As familiar a figure as the tides coming in and out Martha Jean Addy knows all there is to know about Bethany Beach. And she'll share it with you, too

August 15, 1998|By Rob Hiaasen

BETHANY BEACH -- You should talk with Martha Jean, people say to people poking around town. Her full name is Martha Jean Addy. Her full age is 85, which commands a certain local perspective:

Bethany Beach is only 12 years older. On the north end of this beach, the summer hotel named Addy Sea is 22 years younger than Martha Jean. The hotel -- now a bed and breakfast -- was born and raised in the Addy family. And, in 1959, Martha Jean and her husband, C.E. Addy, ran Addy Sea themselves.

"Well, I never considered myself a businesswoman -- but I became one," Martha Jean says. "We had about 40 guests at a time. I served big breakfasts -- juices, melons, chipped beef on toast. I made the guests sandwiches for lunch."

They sold the old hotel in 1973. Widowed 13 years now, Martha Jean occupies her time joining about every town civic board. She is Bethany Beach's reigning historian and keeper of flames past.

"I just swept my bedroom because my daughter's coming to vist," Martha Addy said on an early July morning. "I'm sitting on my bed now. I'm very comfortable."

Good. Comfortable is necessary for an unexpected round of free association. The First Lady of Bethany Beach was psyched to trade words with us:

Jet skis. "Too noisy."

Old age. "Seize the day."

Ice cream. "Low fat."

Addy Sea. "Oh, a dream place."

Tourists. "Too many."

Jack Nicholson. "Good actor. (Isn't he an actor?)"

Porpoises. "Delightful."

Sea Colony condos. "I can't think of a word bad enough ... pointless? ... horrible?"

Boogie boards. "Great."

Eyebrow piercings. "Another horrible thing."

Bottled water. "Not necessary here."

Cigarettes. "Killers."

God. "Spirit of all our lives."

Sand sculptures. "Creative."

Television. "Necessary -- at my age."

Teen-agers. "Interesting."

Salt water taffy. "Sticks in my teeth."

Bethany Beach. "The past ... was the best."

Pub Date: 8/15/98

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