Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove author’ Category


Carousel in Seaside Heights by Paul Goldfinger ©. Undated. Note the intricate details.



Seaside Heights. By Paul Goldfinger. ©


Wurlitzer music “After the Ball.”


Interview with author Perdita Buchan by Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net


Perdita Buchan has published books before, both fiction and nonfiction, but this historic novel is special for reasons with local interest including a setting in a town patterned after  Ocean Grove called Riverbeach.  Elements of the story include the Great Auditorium, a huge hurricane, the tent village and the Choir Festival.

Perdita has been interested in carousels for years, and her research allowed her to feature a group of immigrant wood carvers from Italy, Germany, and  Eastern Europe who mostly worked on carousels in America, but in Europe they often carved religious figures for churches and synagogues.

The technical discussions in the book regarding the carvers are fascinating, for example, the interior horses are less intricate than the ones on the outside, and different carvers had specialties such as the ones which carved exotic animals and did their research by going to the zoo and sketching.  Others specialized in painting the horses in great detail, with bright colors.

The book features Giacinto, who came from Italy in 1912.  He became a carousel carver in Philadelphia when those horses were in great demand. His experiences spanned the years of great immigration in America, and his life tells that story of transition and adjustment.

In the novel, Giacinto moves to the Jersey Shore in 1939 where he becomes the caregiver for an 8 year old orphan Gypsy girl.

Most shore towns had such carousels, including Ocean Grove and Asbury Park, but they are gone now.  Their popularity waned after the Great Depression.  There was a resurgence of interest in the 1970’s as folk art.

There has been an effort to find the Asbury horses and bring them home.  The Asbury Carousel House remains, but contains no carousel now.  Now only two Jersey shore towns have authentic carousels, including Seaside Heights and Ocean City.  In Seaside Heights they had two, but only one was hand carved, and that one survives but is not currently on display.

According to the book review by Nelson Johnson, “The Carousel Carver vividly recreates the world of the immigrant carvers—from the inspiration found in fiery horses big cats and children’s laughter to the clatter, sawdust and politics of Philadelphia’s bustling multicultural workshops.”

Shelley Brown, another OG author, reviewed Perdita’s book for Amazon and said, “Readers who admire exceptional writing are bound to admire this book.”  She says , “It is difficult to convey the authentic  humanity of the wonderful characters, and the delicacy of their interactions.”

Perdita will have an “author event’ on September 21, 2019, from 3-4  pm at Booktowne, 171 Main Street, Manasquan, New Jersey.  The book can be purchased at the Comfort Zone in Ocean Grove.

As a resident of Ocean Grove for nearly 20 years, Perdita has enjoyed her historic cottage on the south-side of the Grove.

She wound up here after emigrating from England as a child and then living in Florence, Italy, Vermont , Philadelphia, Massachusetts, and New York City. She has been a writing teacher for many years and she has worked in publishing.

We met over at the Odyssey Coffee Shop on Main Avenue. where she usually goes for good coffee.  She likes the idea of more “culture” in town, so she was thrilled when the Odyssey opened followed by Balzac. In addition to her books, she has written short stories and essays which have appeared in publications such as the New Yorker, House Beautiful, and the New York Times.

Perdita is always writing, and she works at it when she is not entertaining grand children.

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Ted David’s new book “Forgotten Ocean Grove” is available on Amazon. The whole title is:  “Forgotten Ocean Grove

God’s Square Mile

New Jersey’s Most Interesting Beach-side Town”

It is a 161 page paperback edition which is a combination history and guide book.   It has an unusual design in that it consists of 147 segments which he calls “mini-stories.”

Ted David is an optimistic cheerleader for the small village of Ocean Grove, New Jersey. You will see his enthusiasm for this very special town throughout his book and summarized in his last chapter (147):  “Living in the Grove Today.”

Ted finds nothing controversial to discuss in this volume. It is a cheerful book. He says little about current lifestyles, land use issues, culture clashes, single minded groups, demographics, economics,or politics….ie the sorts of topics which we gravitate to on Blogfinger.  But nevertheless he manages to offer 147 anecdotes which are quite engaging.

However, I suspect we will see more revealed about Ted’s keen insights into people and Grovarian culture when his new book comes out soon:  “More From the Other Side of Ocean Grove.” 

His research is impressive on the historical side. He says that he is saving the readers the trouble of doing that themselves, and he dedicates this informative book to OG historians, past and present.

Ted sums up his overall theme by saying that he has “carefully assembled the long since forgotten pieces of the historical puzzle that create the modern day Ocean Grove.”   For those such as Blogfinger, who like to analyze the undercurrents in town, he gives us the tools to gain perspective.

Ted David leaves no stone unturned, including the marvelous anecdote called “The Rebecca Stone” about a Grover who was redoing an old sidewalk when he flipped over a paver and found that it was actually a tomb stone from 1869.

Many of the stories in David’s book are intriguing, and many are delightful as well as informative.  For those of you who love OG history, this concise book makes for pleasurable reading as well as for new historical insights into our town.

For example, here are a few of the titles:  “The Sunday Closing Laws; Camp Meeting Charter; Mosquitoes; Ferries on the Lakes; Fairy Island; Pound Boats; The Barbara Heck; U.S. Grant’s Visit; OG Jail; Life Guards and Bathing Masters; The Wisdom Bench; The Girls of Ocean Grove 1870′; OG Locals; and Condos in the Grove.”

In one section of the book, where the subject of naming the streets is discussed, David points out that the “Mounts” such as Mt. Tabor, are taken from real mountains  “mentioned in the Bible” such as Mt. Tabor and Mt. Hermon. He also discusses street names, and it is curious that no streets are named for Stokes or Osborne.  Yet a woman who is largely unknown in town, Barbara Heck, has her own street.

So, maybe it’s time to rename some streets, getting away from all those Camp Meeting preachers and references to the Bible.  After all, the Supreme Court of NJ had no problem in getting rid of those religious based blue laws in 1980, so in the spirit of separating church from state…….

Ted David is a great supporter of the Camp Meeting Association and the role of religion in our town. He is optimistic about the future.  At the end of his book he says, “Since 1869 there have been times, frankly, when the Grove faltered. Besieged by problems from within and without, some thought ‘God’s Square Mile’ would not survive. But the reality is much to the contrary, as is everywhere visible. Revitalization and renewal are the order of the day.”

He concludes by saying, “The Reverends Osborn, Stokes, and Thornley must smile down with satisfaction to see their handiwork march confidently into the 21st Century.”

Here is a link to the July, 2018 Blogfinger article about Ted David and his books.

Ted David Blogfinger article

“By the Sea” from Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

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