Cal Schwartz

‘Psycho’ and the Jersey Shore. Thanksgiving. More Absurdities (ramblings)

Cal Schwartz talks about the lonely winters at the Jersey Shore and a house in Bradley Beach that reminded him of Psycho

a blog from monmouth county by calvin schwartz

Twas Thanksgiving season and all through the car were feelings of fear, future, failure and fantasy; forty-one years ago. I was driving an old black Chevy. If I still had it, took good care all these years and got historic license plates, the car would be worth a fortune. Maybe I could’ve sold it to George Lucas for ‘American Graffiti.” This blog, post Thanksgiving, is graffiti. Over the Raritan River a long time ago on the way to destiny, the car bounded in a single leap. Fear was forgetting to stop at a drug store. Failure was thoughts of sitting all night on a sofa covered with white winter sheets. Future meant this picture of companionship and coupling could be all she wrote until Forest Lawn. Fantasy becomes me. It seemed so much colder back in those ancient days; five short long years after Kennedy. Snow flurries special effected my window; a refusal to melt and blow in the wind. A destination sign on the road side: ‘Bradley Beach.’  If you had a summer home at the Jersey Shore and went to Bradley Beach, then you probably made it on up, better than the east side, west side and all around the town. The keys to the summer house were on loan from a best friend. Everything in the trunk was also on loan from a basement back home. Vic’s Pizza was open for a quick slice. I like reliability in pizza availability. I think I shall never see anything as lovely as an abandoned Jersey boardwalk in the near dead of winter. Snow flurries came back with vengeance as we walked up and down the boardwalk. I heard little Joey yelling to ‘Shane’ to come back. Shane and horse disappeared into the mountains. Were they snow covered? I can’t remember. But they were majestic mountains. So was the ocean in front of me. Street lights struggled to shed light on breaking waves but it was easy to hear them; no other sounds to drown out. Do you wonder about red flags and tell tale markers? I asked her, “Do you want to be cool and walk on the sand barefoot?”  The reply. “There’s snow flurries. It’s too cold. I’m not taking my shoes off.”

Cal Schwartz: Psycho and the Jersey ShoreBack in the car, deflated and pondering a lack of sense of adventure. Moments later on Brinley Avenue, Bradley Beach, in front of a house that resembled Mrs. Bates and Norman’s. A porch went clear around to the back. I looked for a rocking chair then realized they were packed away before winter’s solstice. Wouldn’t it have been cool to walk barefoot on the beach and to rock in the snow on a chair on a porch? Darkness, silence, and no signs of life; the steps creaked and door squeaked open. I heard Norman Bates telling Marion Crane to take the first cabin. Once inside a cold house, we were greeted by the staircase to upstairs and an ornate wooden railing that Martin Balsam tried to grab after he was stabbed. There was a small table with a doily. A newspaper was folded in half. I knew Marion’s money was inside. This was a pyscho place; a re-creation down to the last detail. The past three months with her were replete with tell-tale signs. The ambience all around me sent the same message; a scary movie. Life could be a scary movie. You need to pay attention and send messages of gratitude into the universe. Three hours later I ascended to a cold spiritual place in the quest for manhood right in the heart of the desolate winter Jersey shore. A week later at Thanksgiving, I gave thanks to Bradley Beach and to the spirits which helped me that fateful night. I’ve never seen the movie ‘Psycho’ again. Four years later the reason for being together with that girl from Bradley Beach had come to an end. But I’ve learned what a wonderful holiday Thanksgiving is: a time to reflect and send vibrations of gratitude into the universe and to do massive exercise a week after.

Absurdities have become a regular feature of my blog. It doesn’t necessarily mean negative to me; just bright bulbs of disbelief (remembering I dislike dim-bulbs). Speak of dim. 32 times more technological progress will take place in the next 50 years than in the last century which could mean that in 2029 a machine will pass human intelligence. We could become a hybrid of bio and non bio intelligence. In the meantime, larger-breasted turkeys are new breeds that were created to produce a larger amount of meat–not a better flavor. The smaller the ratio of breast meat to whole bird, the closer the turkey is to the original model and the more old-fashioned its flavor will be.  Look how far we’ve come with turkey preparation and procreation. Who would’ve ever thought of creating larger breasted turkeys for more meat? Who would’ve ever thought of taking a device out of your pocket and accessing all of human knowledge? It’s still Thanksgiving season. Years ago it cost $30,000 a year to treat an aids patient with drugs. Now it’s a $100 a year even in remote places. We have 10,000 times more sunlight than we use/need. So maybe (thankfully) in twenty years solar power completely replaces BP and all our oil friends in the world. As the world of information increases so does tranquilizer use. It’s horribly absurd that in twelve years TIGERS could be extinct. A meeting recently went on in Moscow to see what can be done to Save the Tiger. Leonardo Di Caprio flew there to be part of it. His Delta plane had engine problems and had to turn around. Meanwhile back in the USSR; in Siberia actually. As the Earth has warmed, the icy ground has begun thawing more rapidly, accelerating the release of methane, a green house gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, at a perilous rate. Some scientists believe that the thawing of permafrost could become the epicenter of climate change. That’s enough. It was special time last week for cranberries and “March of the Wooden Soldiers” for the 60th straight year.

I love Thanksgiving season. Soon Christmas. I love mankind. Ingenuity. Tradition. Hope. Gratitude. Future think. I feel like an antenna now draped in a white toga. I see a toga party. I see mustard staining one toga. I see a bunch of ‘youths'(yewts) on the floor kicking their heels. So I was grateful last week at Thanksgiving for wife and son, anti-oxidants, long telomeres, a stationary bike, the universe, spirits, my grandfather and a religious pamphlet I found on a deserted train station bench. Oh. That train station bench; the train goes right to the Jersey shore. They call it ‘Jersey Coast line.’

Holiday Gift Suggestion: All novels gift wrapped, carded, autographed & shipped. Check book trailer (and novel website) at youtube.

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