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I just read your article “Jack in the Pot” (10/9). Boy, did I reminisce! You described every aspect of the Atlantic City trip from start to finish and didn’t miss a beat. Your story brought back a lot of memories.
Years ago, this was the scenario my friends and I played over and over again for so long: About 30 or 40 of us would buy our tickets in advance from a couple that we knew wellshe the hostess, he the bus driver. We all played bingo two or three times a week, so we all looked forward to this outing once a month. Most of the group has since died off or moved away. (More of them died off than moved.)
Each time we would get together for our AC trip, we would have plenty of food for all, two or three good movies to look at, playing cards for a quarter a hand, pull-tabs purchased from the hostess, nice oldies-but-goodies music provided by our dependable and always careful bus driver, and, basically, all of us just having plain good fun. We had high hopes and dreams of returning home with pockets full of money.
Most times, the return trip was just as you described in your story. Our bus trip back seemed endless. People were much quieter, no full-swing card game in progress, just people exchanging notes on what progress, or lack of progress, they had had at the casino and more than half of us grabbing our pillows and blankets and trying to find a soft spot on the narrow seats to curl up and sleep out the ride back. Most of us got fed up with this scene after so many trips there, and so much money lost with hardly any winnings to talk about. So we sort of went our own ways and slowly drifted apart.
I have not visited Atlantic City now for over 15 years. For me now, the trip would be too long and tiresome, and I would always have in my mind the many dollars I lost over the past years, never, ever coming back a big winner. I did hear of a lady some years ago who won something like $2.5 million playing the quarter machine at one of the casinos there. But I have not heard of anything similar to this in a long time. Maybe some others may have had luck in AC, but a whole lot of us did not. If everyone came back home a winner, I guess the casinos would go broke? And I often wondered what the casinos do with all that money they take inpay rent or electric bills, I suppose.
Anyway, I wanted to thank you for a good story, and thanks for taking me back to the good old days. I will be watching the City Paper to read your next story on the dealings of Dover, Del., and Delaware Midway slots. I’ve been there also. It’s a kick in the teeth!
Thanks to Darrow Montgomery for the photographs accompanying the story. It was nice to look at the boardwalk from home! The picture of the one-armed bandits looked good, too. Whoa! I had better say goodbye right now, or I might find myself trying to gather up some of the old crew to take a homecoming trip to Atlantic City for good times’ sake.