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'Gator Got 'em
My brother and I were the first ones in my family born in New Jersey, the rest are Philadlephia natives. My mother often says that growing up, the only grass she ever saw was the stuff that grew in the cracks of the pavement. I remember the rest of the family thinking of us as "Jersey Hicks" who "live out in the sticks".
Philly people love the summer where they sit in their cars for hours trying to drive to the Jersey Shore, only to sit in that traffic again on Sunday.We never needed that because with the creek in the yard, we went fishing and boating. Many had jets skis or water skis. It was fun. Being born in July gave me the perfect opportunity to torture my family at my birthday parties.
On my 10th birthday, we had a huge BBQ. The men were fishing, the women were cooking, the kids ran around.. and the teens were laying out in the sun. I was feeding bread to the ducks in the creek. Dozens would flock over once you start throwing it.
All of a sudden, a duck got pulled under the water and never came back up. The other ducks freaked out and flew away. Everyone froze and eyes widened. The "City Folk" were confused. I knew it was probably a snapper turtle under the water that got the duck. But after a minute, the gasps started.
"What the hell was that?"
"Hey, where'd it go?"
My response? "'Gator got 'em." They wanted to call me a hick.. I'd show them a hick. They didn't know whether to believe me or not.
"Wha... what do you mean, gator? You mean alligator?"
I laughed, "Yeah. People think they are only in Florida, but they ain't. We got our own kind right here. You do know the movie Jaws was based on a true shark in NJ right? It was in a creek just like this one. So I guess it could have been a shark... but my money is on a gator."
Jaws dropped, then a seen straight out of the movie happened, "Get out of the water! Hurry! Get out of the water!" Those in the boats all paddled to shore.
Then I heard someone say, "I'm going home to get my gun. An alligator would make a cool belt and matching wallet."
My mother came out yelling at me. (Big shock there) What are you telling them? Why are you torturing them? They weren't sure to believe me or her... but they didn't go back in the water.
I still don't know what mom was so upset about. She tortured use kids without even considering it. At least I did it on purpose. Here's an example. Friday the 13th came in 1980 when I was six years old. Somehow ... don't ask me how... my mother thought this was appropriate material for a child to watch.
A masked serial killer living on a lake (like the one in my backyard) and the woods (like the one across the street from my house) was never expected to give a six and seven year old kid pause? Never meant to cause nightmares? Here's another example of the mental child abuse my mother cause (i say that jokingly of course)......
We lived an hour from the Jersey shore.... she took us there for the summer.. and on the boardwalk is a theater. WHAT movie do you think she took us to see? JAWS II. Then wanted to know why we didn't want to go back on the beach.
I swear I couldn't make this up! But I loved the "gator" story so much that I added it inot the story of The Creek: Where Stories of the Past Come Alive. That story is included in my boxset with Newborn Nazi and Tower of Tears.
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