Back to Work

Where oh where did summertime go? Even though the weather will likely remain warm for at least another month, the calendar tells us it’s the end of summer — marked by the arrival of Labor Day.

The long weekend pleads for one more picnic, one more barbecue, one more nap in the hammock. Then vacation is over. Labor Day traditionally means it’s time to put away the white shoes, deflate the pool floats, pull out the marigolds and plant mums.

But Labor Day wasn’t established as the end-of-summer holiday.

The first Labor Day — created by the Central Labor Movement as tribute to the American work force — was Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City with a parade celebrating “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.”

Over the next 12 years, individual states adopted the holiday. On June 28, 1894, the United States Congress passed an act establishing the first Monday of September as an annual, legal holiday.

At Bay Weekly, we pay tribute to our neighbors — and our colleagues — who labor throughout the year, whether on their first job or on their third career. 

Oksana Bocharova – Farm Manager: 40, Gambrills

Originally from Russia, Oksana Bocharova moved to the United States in 1999. Today she manages the old Navy Dairy Farm in Gambrills. She likes managing vegetable production the best, but she also handles marketing, sales, facility rentals and promotion of activities like the autumn corn maze and school tours of the farm.

“I enjoy having multiple things to do, and I never get bored,” Bocharova says. “I really like it when I see the looks of appreciation on our customers’ faces at the farmers’ market. I also love the corn maze, because I like it that kids and their families can have a quality time and enjoy themselves as a family here on our site.”

–Steve Carr

Cody Norman Carter – Actor/Model/Big Vanilla Café Barista: 20, Orchard Beach

Cody Carter gets up early to make your breakfast. In his job as the morning barista at Big Vanilla fitness center in Pasadena, Carter forces himself to become a morning person.

“Worst part is waking up around 5:30 in the morning,” Carter says. “I hate that.”

He may not be happy when the alarm goes off, but his mood changes when he gets behind the counter.

“I love interacting with people,” says Carter, who chats with gym goers as he whirls health shakes in multiple blenders and pours coffee. “Beautiful people come through and want their shakes.”

But barista-ing is only a fraction of Carter’s working day.

“I have this job and I do promotional modeling and some charity work,” says Carter. Acting, however, is his real love.

“Acting is telling a story through a character, relating to a character and bringing it out to the best of your ability,” says Carter. His latest production, Daddy Where Are You?, was invited to return to the D.C. Black Theatre Festival.

Carter hopes you’ll log on to his latest acting venture, the teen web series Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden. Series Three of the popular online soap begins in late September:

–Diana Beechener 

Hazel Dennis – 50, St. Michaels

Hazel Dennis watched the construction of a building on the corner of McKinsey Road and Ritchie Highway. She had no idea what business it would house, but she knew she wanted to work there. She felt a connection to the building that looked like it was going to be a castle. It is the same connection she feels to the elderly people she cares for at the assisted living facility that occupies her castle.

She’s been taking care of residents at Sunrise since it opened in 1997. To Dennis, her job is a calling.

“It doesn’t seem like a job. It’s like my family. A day of visiting loved ones you care about.”

Dennis remained with her Sunrise family throughout last February’s snowstorms.

“I like making them happy. If I can come to work and make one resident smile, I’m happy,” she says. “Their golden years should be their happy years.”

–Marilyn Recknor

Sharon Farthing – Yoga Instructor: 51, Annapolis

When Sharon Farthing started practicing yoga in 1993 for her back pain and posture issues, the results far exceeded her expectations. Not only did her back aches and posture improve; so did her sleep, breathing and mental clarity.

“Yoga changed my life 100 percent,” she says, calling it “total stress management for body and soul.”

She professes to feel better now than in her 30s or even 20s. Changing unhealthy patterns in her life, she gained a deepening connection to her spirit. It’s a lifetime journey and a never-ending growth process, and yoga teaching is her calling.

“Yoga is a gift to be shared, and from each student I receive a gift in return: their inspiring life stories, their smiles, their love and connection with each other. Through teaching I have met, and continue to meet, so many interesting people.”

Farthing has been answering that call for 10 years. She currently teaches yoga at Anne Arundel Medical Center and at Yoga East on Kent Island. 

–Jane Elkin

Anne Ferro – Administrator: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,
U.S. Department of Transportation: 52, Annapolis

“I have a front-row seat to a unique time in our nation’s history with President Obama at the helm,” Anne Ferro says. “I’m fortunate to work with a dedicated group of career federal employees and political appointees whose mission is to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes with trucks and buses. Simply put, every day our goal is to save lives.”

