You wouldn’t have known from the long line of people waiting to check in that the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel and Casino would be closing in just one week. My partner Rob and I arrived at the Mardi Gras-themed casino a few minutes after 4:00, when check-in began, and already guests had formed a long line along the gaming floor. Many were traveling both light and heavy: They had backpacks and pillows from home and bags with bottles of liquor, even though a sign in the self-park garage said guests were not allowed to bring their own alcohol into the hotel. 

Jesse Smith is a writer based in Philadelphia.

When I was a kid my parents would drive to Atlantic City, and I’d be in the back of our blue Nash on one of the two jump seats, looking out the open window. We knew we were getting close when we could smell the marshes, which we could do even before we could see them. The good stuff was on the other side. Even now when I should know better, it still often seems that the good stuff is always on the other side.


On the other side of what? Of whatever seems to be in my way between here and where I want to be — or, more accurately, where I want to go.

Lately I’ve wanted to see what lies at the end of little roads that run toward the water. Some of the roads… More…

I’m counting the weekends between now and Labor Day, crossing them off as they pass.  Even though I love the summer’s long days, the glimmer of fireflies rising from the grass as evening settles in, I’ll be glad when I no longer have to find new excuses for why I don’t want to go to the beach.

Every year in May I realize that I ought to look for my bathing suits, if only to remind myself of what size I used to wear. More than any other single clothing item, a woman’s bathing suit tells her where she is in her life cycle. And the consequences of what have been euphemistically dubbed “lifestyle choices.” I am everywoman.

When I was 20 years younger, I had physical therapy for a bad back. The young male physical therapist demonstrated what he wanted me to do. “Do this,” he said just before… More…