Week 1

We’ve just spent the last seven days, sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, the ship our boys Kenny and Chris work on, and we were accompanied by my cousins, Jeanne and Walter Pratt. Our ports were Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman, and Falmouth, Jamaica. The trip worked out exactly like we’d hoped…we were together when we wanted, apart at other times. 

I’m not gonna do a play by play blog here, but mostly some annotated pictures of our week.  Sometimes we were all together, sometimes it was just part of the group, sometimes Jeanne and Walt went off on Shore Excursions alone, and sometimes Walt stayed on the ship, and Jeanne partied with us.  Take a look at a fun Family Week on the Liberty of the Seas!!

First, once we’d gotten on board the ship, it was time to head to the R Bar and some Texas Teas, then off to boat drill at our son Kenny’s station!

Then some family fun with Jamie at the piano in the Schooner Bar!!

We hit the casino….

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And then pregamed in the room before the Captain’s Cocktail Party!

We had dinners together….

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And burritos with the boys in Cozumel….

We loved watching Saturday Night Fever where Chris starred as Double J and Kenny as Father Frank Junior!

We ate at Johnny Rockets…

And enjoyed Grand Cayman!!

In Jamaica we spent the day at Margaritaville!

We enjoyed a beautiful Jamaican sunset from our balcony…..

And loved seeing Kenny do the 70s Set on the Royal Prominade. 

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We had Late night family time in the Schooner Bar….

And a parade on the Royal Promenade starring Christopher!!!

Of course, there was time for a few last drinks in the R Bar….

And a trip to the Platinum Theater to see Our Boys starring  in In The Air!!!

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There were other Family dinners

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And then it was time to say goodbye to Jeanne and Walt (sniff, sniff), but we spent our 40th Anniversary with the boys in Galveston….

And now we’re back at the R Bar ready to start week #2 on the beautiful Liberty of the Seas!!!

 

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To be continued……

 

 

September 29, 1979 – 40 Years!

 

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40 Years ago today, on the afternoon of Saturday September 29th, 1979, at the Interfaith Chapel on the C.W. Post College campus, Susie and I started what has truly been the Great Adventure of our lives! That day, in front of friends and family, we said our vows, and became a married couple.  Why the Interfaith Chapel on the CW Post College Campus? Well, unbeknownst to each other, we’d both gone to Post at the same time! While I was pursuing at Batchelor’s Degree in Music, Susie took her academic classes at Post while a student at Pilgrim State School of Nursing! A connection we never knew about till we started dating in 1977.

I’ve always believed that our union was destined to be, and firmly believe that it was no accident we were brought together by friends in at a July 4th Bar-B-Que. There clearly was a plan for our lives, and today we are still living out the script that was written in the stars!  She’s still my best friend, the one I want to be with when I’m down, the one I want to celebrate with when I’m up, the one who kicks me in the ass when I need it, and the single most important person in my life.  She’s also the best caregiver in the world, as I experienced when I had my knee replaced in July! We don’t live our lives like others do, and that’s all right with us.  It’s our life, and we love it!

The last 40 years have truly been Our Great Adventure! Between buying and selling houses, raising children, going through the sickness and death of parents, working through our health issues, watching all three of our kids walk down the aisle, and ultimately becoming Grand Parents, I have trouble believing it’s been 40 years! In my mind’s eye, I can still see that scared girl walking down the aisle of the Interfaith Chapel with her Dad  like it was yesterday (I would like to forget the brown tuxedos, but hell, it was the 70s!).

I freely admit that we’re dreamers and so far, they’ve all come true!   My life has been a dream, because of the lady I’ve spent it with!  I love you now and forever Susie, and I thank God for bringing us together, and for giving us a wonderful life, filled with wonderful kids and grandkids, and friends that are like family!

My life has been special because you’ve been in it! Thanks for the most wonderful 40 years anybody could ever hope for! The Adventure continues…..

 

We Made It!

After a good night’s sleep at the Philadelphia Airport’s Embassy Suites, and a shuttle ride to Terminal C, we actually made it on the 8:30 American flight to Houston!!!  And guess what…we were able to reclaim our paid for First Class seats!!  I’ve finally learned that if you keep asking enough people, you’ll eventually get the answer you want!

The flight was uneventful and even about a half hour shorter than scheduled!  Oh, one funny thing….the meal they served us. I thought I misunderstood the Flight Attendant when she told us what it was, but then found out that she did indeed say a Granola and Strawberry Sandwich on a roll!  Huh???   In what realm is that a sandwich??  Oh well, two Bloody Marys helped a bit!

It was hot when we exited George Bush International Airport in Houston to wait for our Lyft.  In the 90s and sunny, but a lot of clouds in the area. In a few minutes our ride arrived and we were off. It’s some distance from the airport to Galveston, and the ride took about 90 minutes.  We had to detour a bit because of some remaining problems from the 43 inches of rain, but we weren’t driving, so all was well!

We’re staying at the Harbor House Hotel, on Pier 21, on the waterside of Harborside Drive.  It’s a nice hotel, created out of an old commercial building.  It’s a great location, just a couple of blocks from the cruise terminals and the historic Strand neighborhood.  

Luckily, even though we were early for check in, Glenn at the front desk found us a room, and we got to change out of our flying clothes, and into something more fitting for the Galveston temperature!  Still hungry after our Granola Sandwiches, we enjoyed the 2 club sandwiches we’d bought at the airport when we still thought we were flying coach.  Thank God we had them!

Then it was off to the Strand, an area we’d explored with our boys when we were here in March!

We purchased 2 bottles of Prosecco for tomorrow’s Sail-away, stopped for a couple of Pina Coladas when the rains came, and Susie shopped a bit – she got a visor and I got a t-shirt.  When the rain stopped, we headed back the couple of blocks to the hotel, and just as we were walking into the entrance, the rain started again!!  

After watching the Carnival Dream leaving Galveston from our hotel window, we got a text that my cousins Jeanne and Walt had arrived in Galveston, and now our traveling party is complete!  Tomorrow we board the Liberty of the Seas, and share Our Boys for week one of our 2 week cruise with them!!

But tonight, our last pre-cruise event, dinner right next door at Willie G’s, as the 4 of us reunite for the first time since we saw them last February at their house in Florida!   Let’s just say, a good time was had by all!

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So, all things being equal, our view tonight should be of Pier 21 in Galveston, Texas, but instead, thanks to a Tropical Storm named Imelda, and the 40 plus inches of rain she dumped on Southeast Texas, our view is instead of the atrium of the Embassy Suites hotel at the Philadelphia Airport!!!

Our original plan was to leave home this morning, and be on American’s 12:30 flight to George Bush International Airport in Houston. That was till we got the notification last night, while having dinner at Angelo’s, that today’s flight had been canceled!   They booked us on a flight tomorrow morning at 8:30, and we lost our First Class seats, but got two together in the Main Cabin!  Just hope we don’t have to fight to get the difference between First Class and Main Cabin returned!!  Rather than leave home before the sun rises in the morning, we decided to drive in tonight,  and stay at the airport!  A little bummed, but hey, we’re still TSA Pre!  

Fingers crossed everything goes right, and this time tomorrow we are indeed at the Harbor House Hotel at Pier 21 in Galveston!   Come on now…let’s see those fingers crossing!!

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See you in Texas! 

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