Since I was young, a tall tale has danced around me and the evidence has eluded me. I grew up in a small town named Keyport. Keyport was deemed "the Gateway to the Jersey Shore", a small bay side town along the shores of New Jersey, a fishing town. A town where my Great Grandfather Louis Von Stultz helped start the local hardware store, Keyport's first bank, and his coal, feed, ice, and oil yard, Stultz Fuel. My Great Grandfather Walters was a commercial fisherman and lost his life in the New York Harbor (Graves End Bay) leaving my Grandmother Mimi fatherless at age five in 1918. My great grandfather Capt. Edward Madison Walters had sailed to NY to attend his sisters Christmas party, never to return home. He had received word that a storm thickened during his sisters party that evening. Capt. Walters climbed aboard his dingy and approached where his vessel had moored, his first and only mate was sent to shore, the waters too rough. Capt. Walters ship was found some years later, he had tied himself to the mast of his fishing vessel and went down with his ship. His body and ship were only found because a curious diver volunteered his service's some 10 years later. My grandfathers, Babe and Whitey were both hunters. Whitey (moms Dad) also a sea captain, Babe (my name sake) an oil man. Both grandfathers shared tall tales of the old days most often with me. Whitey worked for my grandpop Babe and his brothers at our oil field Stultz Oil when fishing slowed down from the rougher winter weather. I grew up in a house across the street from the field and cut across the tracks to school every day. I would always stop in when my Grandfather's trucks would stop to refuel. My father, refers to it as a "coal yard education". Those were great days. "Babe" as my grandfather was called due to his small stature was more the hunter. Grandpa Babe always talked of his hunting trips and adventures while we filled the old oil trucks with heating fuel for our customers homes. I always dreamed of hunting with the pair as a kid and thought that someday I would be right there with them. Unfortunately, I never did get that chance. I did however learn to shoot in the Marine Corp when I was just 18, just never got to hunt with Grand pop. I was a sharpshooter, one point away from being an expert, guess its in our blood! Whitey was crazy, and everyone knew it. Grandpa Whitey always told stories that rang true. Most that gathered around him would tell stories after he walked off laughing hysterically. Stories of him biting heads of Seagulls for fun, I kid you not. I often would visit his house where he would trap the neighborhood cats, sometimes letting them go, sometimes keeping them for bait, and sometimes... he would snap their necks and throw them back over the fence. Again, I'm not kidding. Whitey is a different man today. Now full of love and war stories. Nicknamed Whitey as a child from his blonde head of hair. He was also a medic in France in WW2 and received numerous medals some years later. It would be safe to say he is not as crazy due to losing his sight from the reflection of the ocean some years later. He gets out once in awhile, gets lost, and the coppers pick him up and return him home. Boy, is he a piece of work! While all these men had their own backgrounds and characteristics, they all told tales of hunting, fishing, war, and... the Jersey Devil. Both Grandfathers and all the men at the oil field talked of the Jersey Devil. Few, claimed to have seen him. I first heard these tales probably at the age of five or six, I was somewhat frightened those early years. One year we got word that my grandfather "Babe" had caught something quite unusual. Word got back to town that a nest was found and a strange animal was caught. Could it be the Jersey Devil? I could not sleep... curious, yet disturbed. Unfortunately, I had school the next morning and the fuel yard windows were blanketed. Even the school kids had received news of a nest disturbed and a baby devil caught deep in the Pine Barrens. Deep in the pines, where the sun... it never shines! The windows at Stultz Oil were very big, a large clock told people passing by the time, yet not much else stood in the showroom. That is, until my grandfather Babe caught and stuffed the baby Jersey Devil. Large crowds of young and old blocked the sidewalk and filled the windows elbow to elbow. But I weaseled my way through to lay eyes on the "Devil". It was true! With wings like a bat, fangs like a vampire, and a devils tale...there it stood. It made the papers! Now everyone knew of the Jersey Devil in the Stultz windows... Hahahaaa!!!! Whelp, years later I learned that before Babe was an oil man, he was also studying to be a dentist (wood teeth), and a taxidermist. So... the good ole Jersey Devil was a fake. DANG! I had believed it for years... and yet still the stories of a devil would surface now and again. Why? Was there a devil? As you know, many books have since been written about the devil, what a mystery, what a legend! Ok, now fast forward a few years... Now, my father worked the fuel trucks too, and I still stopped by everyday to check in. What is that crazy, loud, echoing sound coming from the bay I asked? Why its the Jersey Devil, I was told. Hahahahaa, very funny!!! There is no Jersey Devil! Nothing terrorizing the shore, feeding on animals, scaring small children and families. It's B.S.!!! Dad laughed once again because he knew how the old guys taunted me with stories of the devil. Yet, I would once in awhile hear these strange sounds coming from our bay. Dad told me that infact, I was... hearing the Jersey Devil. A boat, ...sneaking into our bay! The bay was not for racing, and the Coast Guard didn't appreciate this chaos. Yet, a small boat would still sneak into the waters and tear it up from time to time. Once again, I was left wondering if this boat was a myth or legend? JERSEY DEVIL... Found! More of this story later... and the the strange connection to me. Full circle! Pictures include: Mimi with one of the Stultz Oil trucks, young "Babe" and his catch, and the 1st pics of "The Jersey Devil", more to follow. Auto/historic related I promise. I gotta get some work done today, hahahaaa. Stay tuned!