Who Are You?

While we lived in Raleigh, we were fortunate enough to be able to take two vacations to the outer banks. This story occurred during the first time we stayed there. I was able to rent a cottage in a town called Rodanthe, one of only three towns allowed from Nags Head to the Cape Hatteras area. This was because most of the island was designated as a National Seashore and was protected from crass commerialization.

Geri’s mom lived in Raleigh (eventually she lived in an apartment attached to our house, but at this time she lived in an apartment complex nearby) and of course was included in our vacation plans.


The cottage I rented had four bedrooms and two baths, though the rooms were small. It didn’t matter since we were right on the ocean, just behind the large dunes that form the island. As you can see from the photo, the island isn’t very wide and at Rodanthe it was a little over a ¼ mile wide with Pamlico Sound on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. It was probably 80 miles to the mainland coast of North Carolina from where we were staying.

It was a good place to relax and soak in the sun, television reception wasn’t very good so we found other ways to entertain ourselves. Danielle was about 7 or 8 at the time and David 4 or 5 so playing on the beach was great fun for them. Mom, Geri and I just were content to sit on the beach or play in the surf near the shore.

As you can see from the map, there is an island south of the main one called Ocracoke Island and it contains only one town, Okracoke. The northern part of the island is know for the wild ponies which live there and so we decided one day to take a day trip to see the Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras and then the town of Okracoke. Perhaps we would spot some ponies along the way!

We did see a few ponies after crossing on the ferry, but they were fenced in and obviously someone’s property and didn’t appear wild at all, but we were having a good time. Lunch time was approaching and Danielle needed to use a bathroom. We passed a place called the Trolley Stop on the outskirts of town, but opted to see if a more likely place could be found in town. There was one sandwich shop in town and I went in and began to order sandwiches and asked if she could use the bathroom. I was told that the bathrooms were not public and I said, but we are customers and was told there were no exceptions. The clerk then had the nerve to ask what else I wanted, to which I told her that we wouldn’t be eating there. Back to the Trolley Stop, and it was also a sandwich and lunch place and had facilities. It was one of those places where you ordered at one window and picked up at another, so I went up and placed the order. I really liked Eastern North Carolina Barbecue which is of course shredded (or pulled) Pork marinated with peppery vinegar and usually served with cole slaw. So, I asked the fellow behind the counter if it was NC barbecue and he joked with me about how the Yankees were always surprised with what they got. (See: “Thats What You Got, Now Eat It!”).

As I sat at the table with Geri’s mom waiting for the order to complete, a lady walked it who I was sure I had seen before. I told my mother-in-law, I’ve seen that lady before, but of course I couldn’t remember where or when. My number came up to pickup our order and as I was approaching the window, I heard the guy I had been talking to, say to some of the other patrons, “This is my Mom, down to visit for awhile”. One of the patrons asked “Where are you from?”, she replied; “South Jersey”. Any of you who grew up in the southern seven counties of NJ know that is what we call our area and refer to ouselves as South Jerseyans since we largely discount the remainder of the state as a different entity entirely. So, I jumped in, “I’m from South Jersey originally, what town do you live in”. The guy behind the window (who was the owner as it turns out) said; “Oh you never heard of the town!” I replied, “Try me!”. So he said, “Pedricktown!, I lived there growing up”. I asked where exactly and he told me on “Perkintown Rd!”. I said “That’s where I lived for 13 years and the next nine I lived on Pedricktown-Pennsville Rd”. He told me that he lived at the end of Perkintown Rd where it met US Route 130. I said, “Marion Sanders lived there upstairs”. His mother joined in with; “She’s my sister and we lived downstairs and just who are you?” I told her that I was Pete and Sis Nipe’s son and we had delivered milk to her sister for years. She then stunned me with; “I just attended your Grandmother Layton’s funeral few months ago, our families have been friends for years”. Wow, that’s why she looked familiar.

Turned out, her son was only a year older than me, but had attended parocial school (St. James in Carney’s Point) since she had married a Catholic named Scarfo, but her maiden name was Sparks and had lived near my mother in Penns Grove when they were growing up. I knew it was a small world, but here we were 90 miles from the mainland and 500 miles from where we grew up and yet we ran into each other.

Davdan @ 2008-2018