The Times and Tides of Ocean City, Maryland
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Falling For Ocean City
by Dana Kester-McCabe
2006


Beth, Kathy and Dana
My first visit to Ocean City, Maryland was quite memorable. It was President's Day Weekend in February of 1979. I came along with two carloads of college kids from Kutztown College in Pennsylvania. We drove down to enjoy the three day weekend with classmate Brad McCabe who lived in West Ocean City. When we got here Friday night we had a grand time with Brad's parents Vernon and Carol McCabe and their friends: Art and Jan Davis, Doug Sysel (and his wife at the time whose name I can't remember), Dick and Linda Zabor, and Paul and Joyce Brown. We drank beer, played pool, sang, and told jokes late into the night. Some of us stayed up all night watching the sun come up over Sinepuxent Bay.

We were having such a good time the next day that we hardly noticed when the skies turned grey and the snow began to fall. Soon we were in a snow covered wonderland. Doug, who was a local veterinarian, came by with a horse drawn sleigh and took us all for rides.

Even though it continued to snow and the roads were pretty slick we drove across the Route 50 bridge to see the sights of Ocean City. After all we did not want to come all that way with out hitting the beach. The ocean surf was actually frozen. A local newspaper photographer at the Ocean City Inlet asked my friends Beth, Kathy, and I, to pose sitting literally on the icy waves. We were beach babes in winter coats. (That's me on the right - I haven't been that skinny in twenty years!)

It's funny that that is the only picture that I have from what turned out to be such an unforgettable weekend. That night, the end of the pier in that picture fell, as the ice flows shifted with the changing tides. It has never been restored, though the rest of the structure is a popular fishing pier that still stands with in view of the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum. That is not all that fell that weekend. Some of us fell in love. This was the beginning of my romance with Brad McCabe. We were married a year later during another snow storm - but that is another story.

Later that night the storm intensified. The roads became too treacherous to drive. The three day weekend turned into five days. Our hosts generously housed and fed us until they were down to bread and peanut butter. Even the local store shelves were bare because they were unable to restock. Sadly, the McCabe's got word that Brad's grandfather had passed away peacefully in his sleep that weekend. Finally the weather abated and the state police reopened the highways. It was time for us to go back to school. We returned to college leaving Brad behind to attend his grandfather's funeral.

The news papers called it the storm of the century. Of course that's what every big storm is called. But this Nor'easter blizzard probably was one for the record books. It certainly makes my record book - it was the weekend that I fell in love with a young man, a place, and the wonderful people who live here.


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