BERLIN – Trimper’s Rides. Frontier Town. The White Marlin Open. The arson fires of the 1970s.
These are just a few of the places and events featured in local author Bunk Mann’s new book “Ghosts in the Surf.”
Available online and in retail stores by Oct. 26, “Ghosts in the Surf” is a companion to Mann’s first book, “Vanishing Ocean City,” a photo-dominated historical account of the beach town from 1875 to 2014.
“I never thought there would be a second book originally,” he said. “A year or two went by and people started saying, ‘Hey you should do another book.’”
Within the first year of its release, Mann said “Vanishing Ocean City” went to a second printing after selling out of the first 5,000 copies. To date, he has sold more than 9,000 books.
And in January of 2017, Mann began writing “Ghosts in the Surf” – a phrase initially used in a review of his first publication.
“I had an insurance agency over in the Salisbury-Fruitland area and when I retired I was bored,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do with myself. I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll start this and see what it’ll be.’”
Over the course of the next two years, he completed extensive research, interviewed more than 170 individuals, gathered more than 700 photographs – some of which have never been published – and compiled 340 pages detailing historical events and locations in and around Ocean City from 1945 to present.
Special sections throughout the hardbound book include lost buildings of Ocean City, Shanty Town, the Segregation Era and the Ocean City Beach Patrol, to name a few.
“I can’t remember one moment that wasn’t fun,” he said.
Mann noted his favorite part of writing “Ghosts in the Surf” was talking to locals – from elected officials to Boardwalk Elvis – about Ocean City’s past.
“I have met some really tremendous people,” he said. “Everybody would say ‘I don’t have much to tell you,’ but everybody I talked to had something to add to the book that makes it just a little bit better.”
Though he was raised in Salisbury, Mann said he worked every summer from 1962 to 1969 as a beach boy in Ocean City. He fondly recalled many of the places and events featured in his book, from a now nonexistent sandbar off the beach to the March storm of 1962.
“I saw things I will never forget,” he said. “So these chapters on the ‘62 storm bring back good memories for me.”
Mann said his books are a way to preserve memories and historical accounts of the resort.
“With ’Vanishing Ocean City’ I started with mostly elderly people that remembered the ‘33 storm that created the Inlet,” he said. “Out of the 20-something people I interviewed for the section on the ‘33 storm, I think only three of them are still alive. All of those memories are gone forever. So I feel like I’m kind of recording memories that will hopefully last for 50 or 100 years from now. The reason I’m doing it is I really like history, I enjoy writing, and I enjoy meeting people. I’ve just had so much fun with it. It’s something I’ll leave behind that’s positive.”
Mann recognized his publisher, Sandy Phillips of Grand Living Magazine, for her help in creating “Ghosts in the Surf.”
“I wrote every word of it, but it would still be on a yellow legal pad with a bunch of pictures taped on it and cutlines underneath if it weren’t for her,” he joked.
Mann also acknowledged the many people who set aside time to speak with him.
“I want to thank all the people who were so generous with their time and their pictures and their memories …,” he said. “There are a lot of good people in Ocean City.”
And while he is still reveling in the release of his second book, Mann said he has plans to publish a third book in the coming years.
“There are actually a lot of people I still haven’t got to interview that I’d like to,” he said.
For more information on retail locations, or to purchase a copy of “Ghosts in the Surf,” visit www.vanishingoc.com/purchase.
“If they like the first one, they are going to like this one,” he said. “It’s similar in structure, but all different pictures, memories and quotes.”