Ferro travels about 40 percent of her days. This week she’ll speak to DMV directors from the U.S., Canada and Mexico in New Brunswick, hold several nationwide press conferences on safety strike forces investigating high-risk bus companies and high volume crash corridors, then go to Texas to speak to graduating federal inspectors and safety investigators.

“I want to send them off on a high note to go and save their neck of the woods,” she says.

“I try to make the part of the world I touch a little better every day. It’s an honor to do all that for President Obama under Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who is just passionate about safety.”

–Dotty Doherty

Corey Grainger – Vac-Com Truck Operator for the City of Annapolis: 30, Glen Burnie

The arrival of Corey Grainger and his big powerful vacuum truck is always a welcome relief.

“I just go around the city cleaning up,” says Grainger, for three years a Vac-Com truck operator-driver for the city of Annapolis. “When it comes to sewer mains, this stuff can get very expensive, and it can back up into homes. I like helping people.”

In goes the hose, and out comes the trouble.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin

Jennie Harrison – Elementary School Teacher: 24, Annapolis

Jennie Harrison has known since second grade that she wanted to be a school teacher. She helped teachers in the classroom instead of playing outside at recess. When she was 11, Harrison and a friend started Backyard Blast, a week-long kids’ summer camp that ran for five summers in Harrison’s own backyard. She’s been a camp counselor dozens of times and hosted a neighborhood fair, again in her backyard, to benefit Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital.

“I’m a teacher because of the inspiring teachers I had who made me feel special,” Harrison says. “I can’t ever remember wanting to be anything else.”

This fall, Harrison is back to school starting her fourth year teaching second grade at Seven Oaks Elementary in Odenton. She is also taking her spot behind a desk again as she begins her Masters in early childhood education through Towson University.

“I’d like to keep growing in my profession so I can make learning better for my students,” Harrison says. Her teaching extends outside the classroom, too, as she shares her passion for dancing by founding and directing Seven Oak’s dance team.

“My favorite thing about teaching is letting children know that they can be more than they think they can be,” Harrison says. “They have the power within themselves to do whatever they want, no matter where they come from.”

–Katie Dodd

Janice Holmes – Severna Park

Janice Holmes has a job of many hats. She reads to children; selects and alphabetizes books; plans events; designs interiors; and cleans the bathroom.

It’s all in a day’s work as co-owner of The Annapolis Bookstore on Maryland Avenue. But the best part of her job is the people who walk through the door.

“I get to hear other people’s stories, from the most erudite to the most innocent,” Holmes says. “It’s like a neighborhood bar, except people are usually sober.”

Holmes and her partner, Mary Adams, strive to make their bookstore a “third place” or place of gathering outside the home and workplace that anchors and contributes to the authenticity of a community. They host discussions, talks and author signings on a regular basis and celebrate literary milestones as they would major holidays. “People engage with a stranger and discuss things they wouldn’t necessarily talk about elsewhere,” says Holmes. “I love being in a place that facilitates connecting people to stories and ideas.”

–Katie Dodd

Jiymicki Johnson – Waitress: 24, Annapolis

Contagiously bubbly and outgoing, Johnson was a catch by her employers. Fortunately for her, she says, Chick and Ruth’s Delly has lived up to the bait.

“So many interesting people walk through that door every day, and for many of them, they’ve been doing it each morning for 30 years,” she says. “I’ve met people, politicians, the mayor, delegates — people I’d never imagined meeting in my life, and the thing they have in common is that every single one of them is happy to be here. It’s an incredible atmosphere, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Johnson, who has been waiting tables for six years, says that her near-year at the popular Main Street deli has been the best, thanks to the clientele and friendly coworkers.

She is headed to Anne Arundel Community College this fall on the road to law school, but she is thrilled to be a part of the Chick and Ruth’s community as she works through the next phase of her life.

–Amy Russell

Betty King – Consignment Shop Founder: 95, Asbury-Solomons

Sharp as a tack and still spunky at 95, Betty King was getting bored. Sure, she worked two days a week in Asbury’s laundry, folding clothes, but she had the other five days to fill.

“I asked myself why am I just sitting around here doing nothing when I can be doing something to make people happy?”

With help from a team of enthusiastic volunteers, King has founded Betty’s Close, a clothing consignment shop, at Asbury-Solomon’s retirement community. Its grand opening is scheduled for September 12.

“All of the money we make will go to Asbury,” King says. “It’s not for me.”

King’s a businesswoman; she owned and operated a Gaithersburg beauty parlor for 59 years.

