A Must-Read Hits Shelves
In April, we told you about local Carol Fragale Brill, who had just self-published, despite offers of representation, a novel called Peace By Piece. Now, Carol’s second project, another fictional book 10 years in the making entitled Cape Maybe, is also available for purchase. The story is worthy of a read not just for its themes (addiction, evolving family dynamics, the possibility of creating our own second chances), and not just for the author’s credentials (Carol’s work has been recognized by Poets and Writers and Philadelphia Stories), but for its setting: right here in Cape May.
“I moved here 16 years ago, fulfilling a lifelong dream,” said Carol, whose day job is that of a leadership coach for Cumberland County’s Inspira Health Network. “I just love Cape May. I think this is such a unique place, and not just for the Victorian part of town and its history, but because this is a beach town, with a rural, farming area right next to it, and that just fascinates me. I wouldn’t say the area is so prominent that it becomes another character in the book, which happens sometimes, but you do get a feel for how charming and special this place really is.”
While Carol was tight-lipped about her plot — “To tell you what happens would potentially ruin the story,” she said — she did give us this much: the character of a young girl moves away from her alcoholic mother to live with her grandfather in West Cape May, vowing never to become anything like her mom, a goal that proves more difficult than she imagined.
Cape Maybe is available on Amazon (as a paperback, currently, and as an eBook within a couple of weeks), and in Cape Atlantic Books and Whale’s Tale on the Washington Street Mall. Just look for the book with the photograph of the Cove on the cover. “It’s my favorite beach in the whole world,” Carol said. “It has special significance to me, and hopefully other people will be attracted to it, too.”
A New Type Of Fundraiser
You’d be hard-pressed to find a woman among us who didn’t flip her hair in the pool or ocean as a little girl, channeling her inner mermaid. Part of our fascination with these creatures, says Sue Lotozo, owner of Flying Fish Studio on Park Boulevard, is that we live in a seashore town, so it’s practically a pre-requisite, like eating crab or watching sunsets. And part of our fascination is the mermaid’s “magical, mystical” quality. “People want to know: are they real? Are they not?” says Sue. “The mermaid is an age-old, iconic image.”
So it’s not surprising, then, that the mermaid became, four years ago, the namesake of The Mermaid Guild, a group of women who run businesses in Cape May and “get together for mutual marketing and fundraising,” says Sue. “We can do more in a group than we can on our own.”
In 2009, the Mermaids began hosting the wildly successful King Neptune Bachelor Auction, which raised money — sometimes over $20,000 in one evening — for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch. But this year, the group has decided on a different type of fundraiser, one with “potential for larger community involvement,” Sue says. “Change is good.”
From October 29 through November 3, SOMA NewArt Gallery in the Carpenter Square Mall will display works of art depicting the mermaid and merman interpretations of 50 local artists as part of a silent auction. The mediums vary wildly; Sue told us about mermaids born from paint, seashells, repurposed refuse found on the beach, driftwood, even beads. We’re not surprised by the amount of creative people who live here, but we ARE curious to see the pieces that Lowe’s and Home Depot have offered to contribute.
Once again, every dollar raised — not simply a portion of the proceeds — will benefit the FoodBank. On November 3, auction winners will be awarded at an artists’ reception from 6-9pm, though remaining works can be bid on throughout the weekend. And as if you needed more incentive, Mad Batter restaurant will be offering a 20%-off ticket to attendees. “Everyone can do a little,” Sue said. “Together, we can do a lot. That’s the way I see it.”
Claire Just Keeps On Running
On Claire Kwasnieski Reeves’ 28th birthday, she felt terrible. She’d quit her 15-year smoking habit six months before, and she’d been filling the void with food. “I hated myself,” she told us. So when Claire saw an article in Mother Earth magazine about jogging to get in shape, she decided to give it a shot. “I couldn’t even run around the house,” she said. But, with her faithful dog by her side, she stuck with it. Now, with her 52nd birthday approaching, Claire has logged more than 70,000 miles around the island, completed four marathons (the fastest one in four hours and 15 minutes), and caught the attention of former high-school peer Henrie Washington, who produced, wrote, and directed an eight-minute documentary called Run, Claire, Run: A Cape May Legend, to be shown during the Cape May Film Festival at the Chalfonte this weekend.
Of course, most people won’t be surprised to hear that Claire runs a great deal — 10 miles four times a week, specifically — because most of us have, at some point, seen her out there pounding the pavement. “I work at the Hair Cuttery in North Cape May,” she told us, “and people will come in and say, ‘Isn’t that the lady who runs?’ And the other day in The Pilot House, someone said, ‘I passed you three times this morning while you were running: by the bayfront, while I was driving over one bridge and then, later, while I was driving over the other bridge.’”
What is surprising is how things have changed over the course of Claire’s journey, as she calls it. “When I first started, they didn’t even make running shoes for women,” she said. And the reasons why she keeps at it. “You notice everything when you run that you wouldn’t notice in a car,” she said. “I’ve watched the Cove beach come and go, I’ve watched houses go up, and I watched the progress of the Christian Admiral demolition, every day.” Then there’s Claire’s personal experiences with hundreds of local races. “I ran the first Ocean Drive Marathon,” she said. “They almost canceled it. We were blasted with 40 mile-an-hour winds. At the end of it, race directors sent us shirts that said ‘I survived.’”
