Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum
Summertime Jobs at Ocean City
by Burt Raughley
Tallahassee, Florida
2008

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Ocean City has always had a three month season, and, back when I lived there in the 40's and 50's, a nine month off-season. The population was 900 in 1950, and I believe nearly half of the folks came to our home basketball games. Remember, television was in its infancy and attending a home town sports contest was pretty exciting. And, after Labor Day, the town went to sleep. Raymond Dennis ran movies at the Capital Theater only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. We had Bob Truitt's poolroom across the street from the theater, Townsend's Drugstore, and Purdues Soda Fountain across the street. Other than that, we would just cruise around town in our cars or maybe challenge a buddy to go up on the Beach Highway and race, which was two lanes and kind of wavy, so our speedometers would hit a higher number when our wheels siteorarily left the road surface.

When I passed my driver's exam at Snow Hill in December of 1950, I was on cloud nine. My Dad helped me buy a 1937 Plymouth, so I was, finally, a licensed driver - the last boy in my class to do so, because I was the youngest. Fortunately, in the summers of 1949 and 1950 I worked for John Dale Showell managing one of his beach umbrella stands, along with my buddies George Hurley and Bill Brown. I walked to work at North Division Street and the boardwalk from my home at 107 St. Louis Ave. Good money, too, $ 20.00 weekly gross, for seven days. The teenage social aspects of working on the beach made up for the meager salary. Plus, many evenings I would set up pins in Mr. Showell's bowling alley, and earn another couple of dollars.

But, having a driving license, gave me an expanded potential in the job market, so for the next two summers Mr. And Mrs. W.P. Laws employed me as a grocery clerk and delivery driver. They were awfully good to me, even hiring me back the second year after I smashed up the front end of their Studebaker pickup truck the first year. Many of the permanent residents shopped by phone, just by picking up their phone and asking Edna Murray to connect them with Laws Grocery, so I got to meet some nice folks delivering their orders.

After graduating from Ocean City High School in June of 1952, I entered the U. of Maryland in September. As I was living away from home and Mom and Dad's benevolence, expenses mounted up, so I connected with Scott Wallace, our Postmaster, for a job driving the mail truck in the summers of '53 and '54. What a great job! And higher pay! Of course, as the youngest and most naive of the guys working there, I took a lot of kidding. But I took it in stride and I will always remember the wonderful camaraderie there with Scott, Herb and Grandville Cropper, Lynn Engh, Bob Bob Massey, Bob Murray and Russell Bradford.

I have always felt myself lucky to have had the job opportunities that a small seashore town like Ocean City offered.