–Margaret Tearman

Carrie Leary – Director Anne Arundel Community College CyberCenter: 29, Dunkirk

On the first day on the job Leary, was given $5 million.

Okay it’s a government grant, but as director of Ann Arundel Community College’s new CyberCenter, it’s her job to distribute it for training in cybersecurity.

It’s a field where jobs are opening — just as Leary herself boarded the IT bandwagon with academic qualifications in business and economics, an MBA in international business and IT and a consulting stint overseas melding the two.

“I like to be challenged with things constantly changing,” she says. With the Fed’s need for program-certified techies, Leary turned to teaching, chalking up a student certification rate of 100 percent. But, she jokes, “I needed to get out before my success rate was ruined,” thus moving to the directorship, where she’ll administer that $5 million, advising students and doing community outreach.

Leary would like to see more women in her field. It goes back to the roles they’re put into growing up, she thinks. “No one says they want to be cyber security hackers.” But, she says, “I think it’s becoming cooler.”

–Lane Page

Scott Marple – Lifeguard and Swim Instructor: 49, St. Leonard

Scott Marple switched elements this year. A former Marine infantryman, Marple jumped into the blue waters of Calvert County’s new Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center. One step to success was transferable from his old job as instructor of Marine officers to his new: “Being nice to people makes them more relaxed, and swimmers need to be relaxed.”

After the Marine Corps, he worked for 12 years with generals as assistant to the director of the Maryland Army National Guard. This summer, the Aquatic Center’s first, Marple directed kids 16 to 18, rookie lifeguards and swim instructors often working their first jobs.

“They took their jobs seriously. They were phenomenal,” he says, part of the reason he calls this his “best civilian job ever.” 

“I love teaching and I love the water — and I can stay in shape,” he says. “I’ve got the best of both worlds.”

–Sandra Olivetti Martin

Jimmy Martin – Owner Free State Press: 62, Annapolis

Born in Broadneck, Jimmy Martin has owned and operated Free State Press in Annapolis for the past 37 years, starting in the hallway of an apartment building he rented on Main Street.

Martin’s store is a social hub where people come to talk about politics and the latest town gossip. As the only union printer in the area, Martin produces most of the political brochures for every election. You can also find him pitching in with community events, like First Sundays on West Street, which he helped to start.

“I just love helping people improve their image by solving their printing problems,” he says.

–Steve Carr

Judy McBride – Hypnotist:
66, Annapolis

Forget what you’ve seen on television: Judy McBride doesn’t swing a watch in front of your face and make you bark like a dog.

A former science reporter, McBride calls hypnosis “the science of the mind.” Hypnosis, she says, is all about using suggestions “to shift any subconscious belief that limits your success.” 

McBride helps people conquer habits like smoking and overeating and problems like self-confidence and Attention Deficit Disorder. According to McBride, physical ailments are often brought about by subconscious negative beliefs, and a shift in those beliefs can help cure or manage disease. Before surgery or chemotherapy, she says, hypnotic suggestions can lead to “a less stressful surgery and a more rapid recovery” with fewer side effects.

People who come to McBride’s office open up. “You can’t help but care about people when they are really open and they trust you,” she says.

–Marilyn Recknor

Karleen Monday – Marina Manager: 41, West River

Karleen Monday gave up high heels for flip-flops and couldn’t be happier. The manager of Harbour Cove Marina in Deale was a vice president of a large commercial real estate firm in Washington until lured away three years ago.

“My background is commercial asset management, and a marina is still an asset that has to be managed,” she explains. Besides, the travel time from West River can’t be beat. Not only has her commute improved, so has her quality of life. The job has taught this Type-A personality to step back a little. Her favorite part? “Meeting people.”

Harbour Cove is the right size for Monday to know her wide array of customers personally. “People come here happy to go boating,” she says. “It’s completely laid back.”

Contrary to popular belief, boating season is down time on this year-round job. During off-season, Monday is actually busier, what with taxes, books, budgets, inventories and planning capital improvement projects. But you know what they say: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

–Lane Page

Megan Moore – Co-owner of Annapolis Running Shop: 35, Annapolis

Megan Moore takes working in the fast lane to a new level. As co-owner of the Annapolis Running Shop on Main Street, this high-energy entrepreneur is constantly moving, whether to help customers in the store or to test each pair of shoes the Running Shop sells by running in them herself.