Run, Claire, Run will show in the Chalfonte’s Henry Sawyer Room along with a group of Cape May and Hurricane-Sandy related shorts moderated by Henrie, beginning at 4:15pm on Saturday, October 26. For more information on this and other inspiring happenings at this year’s film festival, visit njstatefilmfestival.com. “Throughout all the downs in my life,” Claire said, “I’ve gone out and run it off. It’s my Prozac. It makes you sleep better, makes you think better. If I can inspire people to be the best they can be, that’s just wonderful.”
We were so sorry to hear about the passing of 66-year-old Bob Hural (better known as Bob Cheeks) who, along with wife Chris Hey, operated the clothing store, Cheeks Cape May. Bob suffered a heart attack on October 11, but we’re glad to report the store he was so passionate about will live on. “Definitely, yes,” Chris told us. “Cheeks was both of our babies.”
Our deepest sympathy goes out to Chris, and the rest of Bob’s family and friends, who knew him as a deeply compassionate man whose love for the beach was second only to his love for the people in his life. “He was liquid mad,” Chris said. “I have a picture of him coming out of the ocean in Rincon, Puerto Rico, looking at me, and he looks like the happiest man in the world.”
If you get a chance, stop by the window of Cheeks at 101 Ocean Street, where the mannequins have been dressed to honor Bob, complete with his go-to Converse sneakers and white baseball cap. Rest in peace, Bob.
Calling Computer Nerds (And Computer Nerd Wannabes)
On October 22, Cape May City Elementary School began offering adult computer classes, but it’s not too late! The continuing education program offers a five-week class and a four-week class this fall that meet every Tuesday in the school lab from 3:15-4:45pm. The cost is free and open to adults 18 years and older. Session one is a beginner/refresher course geared for the novice, and session two will focus on managing digital photos. Contact the school at 609-884-8485.
The World’s Greatest Bird Show
We already know Cape May is the capital of the birding world. But did you know we’ve got an event — The Cape May Autumn Birding Festival, happening October 25-27 — worthy of such an ornithologically minded town? “It brings thousands of people to Cape May,” says Marleen Murgitroyde, Business and Events Coordinator for Cape May Bird Observatory, which hosts the weekend. And all of these folks can expect boat excursions, hawk banding and monarch tagging demonstrations, field trips to Cape May’s birding hotspots led by acclaimed naturalists, and much more.
But the festival is “not just for birders,” Marleen says. “It’s wildlife based. In Convention Hall, we’ll have live wolves, artists, crafters, and vendors from all over the world, as far as Norway and Britain.” Call 609-884-2736, or visit BirdCapeMay.org.
GABLES “Revenge of Sandy” Halloween Party
On 10/26, there will be a DJ, dancing, and snacks at Marq’s Pub. 8-12pm. $15 for members; $18 for non-members. Visit gablescapemay.com.
Trick-Or-Treat At They Physick Estate
On 10/31, some spooky characters are waiting at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, with treats for good little ghosts and goblins from 5pm to 7pm. Call 609-884-5404.
Sherlock Holmes Weekend
From 11/1-11/3, join Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Dr Watson, for a weekend of mystery and intrigue. Stalk the gaslit streets in search of clues and compete for the $250 grand prize. Call 609-884-5404.
On 11/2, enjoy the annual Candlelight Walk will take place at Historic Cold Spring Village from 6-8pm. Luminaries will guide you to several of the Village’s historic buildings where wine, beer and light fare will be served.
Exit 0 International Jazz Festival
From 11/8-11/10, the jazz fest is back, bringing world-class musicians from all over the globe to nine Cape May venues. Check out exit0jazzfest.com.
Annual Holiday Bake Sale And Bazaar
On 11/9, from 9am to 1pm, enjoy yummy homemade foods (hot turkey platter, hotdogs, grilled cheese, soups, bar-b-que) and browse new and like-new items at St Barnabas Episcopal Church. Call 609-886-2625.
Veterans Day Ceremony
On 11/11, honor our veterans with this special commemorative ceremony, which starts at 11am at the Columbia Avenue monument. Call 609-884-9565.
Holiday Preview Weekend
From 11/22-11/24, at the Physick Estate, there is food, tours, wine, a tree-lighting ceremony and trolley rides for the kids. Call 609-884-5404.
Showing Now At SOMA
October 5-October 27: Sam Donovan: “Down A Lazy River” and Penny Beck: “Second Nature.”
Playing Now At Cape May Stage
A Walk In The Woods: Two superpower arms negotiators— one a witty but cynical Russian veteran and the other an idealistic American newcomer — meet informally in the woods after long frustrating hours at the bargaining table. October 23-November 16. Thursdays through Saturdays, 7pm. Saturdays and Sundays, 3pm. Call 609-884-1341.
Playing Soon At Easy Lynne Theater
Holmes and Carter Mysteries: ELTC’s popular vintage-radio style production, complete with live sound effects and commercials, with two great detectives! Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Copper Beeches about a governess in peril, and Nick Carter and the Strange Dr. Devolo, in which Manhattan millionaires are missing. November 1 and 2 at 8pm.
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