rode bikes or walked while our high school friends from Central Regional always had to get a ride.  We had it all and in truth felt a bit special because those pineys were at times envious of us clam diggers.

A lot has changed but even time can’t take away your memories and mine are ones I would not change for anything.