Supporting our Kids

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4-11-2009_020As most parents do, we’ve always tried to be very supportive of our three children, and all their activities. When they were little, that meant attending practices and games as they played sports through the Mineola Athletic Association. T-Ball, Soccer, Little League, and for one freezing season, roller hockey with oldest son Billy! All three of them were involved with the 4-11-2009_036Mineola High School Marching Band (Billy played the Quad Drums, Krissi the Mellowphone, and Kenny was a Drum Major), so our job was to make sure they got to practices and to travel to weekly Marching Band Competitions all over Long Island, and New York State to support the band. Hey, it’s what we think parents should do!

As they got into High School, Krissi and Kenny started to get involved in the drama program…Krissi behind the scenes and Kenny performing. Again, we made sure they had a way to and from rehearsals, and attended all of the performances. Then Kenny started to get involved in outside productions, and we made sure that we attended those too! In his last two years of high school, Kenny went half a day to the Nassau County High School of Performing Arts. Now there were shows at Mineola High School and several other venues around Long Island, and again we went to support our kid.

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When the 3 of them went off to college, our participation wasn’t as called for. Don’t think Bill would have really liked us sitting in on one of his Journalism Classes at the Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, nor would have Krissi enjoyed us tagging along to a Women’s Study class at Clark University, but then there was Kenny, majoring in Musical Theater at Pace University, across from City Hall in Manhattan!

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Yes, there were many productions during his time at Pace that we attended. If our kid was going to try a business as public as this, we felt we had a responsibility to continue the support we’d practiced all their lives! One summer he got a part in a small Off Off Broadway show, that ran for just a couple of performances in Manhattan, and of course the whole family showed up to support him in that! It was July, we had to drive back from vacation to attend, it was about 105 degrees in the city, the subways were on strike, but Mom and Dad and brother and sister were there! Hey, it’s what we The D’Elias do!

Then he got a part in his first National Tour, for the show The Great American Trailer img_1741Park, The Musical. Well, of course we went off again, driving to Connecticut, upstate New York, and every other place the tour stopped that was within driving distance! Next he spent close to 2 years in the National Tour of the Broadway musical Annie! Yes, the sun did come up tomorrow, and Mom and Dad, brother and sister, and even Grandmas journeyed across the Northeast to see the show!!

dsc00410Over the years we’ve traveled by car, plane, and even boat to see him perform! We traveled to Janesville, Wisconsin twice in 3 months…once with the whole family to see him as Sammy in the Wedding Singer and a couple of months later, in a blizzard to see him as Mr. Shellhammer in Miracle on 34th Street. We flew to Chicago and drove to Warsaw, Indiana IMG_0190the week after Thanksgiving to see him star as Jean Shepard in A Christmas Story, the Musical at the Wagon Wheel Theater. Then, when he got the part of Amos Hart in the musical Chicago, aboard the world’s largest cruise ship (at the time), Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, we just had to sail to support him! In fact, while he was on that contract, we sailed twice! Once just Mom and Dad, but the second time sister and brother and fiancé came along too! We D’Elias do believe in being supportive!

So, this is all just a preamble to give you some background as to why, Susie and I are again traveling to support our kids! This time its Kenny and his husband Chris, and unlike traveling to the cold midwest in the middle of December, we will be heading to sunny Texas and another Royal Caribbean ship! Kenny is one of the lead singers and Chris is one of the lead dancers on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas sailing out of Galveston, to the Western Caribbean! We’ll be spending two weeks on the ship (I mean, we’re very supportive) with Our Boys, and my cousins Jeanne and Walt will be joining us for week one!

img_0207We’ll see both Kenny and Chris in Saturday Night Fever, where Kenny is featured as Father Frank Junior. Chris is normally one of the featured dancers, but due to a cast member illness, we expect him to be playing Double J during our cruises! We are looking forward to seeing him step up to the plate, and hit a homer as img_1007Double J!! Then it will be time for the Cyrc type show, In The Air, where Kenny is one of the stars of the show and Chris a featured dancer and aerialist. Rounding out the performances are two offerings just featuring one of the boys. During the 70’s Street Party on the Royal Promenade, Kenny performs with one of the female singers in the 70’s Set! Then, during a new parade that we haven’t seen before, Chris is the Admiral of the Fleet and runs the whole thing! So looking forward to that as it’s brand new, and something we’ve never seen before!

