Way back in the early 80s, Brandon Hemp, Joseph Akob and Eddie Clark, then total strangers, bonded over their love of boogie boarding on the beach at 133rd St in Ocean City, Md.
With their sons splashing in the surf together, longtime Ocean City vacationers Cary Clark, Carol Hemp and Anita Akob soon formed their own special beach bond.
When they all returned to Ocean City the following summers, the boys renewed their friendship, adding some new faces to the mix.
But growing older and making new friends didn’t change a shared love for boogie boarding.
Spending summer vacation together on 133rd St. became an annual occurrence for the Hemps, Clarks and Akobs by 1992.
And the 133rd St. “family of friends” continued to grow.
By 1999, 3 generations of the Hemp, Akob and Clark families were spending summer vacations in Ocean City, and new friends were coming into the fold.
And, before too long, the 4th generation of 133rd St. was being thoroughly represented.
Most years, the growing group of Ocean City vacationers celebrates July 4th together with a 133rd St. party, like this one in 2001!
And this one a few years later.
In 2010, Carol Hemp set out on a beautification project to bring new life to the 133rd St. Dune Crossing.
Thanks to plenty of help from the 133rd St. “family of friends,” some mulch, and new plant life, the project was an overwhelming success.
They even added decorative bird houses in addition to flowers, flags and sculptures.
Which helped the group add even more friends during the 2000s.
Including Pam Maskell (left), Scott & Amy Grace (back row, 2nd and 3rd from left), Larry & Diane Macklin (center), and the “Mayor of 133rd St.,” Nick Usiondek (back row, 3rd from right), and the Thomas Family (right).
And longtime 133rd St. lifeguard, Bryan Joiner, who retired from the Ocean City Beach Patrol in 2013; but not before a proper send off from his family.
The farewell party gave birth to a new tradition and the 133rd St. group now holds an annual end of year bash on Labor Day weekend.
At the 2014 party, 33 members of the group participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in honor of fallen 133rd St. friend Ned McFeely. A testament to the close-knit nature of the group.
Speaking of close, many years and memories after their initial meeting, Joe, Eddie and Brandon are still great friends who still share a love for boogie boarding.
And Carol, Cary and Anita still look forward to their families spending summer days together.
While the next generation of the 133rd St. “family of friends” creates lifelong memories and friendships of their own.
And continue an Ocean City legacy that has spanned decades of summer vacations!