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My Connection to South Jersey

By Kevin McCaskill Jr.

In the cover photo, I’m wearing a Camden (NJ) High School sweater, while my sister, Vanessa, is watching 📺.

I’m from Springfield, MA, the Forest Park section. Neither one of my parents is from this area. My Mother is from New Bedford, MA. My Dad is from Paterson, NJ. They met at Western New England College, in Springfield, MA.

Every summer, up to 2003, I spent at least two weeks in Willingboro, NJ, 20 minutes outside of Camden, NJ.

In the the ‘70s, my Grandmother and my Dad moved from Paterson to Willingboro for a better life. My Grandmother raised my Dad alone. The only other person who helped was my Great-Grandmother but she stayed in Paterson.

My Grandmother worked at Camden High School in the Link Center for years.

While she was a nurse at Camden, Dajuan Wagner played there; maybe you have heard of him. He scored 100 points in a game. I watched that VHS 📼 1,000 times. Wagner was one of my childhood heroes. He was great at basketball and my Grandmother had a connection to him.

I actually met Wagner when he was at Camden. I can’t remember the exact time frame but I was in NJ and went to work with my Grandmother one day. Wagner was getting a physical or something and she introduced me to him. I don’t remember much of the meeting though 🤷🏽‍♂️ 💭 .

Fast forward 20+ years ⏩

I’m standing on the baseline, 6 feet from Dajuan Wagner, while his son, DJ Wagner, and the AAU program they are building, NJSE, puts on a show for the crowd.

I’m from Springfield but I will always have love for NJ, especially South Jersey.

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