The Times and Tides of Ocean City, Maryland
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Working for the Trimper’s - 1970
by Denise McDermott
2006


Denise McDermott
My favorite memory of Ocean City Maryland? How can I pick only one from so many? My most memorable, I suppose, was the year (1970) that I had the opportunity to work and room at the Trimper's for the ENTIRE SUMMER!!!

I came down from Baltimore Highlands, right after my last day of classes from high school. I didn't even wait for graduation day! I just wanted to get down here to the ocean and start working. I had been coming to Ocean City, MD as far back as I could remember with my family. A few years prior to 1970, we would stay at the Trimper's Inlet Lodge for our vacation weeks, so I already knew Miss Joanne, Jr., their children, and the folks who worked for them.

The summer of 1970, I met new friends, most of whom I've lost contact with, but they touched my life. I would get up early to start my day. Air conditioning was still not a big thing back then, so the windows to the rooms would be open to the sounds of the seagulls, and the sweet smell of salt water would fill the air. I would often hear the foghorn that was out at the end of the jetty early in the mornings, its long mournful tones warning boaters to beware of the rocks. There were also no buildings south of the Lodge to obstruct your view of the inlet itself. What a great view it was!!

I'd begin my day by sweeping the back porch floors of the hotel and I would set out the umbrellas to the tables and wipe things down, getting them ready for the hotel guests. After that, I would sweep the floors to the snack bar and bar areas. On to servicing and cleaning rooms until after lunch, then, it was out to the booth to sell tickets for the rides. Some evenings, I would operate the rides, the loop-o-plane, tilt-a-whirl, or merry mixer. I'd get a kick out of how excited all the kids would be, and take notice of their parents as they would watch their children with that faraway look in their eyes as they remembered their own happy summers at the ocean.


Denise McDermott with Frank Knight
For me, it was a summer I will never forget. It was my first summer away from home. I had new friends, had a great job working for a warm and caring family, and I learned the hard way that I couldn't work all day and stay up all night hanging out with friends for three weeks straight. Even at 18, there is a point when your body says, "Enough!! I need rest!!" I was so sick, that I couldn't get out of bed and Joanne kept a Motherly eye on me until I was better. After that, I made sure I got my proper sleep.... at least most of the time.

When storms would come up suddenly, whether I was "on the clock" or not, I'd help Joanne get the umbrellas in and all the room windows closed so the rain wouldn't soak the floors or the guest's beds or belongings. I didn't mind helping out...it was just the right thing to do. The Trimper's were always so good to me.

On my day off, I would go with the girls up the coast to where the dunes were (around where condo row now is), to get out of town and onto the beach, away from the crowds. Or we'd go to Trader Lee's for a bottle of thick, rich chocolate milk, and then on to Salisbury, via as many back roads as we could possibly find, to our ultimate destination of the Park, where we would swing on the swing sets, or just talk and relax our day away. In the pier building, where Ripley's Believe It or Not, is now housed, was still holding dances back in 1970. I actually got to dance on that old Pier Ballroom floor, but it was to the new beat of rock and roll. What fun it was!! Oh how I wish we had a grand space like that, now that I enjoy real Ballroom Dancing!

When my folks, Frank and Helen Knight, were down for their vacation, I would visit with them on one of the Inlet Lodge's back porches, and catch up on the goings on back home. Dad would get out his banjo and I would accompany him on my guitar. We would play the old songs that he and Mom use to sing in their younger days for hours into the night. I miss their silvery voices and the sounds of Dad's old banjo. Perhaps someone reading this will remember them playing music and singing in the old Irish House bar, or the old Cork bar, or even at the bar at the Inlet Lodge years ago.

I hated to see that summer come to an end. Slowly, businesses were closing down for the season. Workers began leaving to go back home, to school, to winter jobs, to families. I wanted to stay on and find work so I wouldn't have to leave my beloved ocean! Eventually I too left to go back over, west of the Bay Bridge. I vowed to return and STAY. We have come to the ocean faithfully over the years for vacations and visits. Last year I was able to honor my vow, when my husband Dennis and I became full time Eastern Shore residents, and Ocean City is now only a few minutes away.

My parents have long since gone and Miss Joanne too, but the memories I have of that special summer at Trimper's, will forever live on in my heart.


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