Day 578: Browns Mills Thrills

Laetitia’s group headed northeast out of Woodbine, stopping first for a nature walk in Peaslee Wildlife Management Area. When they moved on, a member of Laetitia’s group wanted to stop at Mystic Islands. The woman’s family lived in Newark, and when she grew up in the 1960s, her family dreamed of having a vacation home there.

The Mystic Island development featured simple, prefabricated bungalows closely packed in rows along waterways that connected via a channel to Great Bay, and ultimately to the Atlantic Ocean. The woman’s family had driven through the development several times, picking out locations they liked, but never got together enough money to buy a home there. Time marched on, and she and her sisters married and moved away. Eventually, their parents died. The houses now looked dated and shopworn and some had been replaced by larger, more elegant homes more in line with twenty-first century tastes. “You can’t go home again,” said Laetitia, quoting Thomas Wolfe. The woman wiped a tear from her eye and said, “Let’s go on to Browns Mills.”

Though unincorporated, Browns Mills, New Jersey, has a population of more than 11,000. The bar gossip that became the limerick of the day was about two elderly spinster sisters who had exhausted their savings but prided themselves at their resourcefulness in meeting their financial obligations without going on welfare.

Two old ladies who lived in Browns Mills
Often gave to bar patrons cheap thrills
When they exposed their groins
And were showered with coins
Which was tacky but paid all their bills.