ATLANTIC CITY – Even as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie praised residents who evacuated in response to the overblown hysteria of Hurricane Irene, suntan legend Myrtle Shaughnessy assured worried friends and family members that she would be perfectly safe in her Atlantic City beachfront condominium, having stocked up on Old Fashioned Loaf lunch meat, canned cream corn and tequila.
Myrtle sat out the one day storm and returned to the beach on Sunday. Neighbors said she scoffed at the idea that “a little rain and wind” could prevent her from maintaining her trademark golden suntan that’s inspired New Jersey women for over half a century. Bernie Schwartz, president of Myrtle’s condo Association Board, chuckled at the thought of attempting to scare her away from the beach.
“Myrtle Shaughnessy has spent every day from Spring to early Fall for the past seventy-one years working on her tan. She’s a Jersey Shore legend! Years ago Myrtle broke her back in a Ferris wheel accident and when doctors tried to keep her in the hospital Myrtle told them to go to hell! I’ll be damned if she didn’t have boyfriends wheel her bed out to the beach everyday. A little hurricane isn’t going to keep that lady from working on her tan.
Tanned celebrity, George Hamilton, teaches a tanning class at City University in Jersey City:
“You’re not going to get the deep tissue level of tanning that Myrtle Shaughnessy attains with an irregular tanning schedule. Huh-uh, ain’t gonna happen,” Hamilton tells his students. “That’s why she’s a legend. Every girl in Jersey at one time or another has worked to get the Myrtle glow, but few have the necessary determination and endurance. She’s out there seven days a week, ten to twelve hours a day for four months. Myrtle set the bar pretty high, but like she says, if it was easy… everybody would do it.”
Giuseppe Lambertino remembered his summer fling with Myrtle in 1966.
“Myrtle and I met at a Bobby Sherman concert and man, was she hot! We hit it off and for several weeks she was my girl. But when you’re Myrtle’s sweetheart you quickly learn that you’re playing second fiddle to Mister Sunshine. I wasn’t doing so well with that and one night I gave her an ultimatum; me or the sun. Needless to say, Myrtle told me what I could do with my ultimatum! Within a year I was living in a cardboard box behind an adult bookstore because alcoholism had eaten away my job, my savings and my liver. But I eventually found salvation and I’ve been sober now for fifteen years.”
Friends of Giuseppe said that talking with The Daily Rash brought back such painful memories of losing Myrtle that he ended up in a dark bar knocking back double shots of bourbon. The Daily Rash wishes Giuseppe the best of luck with his rekindled addiction.
Prudence Shaughnessy Applebaum, Myrtle’s only child, lives in a beachfront home in Miami. She liberally applies her mother’s wisdom in her own daily tanning regimen. She spoke with The Daily Rash at a South Beach T.G.I. Friday’s.
“Mom is definitely old school. For more than fifty years she’s used unsalted butter as her tanning lotion. She prefers Beurre d’Echire butter from France, but that stuff is like $18 a stick. I tell women who are on a budget that it’s perfectly fine to use generic butter. And Mom always lays out on aluminum foil. Always! She says if you want the kind of tan that will make other women hate you, you’ve got to burn deep enough to trigger seizures. Believe me, tanning on the Master level ain’t for the faint of heart.”
As embittered New Jersey evacuees battled traffic on their return home, Myrtle Shaughnessy wallowed in the sunshine and basted herself with French butter. When she finished she reclined in her beach chair and sipped her margarita. With a month or so of summer left for tanning, life was good for Myrtle Shaughnessy.