Margate Stories At The Shore

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It starts in March with our income tax return. We find a house and we are all in. There was a bunch of us girls in a shore house at 9 So Madison Avenue, Margate, New Jersey in 1967. That was the year most of us were legal age of 21. We graduated from staying in dry Ocean City where we spent our summer weekends at the shore in the past. We have been hanging out forever; some of us from first grade, some from high school, and others that join our merry band of friends that always laugh a lot.

Life Magazine came out with an ad campaign promotion that included a beautiful Cheetah across its center two pages. It was on television in an ad spotlighting this beautiful animal running through the wild jungle landscape of Africa.

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We gave our group the name “Cheetahs” that summer. I’m not sure how it started but we took great pride in being named for the fastest animal on the planet. We danced to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Nickel Bag Band who covered both at bars called the Green House, Maynard’s, The Gabel’s, and the WhiteHouse.

That summer we had thirteen girls in a house on Madison Avenue in Margate, New Jersey. We were weekend wonders since we work all week before we hit the Back Bay Bridge into our town of freedom and fun. All of us still lived at home so on the weekends when you hit the bridge, it was like heading to paradise.

I just turned seventy-five and I can still remember the euphoria that charge through me like electricity when crossing the Walt Whitman Bridge and entering the town of Margate an hour later and charging down to the sea to say hello to the ocean in 1967.

One of the girls named Sharon was caught up with our name, Cheetah, and the lingo of the day. She literally had a whole vocabulary that she used and translated for us. TCB (Take care of the Bod (body), OTL (Out to Lunch) and many others are gone from my memory now. Life Magazine’s big spread about Cheetahs was everywhere. It was spread across the city of Philadelphia on beautiful color billboards. There were no magical digital boards, but just cardboard posters set in frames. It was hard to understand but Sharon was truly obsessed with this display.

When we first entered the house, there was already an amazing sign on the top of the dining room breakfront. It was a real street sign with Greenback Street on it. It was truly spectacular, and the game of signs was on. Another sign that came with the house, graced the top of a doorway stated, “Loose Women and Pickpockets”. Who could get the best sign for 9 So for summer fun?

The challenge was on and the following weekend a great sign appeared collected by Donna. It said, “Welcome to the Philadelphia Zoo” and it has a huge giraffe on it. It was truly inspiring; it was starting a definite trend and proudly added to our collection.

The White House Bar had an afternoon jam session and our friend, Bobby, manned the grill, so we ate free hamburgers, danced, and hung out all afternoon waiting for the big beer competition.

My friends set up a fake case of beer since I never had one. It was stickily, Seven &amp; Sevens, Rum &amp; Cokes, or Gin &amp; Tonics. So, there I was on stage with this three-hundred-pound beer guzzler at 6’2” and me, at 110 pounds at 5’2” ready to compete for the team!

I drank the whole case and occasionally spilled some fake beer down my “very in” Beatle shirt. The big guy passed out before finishing his whole case of beer, so I won by default. Cheers went up and I won the coveted trophy, the band’s marque sign, it was two by four feet wood sign with “SOUL” in black, painted on gray with an endless black trim on the edge. It was shaped like the soul of a shoe. It was the coolest sign. What a coup d’état! It jumped up the list as to the coolest sign at 9.

It was not long before the Soul sign was blown out of the competition. Sharon took the train to work every day in Philadelphia and worked at Blue Cross and Blue Shield on Broad Street. Every Friday that summer she took the train to Atlantic City.

On a Monday, on her way to work she was mesmerized by the most beautiful site. On display was a nine-foot by four feet Cheetah poster, with the fastest animal in the world advertising Life Magazine.

So, she formulated her plan. She had a week to prepare and prepare she did. Her friends at work were intrigued and wanted to be in on the excitement. The volunteers were set, and they had their list of stuff to bring, a small portable ladder, box cutter knife, and bungee cords. The plan was in place and the execution was set for Friday just before the 4:15 pm train to Atlantic City.

Unbeknownst to us, the plan was working as scheduled. Can you picture a group of four people setting up the ladder and cutting a huge cardboard sign out of nine feet in a framed display in 30th Street Station at rush hour on Friday? Chaos!

That’s exactly what happen, Sharon and her band of thieves cut out the cardboard poster, rolled it up and used the bungee cords to hold it rolled. Sharon ran for the 4:15 pm train to Atlantic City. It was a couple of platforms away with two Station Police running after them. There was a diversion plan in place which distracted the two Station police; which way to go since there were four different directions the merry thieves ran.

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Sharon made the train and with her prize, she made it back to Margate with her amazing find to 9 So. Madison. Needless to say, she won the poster contest hands down. We proudly displayed the Cheetah Poster, across the living room and dining room wall like a valuable cherished art piece. We laughed till we could laugh no more, it was the best heist ever. Sharon was the hero of the day!

The story does not end there. Having thirteen girls in a shore house does attract an unreasonable number of guys. We had plenty, especially since we were called the Cheetah. The truth is, they came because we were all pretty much virgins that summer, and no one had serious relationships.

>Anyway, to make a long story shorter, we were at Maloney’s Tavern for our happy hour to see who was down. Everyone stopped at Maloney’s before settling in for a party weekend. When we returned to 9 So Madison an hour or two later, we were in shock. All our signs were gone!

Depression set over the house. We put feelers out to find out who would dare steal the Cheetah logo, Soul, Greenback Street, and the Visit the Philadelphia Zoo signs. Once we keyed in on who stole our signs, we planned a “Midnight Raid” on these guys’ house that was just a couple of blocks away.

These guys were not nice and drank way too much for our taste. Who were these guys to steal our stuff? I set the alarm and woke everyone up at 2 pm on the next Friday night we were down. We took two cars. I don’t really know how to describe our mission, but it was amazing.

First, we park the cars and wear dark clothes to check out the house. It was obvious where things were. They did not expect a “Midnight Raid” from a bunch of young women. We found the Greenback Street sign, then the Zoo sign, and finally the Soul sign fast.

We could not find the 9ft Cheetah sign. Where could it be? Two of us scouted upstairs in each bedroom. Smelly belching guys’ bodies were asleep all over the place, in beds, on couches, chairs, and on the floor. Where is the 9 ft sign, then it dawned on us? There was a rug with at least five guys sleeping on it and just on the edge, there was something sticking out. On close inspection, it was our treasured Cheetah sign.

How to get five big guys to roll off was the challenge. Well, there were plenty of us, so we knelt down between each guy and said in our sexiest voice, roll over honey, roll over until they all rolled over and we were able to pull the big sign out. Not one of them woke up because they were passed out in a drunken stupor. Mission accomplished! We celebrated for the rest of the weekend and our doors were locked from then on.

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Margate Stories At The Shore

It starts in March with our income tax return. We find a house and we are all in. There was a bunch of us girls

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