The boys are in the last month or so of a contract with Royal that has lasted for close to a year, and we are so looking forward to spending time with them, and watching them as they perform. This is truly something that both Kenny and Chris love, and when you sit in the audience and watch those two on stage, that love comes across! Can’t guarantee that we’ll be watching too many others on the stage, but know that we will be watching img_0615our sons with laser accuracy, because as it’s always been, there is nothing better than being there to support our kids, in whatever they do! Hell, if Bill or Krissi want to do a Take Your Parents to Work day, we’re there for it, but I doubt if they would! We’ve journeyed to North Carolina to watch our Granddaughter Layla’s dance recital and to Maryland to watch Mike’s niece Maddy dance, and we will continue to support all the performers in our family in whatever they do! There is nothing better!!

Our Next Two Weeks will include….

 

 

Our Front Porch

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Almost 15 years ago, when we saw our now forever home on Pennlyn Place in Ocean City, one of the first reactions we had upon seeing the house was, “What a nice front porch it has.” Funny, but back in 1986, when we first saw our house of 31 years in Mineola, we were taken by the fact that it too, had a lovely front porch. I guess we’re front porch people!

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The day we first saw our Mineola House in 1986.  That little boy in the picture is our oldest son Billy…father of three!

What surprises us is the number of people at the shore who obviously aren’t! We regularly drive by house after house with beautiful front porches in Ocean City, Ventnor, Margate, Longport, Sea Isle City, etc, and the one common thing we see are empty porches! Hot nights, cold nights, perfect temperature nights..it’s all the same. The other common thread is the blue glow of the big screen TV lighting the living room! We find it sad that so few porches are used these days, especially considering the locations!

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The day we decided to buy 854..Susie and me and our friend Pat Grosskopf

As I said, when we first saw 854 Pennlyn we loved the porch, but we hadn’t seen it’s true potential yet! When we bought the house, it was already equipped with awnings, and when we put them up that first spring, we were amazed at what a change they made. They seemed to make the porch bigger, and definitely turned what we’d liked before as a porch, into an extra room! As the previous owners had taken their porch furniture with them, we made the first of many trips to Cape May Wicker and outfitted the porch with an army of chairs.

As the years went by, we added more things, and a few years ago, Susie got something she’d wanted for years…a sofa on the porch! We were lucky one fall to wander into Cape May Wicker on a “just looking” trip and found a wonderful deal on a 3 cushion wicker sofa and a perfect coffee table in their clearance center! Add a rug, rearrange a couple of our porch chairs, and we had a perfect two room porch, with both a sitting area and a dining area!

Our Two Room Porch with Sofa and new Dining Set

But we were not done yet! On another one of those “just looking” trips at Cape May Wicker, we found the perfect dining set, and again it was in their clearance center! Then just before last summer, we changed out our old Kmart type cooler for an incredible Yeti Model…the last cooler we’ll ever buy!

Just a word about the cooler. Years ago, when we were renting from our friend Denise on Asbury Avenue, her porch was also one of our favorite places to spend our rental weeks. We noticed that at a house across the street, the owners always had a cooler on the front porch, filled with beer and the like. We loved that idea, and when we started outfitting the porch, we added a cooler to the mix. It was perfect because it freed up lots of space in the refrigerator, and a cold drink was always near at hand! We stole their idea, but then we took it to the next level, by adding a drainage system to our cooler. A hose that goes down the side of the house, and a valve that lets us open and close it, making changing out ice as simple as can be!

Over the years, our porch has been the site of so many happy memories. From just Susie and I, to time spent with our family, and time spent with our Ocean City family! From the moment we open it up in the spring, right around Memorial Day, to the day we decide in the fall it’s time to power wash the furniture and put it away for the winter, it is our choice location in our home!

Even at Christmas time, our porch comes into play. Just like we did in Mineola for years…
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The porch at 854 Pennlyn might not be available for partying during the holidays, but it definitely says Christmas!!

Take a look at some happy memories through the years. From our Family to our Ocean City Family, to our visitors and extended family…everybody ends up on the porch!

