May is a bittersweet month for my grandfather, Albert Perdeck. He looks forward to celebrating Mother’s Day with his beautiful wife of 61 years, as well as his wonderful daughter and all of his grandchildren. It’s a time for celebration and as they say in Yiddish, Nachas.
This year my husband and I hosted Mother’s Day in our home with a nice meal that everyone is still raving about. (Yes, I cooked, and it was awesome.) All was good, but deep down it’s also a sad time for my grandfather because on May 11, 1945, he was almost killed when two Japanese Kamikazes hit his Navy Aircraft Carrier ship, the USS Bunker Hill, in Okinawa, Japan.
Before both Kamikazes flew into his ship they each dropped a bomb that made a gaping hole in the flight deck. Almost 400 were killed and 385 were wounded. “Freedom isn’t free,” he always reminds us.
This memory from 66 years ago has never faded, and all these years later, my grandfather honors the memory of his beloved shipmates who were not as fortunate as he was. A testament to his dedication happened last week when he was on a bus trip to Atlantic City from his retirement community in Tom’s River to see the show42nd Street at Resorts.
Before the show, he was able to gamble a little, and with his winnings (he got lucky) he humbly donated them to his synagogue in memory of his shipmates and to show his thankfulness that he was spared.
It’s a very emotional time for anyone who has served or is serving our country right now. It’s so important that we pray for our troops and give them the respect they deserve. It’s important to try help in any way we can, because they are on the front lines fighting for us.
Some colleagues of mine informed me about a really great opportunity called, “Operation Jersey Shore: Packages for our Troops.”
On May 21-22, from 11am-9pm, items will be dropped off to the American Legion Post 396 in Brigantine and then will be shipped off to our troops in Afghanistan the next day. This fundraiser, hosted by the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 396, will be there to package everything. So if you would like to help here are three ways:
1. You can donate items that are listed on their Web site: operationjerseyshore.com.
2. Monetary donations can be made to The American Legion Squadron 396, 3218 W. Brigantine Ave., Brigantine, NJ, 08203. Otherwise you can either stop by the days of the event and you’ll receive a donation receipt or donate online via the Web site.
3. Spread the word. There is a Facebook page, Operation Jersey Shore, where you can share links or download the May 21-22 information. And of course, just tell others in your community about the event.
This weekend get your bellies ready because the pizza-eating festival, Tony Boloney’s Pizza Slaughterfest, will be held right here in Atlantic City on Saturday, May 14, from 11am-8pm outside Tony Boloney’s (300 Oriental Ave.) near the Revel site.
Last year’s event was a great time, but this year, with everything planned, it’s sure to be an awesome experience. You’ll get to party with The Roots’ DJ ?uestlove, watch professional eaters try to finish 30 slices of pizza in one hour and also make history because this is set to be Atlantic City’s largest street festival in recent times.
All proceeds from the event go to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand charity.
Full disclosure: Along with several local members of the media, I will be one of the contest judges and AC Weekly editor Jeff Schwachter’s band The Ocean Ryders will be paying its blend of roots-rock and blues, including a tribute to Bob Dylan (who turns 70 May 24), throughout the day on the VIP stage — one of a few stages at the event, which will feature live music from a slate of local bands throughout the day, 11am-8pm.
Check out page 37 for more details and check pizzaslaughterfest.com to find out more about what’s in store for this gut-wrenching gastrolympic event. See you there!
As a freelance writer, Whitney's columns were published in multiple press outlets including: GoJaneNews.com The Atlantic City Weekly New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine & The Boardwalk Journal just to name a few.
She is the former host of the Entertainment Minute which aired on the NBC40 News and was featured twice on FOX's Chasing New Jersey.