Eva Goods knew how to catch fish. And she knew what to do with them when she caught them.
“Believe me, she could cook those fish,” says her friend, Liz Holman. “She was a country cooker. She would cook a fish that would melt in your mouth.”
Holman figures she and Goods were fishing buddies for 40 years, almost always in the same spot in their neighborhood — off the Boardwalk at Mediterranean Avenue, in Atlantic City’s Northeast Inlet.
The two would go every day they could, but Goods hadn’t been able to fish for the past five years or so, about since she turned 90. In 2008, she had to move to a Pleasantville nursing home, and she was 95 when she died last month. But her old friend was still visiting her there.
The friendship started when Holman, now 78, would push a cart full of fishing gear past Goods’ old Drexel Avenue home on the way to the water. One day, Goods stopped Holman and offered her a ride.
But later, Goods moved to Inlet Towers and an apartment with a view of Absecon Inlet — and, even better, a view of her fishing spot.
“Right from her bedroom, she could look out and see how many people were on the Boardwalk,” says her son, Ronald Goods, who grew up in Atlantic City but lives now in Riverside, Calif. “If she saw people fishing out there, she knew she had to get out there, too.”
Ronald, a 62-year-old postal worker, says his mom also moved out to California for a few months to live with his younger brother, Daryl. But she hated paying big phone bills just to keep up with friends back in Atlantic City, and she missed something else about her life here.
“She didn’t fish at all” in California, says Ronald, who adds that his brother died in 2000, at age 49. His death was hard on their mom, who loved spending time with her family, which includes five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Ronald would come back to visit his mom twice a year, with his kids. And his mom was always happy to teach a new generation how to fish. He says she liked that even more than her other favorite activity with the grandchildren — taking them shopping and spoiling them with gifts.
When age started slowing Eva down, she had to spend most of her time in that bay-view apartment. Holman was still a regular companion, but she went from being a fishing buddy to being a caretaker.
As for what they talked about in all those years together, Holman laughs and says, it was “a lot of foolishness, believe me.”
Still, they shared 40 years of fishing and memories, 40 years when “everybody knew our spot. If they saw us coming, they just used to ease off. ... You didn’t mess with Eva’s spot,” Holman says. “We were the matrons of that Boardwalk.”
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