Many different experiences have influenced the writing of “Buzzkill New Jersey”. My friends had 3 main hangout spots: “The Barn” located at the Sgroi House, Joe’s older brother Sal’s house, and the old Belmar house.
We didn’t call it the “Old Belmar House” back then, but the house has since been knocked down and rebuilt. Before that happened, that was our party spot for the summer. We were a block and a half from the beach.
The house belonged to my grandfather who left it to my parents. As I got older, my parents stopped going down there so much. The house was old-looking, but pretty nice with a big backyard. The only place I ever felt uneasy was the upstairs.
Very rarely would I spend the night alone in that house. The reason for that was a few times when I was up there, either sleeping or just waking up, I would hear someone calling my name. It was a woman and she would call my name in motherly way. “Joey,” I would hear. I remember that because I was sleeping or just waking up, I would not get scared. Afterwards, I told myself I was dreaming or hearing things. I definitely heard the same voice, multiple times, speaking the exact same way.
This happened at least two times that I can remember and possibly a third. What is interesting, is that my grandfather, my father and I share the same first name “Joe”. Older family members would refer to me as “Joey”. It is entirely possible that same nickname was used on my father when he was younger. It is possible that whoever was calling to me, was assuming they were talking to my father.