Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mermaids in Atlantic City . . .

We're here in Atlantic City for just 2 days. It's windy and cold, with off-shore storms bringing the rain that reminds me of Oregon, but we strolled along the famous boardwalk, saw Atlantic sea gulls gliding and turning everywhere, their large black-tipped wings almost a part of the sea and sky. People crowd the boardwalk, wearing shorts, hats, kids, and dodging push-carts full of end-of-summer visitors. They seem to tapdance down worn smooth boardwalks, past salt water taffy shops, high-rise hotels glittering C*A*S*I*N*O, red suitcases, formal door attendants on guard, muzak wafting out to mingle with jazz. Kids haul folded beach chairs up from the beach, the last of summer, dog walkers, bicyclists, skate boarders, seniors traveling in clumps, over on Atlantic Avenue, jitney busses careen in and out of traffic, and beyond all, nearly hidden behind the tall sand dunes, the ocean. A welcome respite with family and friends.

We stopped at the Atlantic City Convention Center Sheraton to look at a few historical icons -- the first Miss America, Margaret Gorman, 1921. And what did she win but a 3 foot high Golden Mermaid trophy. She returned in 1922 in full Statue of Liberty regalia and looked just like a flapper girl, her winning smile so energetic, it reverses all my conceptions about a beauty queen. If she had walked down Haight Ashbury in San Francisco in the late 60's or early 70's, she would have fit right in! Tomorrow we're back in Philadelphia to finish packing for our next journey, Scotland.

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