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Life & Lyrics- “Atlantic City”

Published on March 26, 2013, by in LeeLee Blogs.

Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Atlantic City

Bruce Springsteen

It’s a coastal city full of bright lights, hotels, shops, and casinos… and it’s down the shore.  Really down the shore…very southern Jersey…Atlantic City.

Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Surprisingly, I’ve only been to Atlantic City once…back in 1991. I still can’t believe that! Once! Shame on me…especially since I’ve always loved boardwalks and well, Atlantic City holds the bragging rights for America’s First Boardwalk.  I think a trip to Atlantic City is in order for this Jersey Girl.

LeeLee on the Boardwalk Atlantic City 1991

LeeLee on the Boardwalk
Atlantic City 1991

Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

When I think of the casinos in Atlantic City, I think of a beloved family friend, Jimmy. He was otherwise known as “Mr. Atlantic City”.   A little history first…my family ties to Jimmy go back to the old country.  My grandparents and his family were “Paesanos” in Torre del Greco, Naples, Italy.  When they all immigrated to the United States, the ties remained strong.  Both families settled in Northern Jersey.

Jimmy had a larger than life, dynamic, and generous personality.  He was so charming, a bit of a comedian, and most definitely a spur of the moment kind of guy.  If he was in the mood for an espresso and pastry… a drive to Ferrara’s Bakery in Little Italy, NYC wasn’t out of the question.  Why not drive to lower Manhattan and sit through traffic (never mind try to find street parking)… just to savor the taste of a delicious Italian pastry and rich cup of espresso???

If you were with Jimmy and craving fresh mozzarella…the local Italian deli didn’t stand a chance.  Only a drive to his favorite deli in Brooklyn would do. Jimmy loved doing the unexpected.  Life was an adventure.

Jimmy’s timing was perfect too. I will never forget when he stopped by my parent’s home only to find us in the middle of a Halloween costume issue.  It was the eleventh hour… I was hosting a huge Halloween costume bash…but still didn’t have a costume.  With Jimmy around, there was no need to panic.  Before I knew it, I found myself in one of the best costume shops in East Rutherford, New Jersey…Fun Ghoul (yes, that’s the name of the shop)…with a huge selection of costumes in front of me. The party and my costume (a Genie) was a hit thanks to Jimmy!

His better half, Nora, was the ideal partner.  They loved life, finished each other’s sentences, never took anything too seriously, and could make anyone laugh.  Unfortunately, Jimmy passed away in 2005.  I’m so grateful to have known him and hold numerous memories close to my heart.  But there’s one that REALLY stands out. It’s so hilarious and of course, takes place in Atlantic City.

Jimmy & Nora  Early 1990s

Jimmy & Nora
Early 1990s

Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Jimmy loved Atlantic City and loved to gamble.  He was a regular at Caesar’s. He had a presence about him and fit the role of a high roller very well.   When it came to luck, Jimmy had a tradition.  Whether in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, he had to play at Caesar’s and he had to kiss a “female” statue outside the casino.  Not just any part of the statue though…it had to be the breasts! He encouraged women to touch the private parts on the “male” statues for good luck.  In Jimmy’s world, this ritual always brought in the money!!!! Occasionally, the ritual would cause blisters on his lips.  Apparently, the statues get blazing hot in Vegas.  Desert heat never stopped Jimmy.

A kiss for Good Luck

A kiss for Good Luck

Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

To the classic story…

During one of Jimmy and Nora’s stays in Atlantic City, Nora’s sister Joanne and her husband Joe accompanied them.  They were all treated to luxury hotel rooms. (Wink, wink!) Joanne decided to play a prank on Jimmy.  She knew he loved attention from casino employees and loved the royal treatment. So Joanne decided to book luxury suites and send champagne, chocolates, fruit, and flowers to Jimmy’s room.  The card read…Compliments of the Casino Staff.  Nora and Jimmy were delighted and started bragging. They thought the entire weekend was on the casino’s tab. Joanne and Joe tried to keep the prank going but by day 2 of the weekend getaway, they couldn’t keep the secret any longer.  Joanne blew her cover.  She told Jimmy that he certainly gambled enough money to deserve all the perks and treats but that they were really compliments of his favorite sister-in-law.  Jimmy took the joke very well and laughed it off.  In the end, he reminded everyone that the House always wins and that life is about having fun!

I would do anything to live out that kind of moment with Jimmy. Too funny!!!  Wish he were still around so he could ask me to…

Meet me tonight in Atlantic City…. 

XO,

Lee Lee


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Response

  1. Julia

    Ha! Great story Lee Lee. We might just have to take a trip to Atlantic City and put that secret tradition to the test ;) XOXO