The Jersey Shore, June, 1976
It was Friday night and everyone was home from college for the summer. My best friends and I decided to have a girls night out on the town. Departing Little Silver with Michelle, Jan and Debbie, we parked at a local bar in Rumson, NJ called Lock Stock & Barrell. We went in and within a few minutes determined none of our friends were there. We departed and moved on to the next bar as we headed East toward Sea Bright. We must have tried a couple more places before crossing the Sea Bright Bridge. We then stopped at different places on the beach as we continued South toward Long Branch. None of the bars held appeal. Either no one we knew was there, the music was not right or the place just felt boring. We were searching for fun and friends. Summer love did not cross our minds. Finally, we pulled up across the street from The Laugh In Saloon. It was a crazy place bustling with a large crowd. We all agreed that if nothing else, this place should be fun.
We entered the bar to the sound of a ringing bell over loud music. When the bell rang the bartender shouted a number and if that was your birthday, you received a free beer. Yes, this place was lively and fun. Before long a guy wearing a leather jacket approached me. He started talking about his motorcycle. Chains hung off his jacket and I quickly realized that he was drunk. Then another guy approached. He was wearing jeans and a polo shirt. His conversation started with a discussion about science and poetry. My friends approached and I gave them the universal girlfriend signal; get me out of here! This second guy must be drunk, too . . .
As we headed toward the door to leave, the motorcycle man dropped off or passed out. The scientist/poet followed us. He tapped me on the shoulder and asked my name. I replied, “Nancy”. No, he wanted my full name. I realized that there was no threat in giving him my last name as most people had trouble pronouncing it, let alone spelling it. Over my shoulder, I said “Nancy Aschettino” as I briskly walked away.
My friends and I left the bar and headed home for the night. The following week the phone rang, it was Peter, the scientist/poet from The Laugh In Saloon. I was astonished he had found me! He asked if I would go out with him the following Saturday night. As I hesitated to come up with an excuse to say no, he went on to explain that he had two tickets to see The New York City Ballet’s, Swan Lake. “I’d like to take you to dinner and the ballet”. Instead of an excuse to ditch this guy, I surprised myself with a quick reply, “what time?” Before we hung up I got his full name and only then understood how he had found me. With the last name, Policastro, my last name was not a problem at all. And as a recent graduate of Duke University with a degree in Organic Chemistry, he was definitely smart enough to find me.
Great story and pix! 🙂
I was inspired to write it after reading a wonderful love story in the NYT’s.