Our last word on this topic…If you have a porch at your house, use it! It’s too important a resource to ignore!

FAREWELL TO AN OLD FRIEND

Several of our recent blog posts have been about some of our favorite, multi generational restaurants near us here in Ocean City.  We’ve talked about Charlie’s Bar and Restaurant in Somers Point (3rd Generation) and Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern in Atlantic City (3rd and 4th Generation), but what happens when the family isn’t interested in continuing to run a restaurant, and the land the business sits on is worth more than the restaurant? Well, Ocean city is no stranger to that phenomenon, and that’s why the legendary take-out seafood place Campbells ,on Asbury in the 30s, is no longer with us, as well as Sims Seafood on the Boardwalk, and Watsons and Bookers on 9th Street.  All of these places were thriving businesses well into the 80s, but today, not one location is still a restaurant of any kind!  Add another name to that list…Mildred’s of Strathmere.

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Opened in 1952, Mildred’s has been a seasonal restaurant in Strathmere with a huge clientele of regular visitors.  With a menu that goes from a traditional turkey dinner, to a huge prime rib, to great seafood, to just about every Italian dish you can think of, the menu has something for everybody!  That’s why when our son-in-law Mike’s family joined us Fourth of July week, 2018, it was the perfect place to go for dinner with 10 people!

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It was the perfect place to go with our Maryland Family!

It’s also been a great place to go with our Pennlyn Gang, at the very least once a year.  Great memories of great meals, great friends, and great fun!!

Then there was the night our neighbor John Griffith was with us and brought an old bottle of wine to try.  The cork broke into the bottle, the hostess took it into the kitchen and had it strained, and you can just tell what her opinion is of it when John tries his first…and only, glass!

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Tonight we verified that what we’d heard was true.  Mildred’s will be open till Sunday, September 15th, and when it closes that night for the season, that will be the end for the restaurant!  When we heard that 2 weeks ago from our friend Dale Nicholas, we knew we wanted to get there before it closed. When several friends told us the same thing last week, we immediately made a reservation for tonight!  Counting tonight, this was our third time there this year.  Here’s a look at our last night at Mildred’s!

Of course, being it was our last meal ever at Mildred’s, we had to go traditional.  A cup of She Crab Soup for Susie and New England Clam Chowder for me, and the great house salad you get with Blue Cheese crumbles…except when we’re there with Chris Maiden.  Then for our meal…the traditional Turkey Dinner…roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, and last but not least, gravy.  Feast your eyes..

It’s sad to say good-bye, but totally understandable when the family is done with a restaurant, and the land is worth more than the business itself.  For over 60 years they’ve run the restaurant, they deserve whatever profit they can make on their investment, and tonight they get a hearty Bravo from us for going out in style!  As usual, a great meal!  You’d never know tonight from the staff’s performance or the food, that the end was near!

Good Bye Mildreds…we will miss you!

Here’s a newspaper article with more details….

http://www.ocsentinel.com/news/local/mildred-s-will-serve-final-meal-this-week/article_37642814-d495-11e9-b0d1-175507c3be53.html?mode=jqm

Memories

Two things are happening at the end of this month, that in the last couple of days, have made me think back to happenings of September of 1979. The first thing is that Susie and I are going on a two week cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, where Our Boys, Kenny and Chris are in their last months of a year long contract. The second thing that’s happening towards the end of the month, is that Susie and I will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the day we joined our lives together.

What this made me think about, is the first week of our Honeymoon, which started on September 30th, 1979. We got married at the Interfaith Chapel at CW Post College (where we’d both attended) on Saturday, September 29th, 1979. The next day, our Honeymoon started on the Holland American Line’s cruise ship, the SS Volendam. Unusual for those days, this was a Sunday to Sunday cruise to Bermuda, not the usual Saturday to Saturday schedule. Because of the Sunday sail away, a large percentage of the folks on the cruise were newly married couples.

Now, unlike today, when cruise ships are huge floating cities, with thousands and thousands of passengers (The Liberty, while by no means one of the biggest ships in Royal’s fleet, still sails with 4000 passengers), 40 years ago, the Volendam was a much smaller ship, with but 400 passengers on it’s manifest. Because of it’s Sunday sailing, fully half of the passengers were married couples! That means we were one of 100 newly married couples, sailing from New York to Bermuda on Sunday, September 30th, 1979!

