Sunday, August 9, 2015

Act 2 Episode 3 Lynda Van Devanter and the Nurses

Act 2 Episode 3 - Lynda and the Nurses
Image result for The Dunes till dawn
Squinting from the garish sun as it rose over Margate, Lynda Van Devanter and her boyfriend "JJ" walked out of the Dunes a little after 8 am on the morning after the Rock & Roll Turns Ten Party, each sporting fresh blue t-shirts that read "Bayshores" on the front and on the back,"Dunes 'til Dawn" with a rising sun they had won in the dance contest earlier that night.

They were with fellow nursing students Barbara and Gigi, walking across the vast now nearly empty parking lot to Lynda's black '61 Chevy Nova convertible with its top down and all piled in and Lynda drove across the Ocean Drive bridge to Ocean City, having to make the first significant decision of the day - should they go back to their rooming house or hit the beach?

The beach won a hands down unanimous decision, though JJ didn't vote, he would go with whatever the girls decided. John Joseph Smith was a local boy from nearby Tuckahoe in Upper Township and attended Ocean City high school before enlisting in the Army. A buck sergeant who just returned from a year long deployment in Vietnam, JJ was on leave until Labor Day when he had to report to his unit at Fort Dix.

Lynda parked on the street a half block from the boardwalk and carrying their blankets and beach chairs they walked across the boards, past the hippies gathering at Shrivers Pavilion and taking their shoes off, walked through the cool, soft sand that would soon be hot from the sun. Setting their blankets down in their preferred spot next to the huge black granite boulders of the jetty they surveyed the scene around them and of the hundred or so people already on the beach they could recognize some of them from the Anchorage, Tony Marts, Bay Shores and Dunes the night before.

 Image result for Ocean City 9th Street Beach lifeguard stand

It wasn't long before Chris and Katie - the mayor's daughters came by and set up in their spot nearby. They all had met there on the beach on Memorial Day and became fast friends and Lynda regaled the sisters with stories of what occurred the previous night - Seven for a dollar beers at the Anchorage, the Hawks and Bill Haley and the Comets at Tony Marts, the JoDMars at Steels, Tido Mambo and the Meshias of Soul and the unscheduled appearance of Sam the Sham and the Pharos at Bay Shores and the dance contest at the Dunes. The sisters were annoyed they missed it all.

The unwritten but respected beach rule was to keep radios off in the morning so people could sleep, and after a little cat nap JJ woke up and picking up a medical text book began quizzing the girls, as they had graduated from Mercy Hospitsl nursing school in Baltimore, they were preparing for their state board exams.

Among those who came by to say hello to the girls were the lifeguards when they came on duty, Jim Croce, one of the hippies with his guitar, who knew JJ from when he was in the Army reserves at Ft. Dix, and Silvio, a young Italian law student kicking a soccer ball.

Jim sat down on the blanket and told JJ he was writing a song about their drill sergeant at Ft. Dix - Big Bad Leroy Brown. JJ laughed and said he had to go back to Dix and report for duty on Labor Day.

Image result for Ocean City 9th Street Beach

After noon, as the beach filled up with college kids and the radios came on, Jim commented on the city commissioners wanting to ban music on the beach and Boardwalk. "First they close the beaches at night so we can't sleep there and now they want to ban music all together? What's this world coming to?," he asked rhetorically, though no one responded. Then Katie said their father was against the resolution - it was an infringement on free speech he argued, but the other commissioners were adamant. About two in the afternoon, while JJ, the sisters and the nurses kicked the soccer ball around the waters edge with Silvio, Lynda took a dip in the gentle breakers and then gave Jim and his guitar a ride across the causeway to Somers Point and dropped him off at the Anchorage Tavern where he was to finish writing his song while Lynda went to work in the emergency room at Shore Memorial Hospital a few blocks away.

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