When I was a little Michelle, my father’s side of the family had a shore house in Wildwood, NJ. Now, I don’t remember much from that one summer we spent a week down the shore; however, I do recall a lot of laughs. My father’s side of the family is and was plagued with the giggle gene. I think each male and female that I can recall was a bit of a goof ball as well.

I can only recall some glimpses of what happened that week. I remember my dad laughing a lot and all the men sitting around the kitchen table all telling one story after another. I failed to mention that my dad was Irish and if you have ever been around an Irish storyteller then you understand that plethora of belly laughs and suspense that was hanging above the table. My father was one of the main storytellers (I found out it was a gene passed down from his father) and I ate up every minute of it.

However, I recall my cousins being down the family house with us. Of course we created our own mischief that will be turned into stories we will sit around a table recalling and laughing about as our little ones sit as we did when we were that age.

My father died in 1985. With his death, my father’s whole side of the family was lost to me. I was nine years old and didn’t understand why my father was dead, let alone comprehend why I couldn’t see my cousins anymore. So much was taken from me when I was a child, that now I am in the process of reclaiming it all back.

In time, I would love to have a shore house where we could all gather. We are family and no matter how much distance gets put in between that, it doesn’t take away the fact that we are family. In just the past few weeks, I have learned more about my father and myself then I have my whole life.

I want this stuff back. I want the family that was lost to me back. I need their memories of my dad to help reconstruct who he was because my memory is filled with negative words and feelings that I am learning aren’t accurate.

Sometimes when I do get enough courage to meet up with my father’s sister and her children, I feel like he is looking down at me screaming, “Good. Now, stay in touch with them this time.” Then I don’t and I bet he gets mad. He probably wants to know what is wrong with me. I also would like to know that answer. I can just picture him throwing a fit like the one he threw when my hamster ate his good suit. He was Irish after all.

But, at the end of the day, all is not lost. My family is smaller in numbers, but through marriages and births, we are seeing an upswing. I want my name back. I want my family back. There is no promise of tomorrow, so why do I keep putting everything off?

Oh, and about the title for this blog. If you get a chance, I highly recommend going down to Wildwood, NJ. They still think that neon is king and you can’t turn your head without hearing a Michael Jackson song blaring.