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Maryland, My Maryland, Part 6

One of the oldest attractions on the boardwalk at Ocean City is Trimper's Amusements, created in the early 1900s. I personally remember the great Zoltar, the gypsy fortune teller. In my youth, he only required a nickel to give you a card telling you what fate had in store for you. Sorry Zoltar but in those days, I'd rather play the baseball game with my nickel — and I got to be pretty good. Sadly those machines are gone (hopefully to an amusements museum) and replaced by the latest electronic game.

And look how Lisa (left) and Janie have changed once they entered Trimper's. Fun can still be free.

Trimper's has a wide assortment of rides for both big kids and little kids. Here is the Kiddie Carousel. These carved animals offer a miniature version of their prized, historic full-size carousel.

One of my favorite rides here as a child was the Whip! You ride in the little car in a straight line until you get to the end then it whipped you around with the centrifugal force pushing you back in the seat.

And the water boats were another favorite. You went around the pond, thinking that you were steering the boat but, sorry, not really.

They also had another boat ride where the boats traveled on wheels up and down on a circular wooden track. I was sad to see that this old favorite is no longer here.

As we got older, the bumper cars (or as they call them the Kiddie Dodgems) became a ride not to be missed. No kids riding this day so they were sprucing up the cars for the approaching summer season.

One of the unique rides (in my experience) is this Kiddie Ferris Wheel. For young children, it is not nearly as scary as a big Ferris Wheel — it only elevates the riders to perhaps 15 feet above the floor. Also, the cage is designed to keep everyone inside with the release only accessible from the outside.

Future firefighters can practice ringing the bell as they race to the next fire. I don't remember this one from years ago — maybe this is the ride that replaced the boat ride that ran on a track.

The jewel of Trimper's Attractions is the full size carousel. This 1912 purchase cements the historic significance of Trimper's Rides. It was that year that Daniel Trimper purchased a massive carousel from the Herschell-Spillman Company in North Tonawanda, NY. It was 50 feet in diameter with a uniqueness derived from the only other carousel made by the firm at that time having been sent to Coney Island, and that one was later destroyed by fire.

The hand-carved animals are incredible — and no two are alike.

While in Ocean City, I read an article about the woman who maintains all the carousel animals for Trimper's. She started as an artist but helped maintain the rides just to make ends meet. Now she is an artist of a different sort — one who keeps the animals in repair and looking great.

Here a stork makes his appearance but note the rooster just past him as well as a psychedelic frog at the right edge and a zebra braying in the background.

Wow, a blue horse with medieval armor just ready for the knight to show up for combat.

I do not recall this story but my mom told me that I was crazy about the carousel when I was quite young. It made such a warm spot in Mom's heart that she gave me a couple of minature carousel horses for a birthday gift — probably so she could retell the story and keep that memory alive. I still have them and they are in my display case.

I thought this goat was rather interesting — I don't recall seeing many goats on carousels.

Here a very well-executed sea serpent is roaring out of the sea. He would be fun to ride.

Speaking of riding the carousel, my three sisters — (left to right) Lisa, Janie and Connie — revisit their childhoods. Actually, Lisa does not remember Ocean City from her youth — she was only two years old when our family moved to Florida. Her memories are from later trips to visit our parents who retired to Salisbury, some 30 miles inland — and subsequent visits to Ocean City — our mom loved the boardwalk and the beach (and the soft-shell crab sandwiches and the caramel corn and the fudge, etc.) — and Lisa had a lot of catching up to do.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com