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Category Archives: Ocean County

I found the following in the parking lot outside of a Bricktown ShopRite:

[I didn’t fill up pool it was raining]

Good lord, what does that mean!?!?!

The other side looks like:

Nestle Quick
Cherrio’s Honey Nut
Tazo Chai Tea

That’s some shopping list.  The note goes on to say:

Kady — do the
shoping stop
[or: srop, soop, or snp]
[word unintelligible, possibly: at] [word unintelligible, possibly: school] to
get card
[word unintelligible, possibly: mom]

When September 11th happened, I lived in North Carolina.  It was the first semester in my three year MFA program in poetry, and I was in route to Coastal Carolina Community College. Basically, I adjuncted composition classes aboard Camp Lejeune.  Anyhow, when I rolled into Jacksonville, traffic was backed up at the gates to both Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River.  The gates were sealed, and the gate guards were armed with M-16s and shot guns.    Needless to say, I didn’t have class that day.

Still, it’s interesting though, to think about differing reactions the attacks evoked.  In the south, or at least my section of it, there was sadness and outrage. People openly talked about it, and the reactions could be characterized as “citizens concerned for their country.”  In New Jersey, it’s a little bit different.

9/11 is not really spoken about much up here.  To many, it’s very personal, and it’s very painful.  The simple truth about Jersey is this: the further north you go, the more you’re in the shadow of New York City.  Basically, a LOT of people live in Jersey and commute to NYC.  So, many people know somebody who either died there or at least witnessed the attacks.  Still, it’s interesting that, now and then, there’s an open acknowledgement.    I live in the north end of Brick, and to cross into Monmouth County, you cross over a bridge.  For years, that bridge has been under construction, but it’s nearing an end.  As it turns out, the bridge is a 9/11 memorial, as well:

Right now, there are three of these Tower/Pentagon pillers.   A fourth is currently being cast in concrete:

And on both sides of the bridge, these words have been set, repeating across the entire span:

From Ocean County College’s Student newspaper:

Judging from the numbers for the better part of the last decade, the number of fulltime faculty members at OCC has been steadily decreasing while both student enrollments and tuition have increased significantly.

Recently, I found  this interesting little tidbit about the College I work for.

Back in 1983, an OCC professor went missing while leaving campus.   They never found the body.  One of the reader comments suggest a bear mauling.  I’m not quite so sure, though.  That year saw the arrest of Richard Bieganwald in nearby Asbury Park, who the press later dubbed “The Thrill Killer.”  Bieganwald likely didn’t have any connection at all.

Here’s the openning paragraph or two:

It was a Sunday morning when John E. Warren decided to take a walk on the OCC campus for some exercise. He lived about a mile away in the Squire Village section of Toms River. He cut through the woods separating his home from the college. Estelle, his wife of 47 years, at the time, would later tell an Asbury Park Press reporter, “I said to him why go through the woods? Why don’t you take the car? If it gets too hot, you can drive back.”

Warren was 69 years old, and his wife never saw him again. He was declared an unsolved mystery of Toms River and has been ever since.

On Aug. 8, 1983, at 8:45 a.m., Warren, a two-month retired OCC associate professor of engineering, a job he had held for 16 years, took his usual four-mile walk. Mrs. Warren would later tell the APP Warren was “very athletic” until he was diagnosed with arthritis two years prior to his disappearance. He was a jogger for more than 20 years but had to limit himself to just walking as his exercise because of his arthritis in his hip, she told the APP.

The article concludes by pointing out that this is still a cold case.  At the beginning of this decade, the case was briefly reopened, but without any tangible results:

According to Lt. Micheal Dorick, supervisor of the Detective Bureau of the Dover Township Police, there were “no leads to follow up on.” Dorick decided to re-investigate the case in the summer of 2001, when he became a supervisor. Dorick said he went to re-interview some family members about Warren’s case, but “some family members are not cooperating.” While Dorick did not say those family members knew more about the missing Warren, he did say “anything’s possible in a case like this. You just never know. I just think it’s very weird how he went for a walk and disappeared, and no body was found.”

Brick, New Jersey, is mostly road to the casual eye, and the public transportation is nothing to speak of.  Basically, there seems to be nothing here.  Of course, that’s if you don’t count strip developments and a lot of commercially zoned property.  As far as I can see, there’s not a whole lot of bars, and, again, to the casual eye, there doesn’t seem to be much to do in the town.  Of course, this is New Jersey, which means the Seaside and Point Pleasant boardwalks are not that far away.    But then again, to get anywhere in a lot of New Jersey, one needs a car.

And that had me wondering.  I’m often curious as to what teenagers actually do in Brick Township.  I could always ask my community college students, but that seemed a touch too nosey.  Still, to an outsider, it seems that the suburban youth of my town have actually little to do at all.  Here’s my case:  if you go to Brick’s Barnes and Noble on a friday night, teenagers hang out not only in front of the bookstore, but also Rite Aid, Chuck E. Cheese, Applebee’s, and other places along the storefronts.  They are loud, obnoxious, and seem to congregate in packs.  I don’t mean any ill will by this, because as I said, they’re teenagers, after all.  Yet, when there isn’t a whole bunch of options but to stand in front of Barnes and Noble and smoke cigarettes, mischief is bound to happen.  Consider the following bit of graffiti, found in the shopping center, near where many of Brick teens hang out.