1950s Summer Vacations at the Shore, Part 2
As with so many family experiences, vacations can create lasting memories that stick with us throughout a lifetime. In the first part of this series, Norma Kay (Penman) Hurter shared photographs from several trips that her family took to the shore. Most were from a 1952 summer vacation to Ocean City, New Jersey, while one was from a day trip taken to Atlantic City.
In the second part, Norma Kay opens her archives again to share more photos from her family’s vacations. Each image provides a wonderful glimpse at the relationships between relatives, including siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins, as they enjoyed time together at the beach.
Summer Vacation Photographs
By Norma Kay (Penman) Hurter
In the summer of 1954, my uncle Jay Hagenbuch (b. 1909, d. 1981) and his wife, Margaret “Peggy” Lewis (b. 1914, d. 2007), and their two daughters, Sondra “Sonny” (Hagenbuch) Mertz (b. 1937) and Linda (Hagenbuch) Houck (b. 1944, d. 2005) joined Kathryn “Kay” (Hagenbuch) Weiser (1908-1980) and Lillian (Hagenbuch) Penman (b. 1913, d. 2011) and their families for a vacation to Ocean City, New Jersey. We all stayed in a three-bedroom apartment, with most of the kids sleeping on the living room floor. Grandpa and Grandma Hagenbuch—A. Pierce and Mary E. (Kirkendall) Hagenbuch—stayed home that year. It was probably too much excitement for them!
Here we all are one evening on the Ocean City Boardwalk. The family members in the photo are as follows:
- Front Row: Margaret “Peggy” (Lewis) Hagenbuch, Harvey Weiser Sr. (b. 1914, d. 1995), Harvey “Skip” Weiser Jr. (b. 1942), Conrad “Bill” William Weiser (b. 1939, d. 2015), Sondra “Sonny” (Hagenbuch) Mertz, and Jay Hagenbuch
- Back Row: Kathryn “Kay” (Hagenbuch) Weiser, Norma Kay (Penman) Hurter (b. 1944), Linda (Hagenbuch) Houck (b. 1944), and Robert “Bob” Penman (b. 1941)
My mother, Lillian (Hagenbuch) Penman, was the photographer and is taking the picture.
Here are all the ladies,on the Ocean City Boardwalk:
- Standing: Kathryn (Hagenbuch) Weiser, Sonny (Hagenbuch) Mertz, Peggy (Lewis) Hagenbuch, and Lillian (Hagenbuch) Penman
- Sitting: Linda (Hagenbuch) Houck and Norma Kay (Penman) Hurter
Missing is my sister, Janice (Penman) Donnelly (b. 1935, d. 2018), who was with her husband stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia. He was a United States Marine.
Here are all the husbands and sons on a boardwalk bench:
- Left to Right: Harvey Weiser Sr., Harvey “Skip” Weiser Jr., Bob Penman, Bill Weiser, and Jay Hagenbuch
Linda Hagenbuch, Bob Penman, and I loved our evenings on the Boardwalk. I can still picture us all on the dodgem (bumper) cars. Uncle Jay was the ringleader, chasing us around the circle and bumping into our cars. I had never driven one of the cars before and started going around in circles causing a giant traffic jam. We were all laughing and having a grand time. We had so much fun on all the amusement rides. I can still taste the cotton candy, french fries, ice cream, and salt water taffy.
Linda, daughter of Jay Hagenbuch, and I were great friends as well as first cousins. During our summer vacations from school, we took turns staying at each other’s homes for a week. Sometimes we slept at our Grandparents’ home, next door to me in Pottstown, PA. We always had lots of fun. Sadly, she passed away in 2005, so I can’t share our memories with her anymore.
Together again! The first picture is my cousin Linda and I playing on the beach. The second picture captures the moment she buried me and was giving me a mermaid’s body. I remember burying our cousin Skip too, all the way up to his neck. It didn’t last long, because he jumped up and ran into the ocean.
This photograph shows my cousin, Skip Weiser, and I riding the waves. We were like brother and sister since we were toddlers. My mother, Lillian, took care of Skip while his mother, Kay, was teaching school. Kay was my mother’s sister. Skip and I were together through junior high school and beyond. We even raised our children together when they were young.
Here is my mother, Lillian, with my brother, Bob, and I as we are riding our bikes on the Boardwalk one morning. Our whole Hagenbuch family would be out riding with us. These were memorable times. There was some drama that I recall. One time I ran into my cousin Bill’s bike, and he was not too happy with me. I remember being very upset and sorry that it happened. My cousin, Skip, also had a little accident with his bicycle, but we all got over these mishaps.
In the photo, Bob and I are wearing T-shirts from Camp Ministerium. This was a church camp we attended in Shawnee On Delaware, PA near the Delaware Water Gap. The camp is no longer in existence.
This picture is from 1955 and shows my mother, Lillian, Bill Weiser, me, Kay Weiser, Skip Weiser, and Harvey Weiser all standing outside our home in Pottstown, PA. We’re getting ready to leave for yet another summer vacation at the seashore. I couldn’t find any more photos from that trip. However, we went on a lot of fun trips with Aunt Kay and Uncle Harvey.
Looking through Norma Kay’s collection of photographs, it’s impossible not to consider how we all have snapshots of family trips stashed away in boxes, organized in slide carousels, or saved to our computers. Taking travel photos is practically second nature for many of us. Yet, who actually invests the time to jot down the names of people in the pictures or their memories of vacations?
Reading these articles got my father, Mark, talking about some of the trips he took with his family as a boy—even on to the New Jersey shore! Summer vacations are an important part of the American experience. However, our memories of these only last so long, unless we properly document them for future generations.
What do you remember about your childhood vacations? Where and when did you go and who did you travel with? Consider sharing some of these details in the comments below!