Today would have been my Father's 91st birthday. Whenever I think of my Dad I often remember the fun times my family shared fishing, crabbing, and at the shore in Long Beach.
My parents began crabbing at Benjamin Beach in Bayshore while they still lived in Manhattan. Some years later my grandmothers doctor suggested that a vacation near the shore would benefit her health. So my folks began exploring the south shore of L.I. for vacation spots.
In the summer of 1960 they decided on renting a bungalow on Pennsylvania Avenue in Long Beach. In the years that followed we rented a bungalow on Alabama Avenue.
Eventually my grandparents bought a bungalow on Wyoming Avenue. It was there we met the Donnellys our neighbors a few doors down.
The Donnellys were from the Bronx and like us sought the Long Beach shoreline to escape the hot city summers.
The Donnelly boys enjoyed stickball so my father painted bases on the street and installed himself as team manager. Frequently he would call a timeout as the Mr Softee truck was passing so he could treat the team to dip cones.
On weekends he'd announce we were going fishing. My sister and I would pile in the station wagon joined by Allie, Robbie and Billy Donnelly.
Off we'd go to fish on the bridge next to Peters Clam Bar in Island Park. When the fishing got slow my father would treat everyone to breakfast at the Texas Ranger restaurant.
Eventually we moved from the city and became year round residents of Long Beach.
Often our friend Bobby Kaplan would come out for the weekend and join us for some crabbing and fishing. He always got a kick out of catching and steaming the crabs.
Fishing for snappers was always a family favorite! I taught my niece Lauren how to cast and work a popper. She was a natural. In fact I may have taught her too well - I only outfished her by two snappers on that trip!
Occasionally we'd rent a skiff and fish for fluke in Reynold's Channel.
One Fathers Day I surprised my Dad with a family trip on a charter boat for fluke.
We had a lot of fun fishing through the years. Though not every fishing trip went off without a hitch.
I'll never forget the time my father, brother in law Charlie and I climbed out on a jetty in the middle of a December night to fish for stripers.
As were rigging up our tackle my father lowered the bait trap containing our eels. Unfortunately he forgot to latch it!
Our eels departed for points unknown which left three frozen fishermen without a piece of bait between us. You can bet we gave him a good ribbing over that!