WAYNE CREED: Thank You Clelia — You Woke My Soul

Retiring Arts Enter Director Clelia Sheppard

Retiring Arts Enter Director Clelia Sheppard

Cape Charles Wave

March 9, 2015

Some years ago, fairly new to Cape Charles, I walked into a cold Palace Theatre to take part in a poetry slam that was being hosted by Chris Bannon and the Friends of the Cape Charles Library. As usual I was unshaven, probably a bit hung over, and dressed in flannel and a wool beanie — I must have looked like one of the dock worker extras from On the Waterfront.

As I took a seat and waited for the reading to begin, two elegant, beautiful women entered and sat down. I thought to myself that they must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, or just had the time and place confused with some other. This was my first encounter with Sheila Cardano and her daughter, Clelia Sheppard.

I remember that afternoon well, as I read a story I had written about an odd Russian street performer and his beloved pug dog, and Ms. Cardano read one of her stories about a crazy squirrel. Life is serendipitous, contingent, and I always think of two events that actually saved my life: meeting my beautiful wife, and meeting Clelia Sheppard.

Growing up in West Haven, Connecticut, I remember my mother and grandmother taking me to the great New Haven theaters, and a love and fascination (appreciation) of the stage, whether drama, musical, or dance (Mom actually took me to NYC to see the great Edward Villella) stayed with me through high school and into college. After school, though, the passion kind of seeped away, replaced by other things such as work and career. In all, I had not thought of stepping onto the stage in close to 20 years.

How did Clelia Sheppard and her mom save my life? After meeting that first day, they somehow talked me into taking on a few roles in their Eastern Shore epic A Piece of Eden. By bringing me back into the fold of the theater, they woke up something that even I had forgotten how much I loved. In the years since then, I have had the pleasure to work with and learn from Clelia, but also meet some of my most wonderful friends (Dianne, Susan, Michael, Don, Mary Ann, Sherri, Keith, Amy, and the beautiful David Glowacki). I wish I could say my story is unique, but it is not. In fact, once you get to know Ms. Sheppard and her entire family, you will realize that it’s really quite common. [Read more…]

ANDY ZAHN: Remembering a REAL March Storm (1962)

From the book "Great Storms of the Jersey Shore" © Down The Shore Publishing

From the book “Great Storms of the Jersey Shore” © Down The Shore Publishing

Cape Charles Wave

March 9, 2015

Long Beach Island, NJ, “14 miles of beach 6 miles at sea.” That’s what the sign says. Connected to the mainland by a causeway and a high level bridge. The bridge was built in 1957-1958 and replaced the old drawbridge. The drawbridge, no longer in use, was shipped to Chincoteague where perhaps millions of people used it to see the Pony Penning and enjoy the ocean as well as enjoy the Oyster and Seafod Festivals.

In 1962 we were new to the area and very broke. We rented a house in Manahawkin for $75 a month and were about eaten alive by the Jersey mosquitoes. Manahawkin is on the west side of the causeway, so logically we crossed over the bridge and bought a 60′ x 100′ lot from the town of Ship Bottom for around $2,500. There were several lots for sale in an area created by material dredged from the bay, and we selected the one with the highest elevation.

We joined the Teachers’ Credit Union, hocked the title to the car, wheeled and dealed and finagled (I was a math teacher), and had a tiny three bedroom house erected on our lot for around $9,000, bought a washer, dryer and refrigerator, and for about $13,000 we were homeowners! The mortgage was 20 years at 6% and principal with interest came to $65 a month! My first monthly payment reduced the principal by 10 cents and so we made extra principal payments to speed thing up.

Ship Bottom is about a mile wide from the ocean to the bay and we were a few houses from the bay. On the 5th of March we walked on the beach by the ocean and it was flat calm. I never saw the ocean so calm with not any breakers. Wally Kinan, the weatherman on TV, gave no hint of any unusual weather the next day.

When I awoke on March 6 the wind was from the northeast and howling. Driving rain mixed with snow. The new high school was already overcrowded and the 7th and 8th grades came in on a late shift, so I just watched the storm and waited to go to work. [Read more…]