Martha Hale, 75, felt like she had the shore locked in a box, trying to force it open. But she found something inside: something that pleases people.
The seventh of nine children, Mrs. Hale grew up in a small town on Long Island, N.Y. In 1960, her father and older brother planned a trip to the Jersey Shore, to watch the storm the previous autumn, before it snuffed out the boats and wiped out everything. But they changed their minds, she said, because the price of gas was too high. She and her siblings spent the weekend watching the shore drain away.
There was nothing left to buy on Long Island, the road was dead and the only game in town was nachos,” she said. “I didn’t want to live like that.”
She knew an aunt and uncle who moved to the Shore 20 years earlier, and her family had a second home on the Jersey Shore, so she decided to move there, too. “It felt like I’d been holding this secret since I was a little girl,” she said.
“It’s where I belonged,” she said.