Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum
Born and Raised at Ocean City
by Cornelia Richardson Yakish
2006



To everyone who remembers. I am Cornelia Richardson Yakish. I am 83-years-old and I am writing to tell you how much I enjoy receiving the Scuttlebutt and reading all about Ocean City and Berlin, Maryland.

My Father was Captain Henry E. Richardson. He only had a third grade education and he worked his way up in the Life-Saving Service as a Keeper, then when the Coast Guard took over he became a Captain.

My mother, Ida May Farlow Richardson, and Dad had five children all born at Ocean City. We lived on Baltimore Avenue. We were the last house up the beach. One Sunday morning one of the neighboring houses caught on fire and five houses burned up including ours, which was the last to go. My baby sister, Jeanette, was born in that house.

My mother Ida, and my oldest sister Anna were very active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. They used to put on minstrels shows at the Atlantic Hotel in Ocean City on the boardwalk. We all belong to Saint Paul's by the Sea Episcopal Church.

My sister Anna, who was musically inclined, sometimes filled in as a teacher in school and she played the organ in the church. My oldest brother Josh Richardson, turned out to be a butcher. He ended up over in Salisbury, Maryland with his store next to the Wicomico Hotel. Later on his son, same name, had a store up the beach in Ocean City and was active with the town as a City Councilman. When my mother was a young girl, her father and mother Joshua and Anna Farlow had a store in Ocean City. (See Joshua Farlow photograph at the end of this story.) So we go back many years in the town of Ocean City.

I can remember before the inlet was cut through I often rode in the back of a pick up truck going south down to the Coast Guard Station at North Beach. It was just 8 miles from Ocean City. The wild ponies of Assateague Island would run right along side of the pick up, then tire and group in the dunes. That was very exciting to watch the ponies. Some of the guardsmen had built small cabins nearby the North Beach station, where their wives would stay. When some of the crew would go on leave, Dad would bring his family (us) down for ten days. We were not allowed near the ocean, as we could not swim. Dad said, "he couldn't teach us as we were all too scared." I have a picture of my brother Henry Richardson and me and another little boy sitting on the steps of the cabin but don't remember who he is. It was exciting to a child to watch the guardsmen take the lifeboat down to the surf and do their drill. They capsized the boat and you couldn't see any of the men, then here they would suddenly pop-up out of the water safe and sound. We thought all those men were wonderful. Another time Dad let some of the younger crewmen at the station use his car and they took my older sister Marie up to the Capital Theater in Ocean City to see "Sunny Side Up." We all thought that title was funny.

I always loved the smell of the station, it was so clean: the spittoons and railings were always shinning and up in the lookout tower you could see forever.

After the inlet was cut in 1933 our easy access to North Beach was gone. We had to drive a long way through what we called Sinepuxent, to Henry's Grove and cross the bay to Assateague Island on a gasoline monitor. We had many a good adventure and met a lot of nice people along the way.

Once a month we would drive the beach to go down to Chincoteague, Virginia. Chincoteague was where the Coast Guard Headquarters was located. My Dad had some relatives there so he could take us along for the ride.

At North Beach, my Dad met two very nice men that came down to the island from New York City to go surf fishing. They were both with the police department in New York. Col. Wriliomsea, one of the surf fishermen, said he ran away from home in Amsterdam, Holland when he was thirteen years old, stove away on a boat and came to New York. Although he had an uncle living there, he never contacted him and grew up alone on the bowery and became a cop in New York City. He wrote a book and dedicated a chapter to the boys of the Coast Guard and his experiences there. Staincomp, the other surf fisherman had a story to tell too. We had a lot of men to look up to and to respect.

On Sundays we took the train down to Ocean City to see Aunt Kate and Uncle Sam Ludlam and family. Wish they would bring the train back. The Pier Ball Room saw a lot of us, as we were all dancers.

Took my training in the beauty shop business with Mrs. Violet Coates at the Atlantic Hotel and helped her in the hotel. I worked two summer seasons at Tony Sacca's Beauty shop and lived in an apartment in the Dennis Hotel across the street. Every night my friends would go round the corner to the shop and get a beer and a crab cake sandwich. I haven't had one like it since.

I moved to Delaware in 1951 after working at Rehoboth Beach, Dover, Lewes and Milford. I'm retired now and living in Georgetown.

I was married and have three children, Susan Ann lives in Pennsylvania, Teddy lives in Georgetown and Donna Marie is in Dagsboro, Delaware. I have 5 grandchildren and one great grand son.

I think we lived in the best to times with lots of love and respect, which seems to be missing today.

I have my christening gown and petticoat and another little dress. It's in good shape but fragile. I was christened June 3, 1923. My Godmothers were Mrs. Edna Trimper and Mrs. Lillie Scott. My Godfather was Ned Scott. The rector at my christening was Edmond Burris of St. Paul's by the Sea Episcopal Church. All my children, grandchildren and great-grandson have worn it. So it will come to you. I just don't know when. Keep up the good work and best wishes to all of you.

Bless You!!
Cornelia B. Yakish



image"
A very old, circa 1900 photograph of Joshua Farlow, my grandfather, preparing to make a grocery delivery at Ocean City.