Cruising in those days was very different from the luxurious accommodations a new bride and groom might enjoy today. First, there were still more bunk beds in the cabins than there were full size beds…forget King Beds. We were very lucky that we booked our cruise early, through a travel agent that Susie knew, and we had one of the few full sized beds on the ship! In addition, there were also no Specialty Restaurants on the ship, you ate every meal in the dining room, at your assigned table. That’s really where my memory comes into play.

Our Dining Room assignment had us at a table for eight, and we were one of four couples assigned to that table. It was no big surprise to us, that with the large percentage of newly married couples on this sailing, all four couples were newlyweds. But, it doesn’t end there. All 4 couples had been married on Saturday September 29th. Again, no great surprise, since this was about the only cruise ship sailing to Bermuda from New York on a Sunday. What was surprising was not that we all shared the 9/29/79 wedding date, but that for all four of us, our Wedding Song was Billy Joel’s, Just the Way You Are!

As we approach our 40th Anniversary, Susie and I just hope that our tablemates are still together, and still as much in love as the two of us are. Susie, 40 years later, I Still Love You Just the Way You are!!

Travel Plans are afoot in the D’Elia Household

Later this month, Susie and I will be hitting the road again. Well, that’s not totally honest, what we will be doing is hitting the road, the air, and the seas, as we journey from Ocean City to the Philadelphia International Airport (the road portion), and from there fly via American Airlines to Houston, Texas (the air portion), then take an Uber or Lyft from George Bush International Airport to Galveston, Texas (another road portion), where we will meet up with Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas (obviously, the sea portion). Sorry you asked?

As you will recall, youngest son Kenny and his husband Chris are Entertainers on the Liberty of the Seas, and we sign on towards the end of this month for another 2 week back-to-back visit with Our Boys. By the time we leave the ship, they will have less than a month left on their contract, and not knowing if they will do another contract on a ship, this may be our last time to sail with them. We are, of course, looking forward to seeing the boys, watching them perform, and experiencing the various ports they’ve been traveling to since they signed on early this year, but this trip will be different than any other of the many cruises we’ve been on with them. That’s because this time, we won’t be alone!

While we will spend 2 weeks on the ship, for week one we will be joined by my cousin Jeanne Pratt and her husband Walt! Jeanne is the daughter of my Mom’s 2 year younger brother Bill, and grew up in Chicago. We didn’t spend a lot of time together as kids, but she has to be the person in the world that has known me longer than anyone else in my life. There were trips to Chicago for me, and visits from her family to New York, and a couple of memorable Family Vacations in Florida. As often happens, as we all got older, and life picked up pace, we drifted apart. 40 years ago, Jeanne and Walt were at our wedding, but after that, our connections were very sporadic. The sad part was that Walt spent 25 years in the Navy, and they lived for most of that time in Connecticut as Walt was in the Submarine Service. After he retired from the Navy, that’s where their home stayed, so for the better part of our married lives, the 4 of us were less than 100 miles apart!

After years of not being in each other’s lives, about 5 or 6 years ago, we met mid way between Long Island and their Connecticut home for lunch. We had a great lunch but mostly we talked…so much so that the restaurant folks looked like they were going to throw us out so they could begin setting up for dinner! Since that rekindling, we have visited them in their Florida home in Barefoot Bay, they’ve stayed with us in Ocean City, we’ve had dinner with them while in Disney World with the boys, they’ve visited us in Indian Rocks Beach, and every time the result is the same..we talk, and talk, and talk and talk!

Last year, Jeanne wondered if there might be some place we could vacation together. Shortly after we booked our back-to-back cruise for this month (a back-to-back is taking the same room for two different cruise itineraries, making the two one week cruises in essence a two week cruise), she called and wondered if we’d like some company for the first week. Sounded like a great idea to us, so we are now adding cruising as yet another way we are spending time together. We’re not going to be tied at the hip, but we will be eating and drinking together a lot (food and drink packages ordered), seeing the boys in the shows (by the way, they will get to meet each other for the first time), and just hanging out and talking! Imagine that!

Stay tuned as we continue with more pre-travel arrangements!