Every summer during the 1970s, my brothers and I piled into my parents’ brown Buick and headed to Wildwood for a week at some gaudy motel. And I knew we were “there” when I heard “Watch the tram car, please,” the nasal warning blaring from the bright-yellow trams that lazily caterpillar the Boardwalk from end to end. In 1949, a woman named Floss Segal (and really, could she have been named anything else?) recorded the prim command, gently admonishing pedestrians to get the hell out of the way. Some 60 years later, the very same warning often skips as the trams bump along the boards, becoming “Wa-wa-wa-watch the tram car, please,” as if a DJ’s done a remix. No matter. My childhood Wildwood may have been condo-ed out of existence, but Floss’s voice still remains, an unlikely soundtrack to every summer stroll.
Pulse: Philadelphicon: “Watch the Tram Car, Please”
Originally published in Philadelphia Magazine, July 2008