Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Ted David OG birthday essay’

Illumination Night. Ocean Grove. July 22, 2017. Paul Goldfinger, Blogfinger.net ©  Click to enlarge

 

Illumination Night. Ocean Grove 2016. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

 

I attended the re-dedication of the FitzGerald Fountain in Founder’s Park on Victorian Day July 27, 2019. I was only one of at least two hundred people. The choir sang fitting hymns, and preachers and politicians alike spoke eloquently about this gem of a hamlet called Ocean Grove on its 150th anniversary celebration.

The preacher referred to God’s living waters and on cue a grandson and great-grandson of Ted Bell, one of the primary instigators for the restoration of the fountain, threw the switch…..and nothing happened. Cameras and phones were raised to get shots of the first dribble from the four tiered Victorian structure. But no water was to be seen. All perhaps wondered whether or not some glitch in the system would ruin the dedication! Some people stared at the heavens questioning what had happened.

Within a few minutes, which seemed like hours, the fountain came alive. The assembled crowd cheered. Pictures were snapped. A group portrait was taken just like the original in 1907.

Once again God had not forsaken Ocean Grove. Founded shortly after the Civil War and enduring the fortunes of a growing country, Elwood Stokes the first president of the Camp Meeting Association once declared that Ocean Grove was “a religion as well as a town.”

Needless to say times have changed. At one time the all-powerful Camp Meeting Association controlled most everything. Time and the courts have changed a great deal of that, but the essence of the Grove remains. It is in fact a community, maybe not as utopian as the religious founders had in mind, but a community nonetheless.

They could not have possibly imagined the rise of Asbury Park and the entertainments it provides. But they did most likely envision that Ocean Grove would become a Mecca of sorts for tourists and pilgrims from all over the country, if not the world. It has been a special place in these last 150 years. Nothing at all like its neighbors in New Jersey.

People who do come here whether it’s for the day, a week, a month, a season or a lifetime most often say that it is in fact special, different, curious, interesting and a place to which they will always return. Whether it be for religious or spiritual purposes or simply for a stroll on Main Avenue or a dip in the ocean, the one thing people all share is that they want to be happy.

Whether the Grove will survive another 150 years remains to be seen, but the fact that people want to be happy will never change. I believe that Ocean Grove will do its best to provide that happiness…..just like the Founders planned.

 

Ted David is the author of “Forgotten Ocean Grove “and “The Other Side of Ocean Grove”

 

SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK:  “This Little Light of Mine.”

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: