In the year of 1990, my husband and I had the good fortune of buying a small summer home in the City of Cape May, New Jersey. We were in our middle to late forties and chose a community that would one day be our retirement home. Cape May has been the vacation place of my husband’s family for their love of fishing for well over fifty years. It is nestled at the southernmost point of the State of New Jersey. I truly love the beach and was satisfied along any distant shore.
We looked forward to our week-ends of nestling our way in and the pleasurable journey with getting there. This began with the two hour drive on the busy highways of the Atlantic City Expressway and Garden State Parkway that eventually led us to the beautiful stretch of wetlands along our view. You could smell the salt in the air before pointing our sight in the way that we were already here. We were less than one block away from the Cape May Harbor and only a half of a mile away from the Atlantic Ocean and sandy beach. Our home was close enough that we could walk or ride our bikes to the center of town and enjoy the view of the magnificent historic Victorian mansions that were lined up one right after another. We had the same routine to look forward to every week-end.
The first things that we would do when we arrived were; we‘d drop off the suitcases in our house and head straight for the famous Lobster House Restaurant. We would sit on the schooner, sipping cocktails, and watch the boats go by while waiting to be seated in the dining room for the freshest seafood ever! Even though the dress code was casual, I always managed to over dress to set the romantic (date) night with my husband which usually ended up setting the whole evening just right! The following morning my husband would leave for his usual full day of fishing with his family. They also owned a summer home just a short mile away. I was usually left alone with my books to enjoy the beach and the ocean for most part of the day, until early evening when I prepared my husband’s fresh catch of the day for our dinner. My senses were well pleased, except, I began to take more notice of the young children at the beach playing along the shore, digging in the sand, making sandcastles, and riding the waves. As much as I was filled to the brim with joy in owning a summer home in one of the cities most beautiful and historical vacation places, something was beginning to show up more and more; as missing?
The beautiful home that I envisioned as a retirement home of romance and leisure, continued to show me another picture every week-end? It followed me back home and to work and wouldn’t leave me alone! How could this be? My husband never felt the desire to have children, due to his constant traveling, and especially at our age. What had Cape May stirred up in me that lie deep within my soul?
For quite a few years I kept those feelings buried, while my senses continued to be filled with euphoria of the magical settings of Cape May and the excitement of one day retiring here. I would even envision just the two of us enjoying the week days, (without as many tourist) as my husband fishing, and with me reading on the beach, and with the two of us taking in breaths of fresh salt air while bike riding on the promenade along the Atlantic Ocean.
There was always something to look forward to that was happening throughout the whole year. Even in the wintertime. The holiday season is truly a blessed sight to see in the City of Cape May. The historic Victorian mansions and sidewalks are fully decorated and picturesque as the Christmas Carole by Charles Dickens - while in reality we were riding in a horse and carriage trotting along the narrow streets lighted with gaslight lanterns; which is truly a wondrous experience and a vision that is never forgotten. And not to mention the romantic Cape May Dinner Theatres’ on Valentine week-end that sparked romance and enthusiasm for the upcoming summers of sun, beach, reading, and fishing that would spring the season forward all over again. Nothing was left out to fill our senses or imaginations, except for one; there was something more that was longing to be here…
Glowing, a little over three years of living in this dream, I become pregnant in Cape May. I can only conceive in my heart and mind that I conceived through the wondrous love of the city that mysteriously brought forth every sense to its peak in me and my husband. Which miraculously (at our age) a child was born!
Even though the romantic dinners and leisure has radically changed from the retirement dream - to a house filled with much more activity and joy from laughing children , sand filled bathing suits, sno-cones with sticky hands, amusement parks and arcades. Not only from the son that was conceived here, but brought forth sooner the grandchildren from my daughter as well. I love the city so much more because I feel its spirit made way for the soul of a child that wanted to come. The blessed reminiscence is hearing the voice cheering from the backseat of our car on the way to Cape May with, Mom, we’re here!
Yes, you are.
Causes Catherine Nagle Supports
Westwind Foster Family Agency, Christian Children's Fund, Compassion International, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Invisible Children, Save the Children