OCEAN CITY – When Betty Kurka retired from Moore Business Forms in the 1980’s, she quickly realized retirement was not for her.
“I had to do something,” she said.
And so, at the suggestion of a friend, she quickly found employment at the south tram ticket booth on the Boardwalk.
“So here I am,” she said, “still here.”
For the last 31 years, Kurka has been a familiar face at the ticket booth. And although she is now 94 years old, she said she has no plans of slowing down.
“My son jokes that one day I’ll have to come by ambulance,” she said. “Every year, if they want you back, they send you a letter. So if I get that letter I’ll probably respond. If I don’t get it, it’s back to the recliner.”
Kurka, who was born and raised in Pocomoke, is no stranger to Ocean City.
Her son, Glenn Kurka, said his mother grew up visiting the beach and Boardwalk. For two or three summers in the early 1960s, she worked at a restaurant on 8th Street. And by the turn of the decade, she and her family had moved to the resort permanently.
“They’ve been coming here their whole life,” he said of his mother and father.
Kurka said her job at the ticket booth keeps her occupied and entertained. She said she works four days a week for roughly seven hours a day during the season.
“I love the people and I love to talk,” she said. “I also see a lot of the same people that come back year after year.”
Kurka noted that she also enjoys working alongside her coworkers.
“We’ve had people of all occupations come and work here,” she said. “We’ve had a warden, we’ve had policemen, we’ve had firemen. Years ago, we had a lot of college kids and that was fun.”
While her role at the ticket booth has remained the same, Kurka said she has witnessed several changes at the trams over the last three decades, most notably the business.
“To tell you the truth, they used to be busier,” she said. “But now they are busier at night than they are during the day. And of course, weekends are busy.”
In addition to selling tickets, Kurka said she also helps visitors find their way around the area.
“You wouldn’t believe the questions they ask,” she joked. “’Where’s the Boardwalk? Where’s the ocean?’ My number one question is ‘Where are the bathrooms?’”
Kurka said her seasonal position at the ticket booth isn’t her only job. In the offseason, she works three days a week at the Atlantic United Methodist Church thrift shop.
“When I stop here, I start there,” she said.
And while she may be the oldest seasonal worker at the Boardwalk trams, she said she appreciates the work she does each year.
“I really enjoy it,” she said.