“Business is in my blood,” Moore says. “I grew up behind the counter of a retail store.” Moore is referring to the glass and ceramics store, Easy Street, on Francis Street, that her parents used to own. Ownership has been turned over to Moore now, who juggles both businesses simultaneously. She shares ownership of Annapolis Running Shop with her husband, Jon Line, whom she met five years ago when he fit her with a new pair of running shoes.

Both extremely athletic, Moore and Line have run countless races, from 5Ks to Iron Man triathlons to marathons. Both have a passion for the sport and will help anyone interested, from the novice jogger to life-long runners.

“I love to see people accomplish their goals,” says Moore.

–Katie Dodd

Bernie O’Brien – Pub Manager: 26, Annapolis

When Bernie O’Brien started working as a doorman at Fado Irish Pub in D.C. during college, he thought he’d just be paying the bills. Seven years later he and his commuter bike are symbols of Fado’s in Annapolis, where three years ago he began his career in management.

“I love this pub and everything it stands for,” O’Brien says. “We have exceptional customers, do a lot of charity work, and I truly believe in the concept.” 

O’Brien, the youngest of five in an Irish family, has embraced his heritage since childhood and carries passion into work.

“Historically in Ireland, pub stood for Public House,” O’Brien says. “I treat everyone that comes in here the same way I would in my own home.”

One of O’Brien’s fondest Fado memories is last year’s St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s cancer research foundation, for which 60 people — including four brave women — shaved their heads.

“There’s always something great here,” O’Brien says. “I’m happy to be a part of it.”

–Amy Russell

Christine O’Neill – Artist, Art Teacher, Charter Boat Owner, Minister: 59, Abroad

The life plan Christine O’Neill and her husband have charted calls for jobs that occupy them only part of the year. The warm months, their Chesapeake season, they work. The cool months, their island season, they sail. Their year-round home, the 41-foot catamaran Felix the Cat, carries them through both seasons. 

During their Chesapeake season, Felix is on call for charters. “Mostly two- or three-hour sails, mostly Friday through Sunday,” O’Neill explains. The O’Neills pick you up any place you like and take you places you’ll like even better. Romantic nights on the moonlit Bay, graduation parties, business outings, even weddings. To fill the latter bill, O’Neill has a wedding license, so she can legalize your vows.

Art and art classes also fit into the plan. O’Neill has just finished teaching four weeks of outdoors watercolor journaling for Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Classes in drawing skills for watercolor painting resume in September — but only for five weeks.

“Mid-October,” she says, “we sail Felix down to the islands.”

–Sandra Olivetti Martin

Kirby Posey – Statistician, U.S. Census Bureau: 47, Annapolis

While other boys played ball, Mississippi-born Posey pored over World Book encyclopedias. What fascinated him most were entries about cities, states and countries, with their numerical data about people, agriculture and manufacturing. At the bottom of the pages he read Source: U.S. Census.

When he was in seventh grade, his father got a surprise answer to the what-do-you-want-to-do-when-you grow-up question: “I want to work for the Census Bureau.”

After graduating from Mississippi State University with degrees in math and computer science, Posey taught school, but not for long. Soon he was on his way to Washington, D.C., to work for the Bureau, where he handles income statistics for local areas in the American Community Survey.

Posey says he has the perfect job to satisfy his natural curiosity about people. “I’m doing what I was born to do.”

–Marilyn Recknor

Dan Schoos – Upper School Latin and Outdoor Education Teacher: 46, Annapolis

Dan Schoos enjoys both the positive and eclectic mix of students and faculty members at The Key School — and his various roles.

“In Latin, we study the nuts and bolts of language but also historical questions that parallel our daily lives: What does it mean to be an imperial power? How do peoples of different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds come together as one nation? Latin is not dead; it is vivid and vital.”

Schoos helps lead nine outdoor education trips a year for students, faculty and parents. He loves the community building, the interwoven learning and the creativity the trips inspire.

“On the 10th grade Brandywine River trip, they study European civilizations and the beginnings of an industrial economy. Each student is given an identity. One year we had a student who took on the historic role of a Dupont chemist.”

The student’s imagination was captured in his journal. “It became clear that he was becoming insane from the chemicals. In the end, his writing was complete gibberish!”

–Dotty Doherty

Alistair So – Episcopal Priest: 34, Annapolis

As the rector at All Hallows’ Parish in Edgewater, the Rev. Alistair So finds one aspect of his job both challenging and rewarding: Every day is different.

“One moment I may be celebrating a birth with a parishioner and then get a call that a parishioner has died or another has a loved one in crisis.”

Effectively the CEO of his parish, So works with the board or vestry and the volunteers who run the food bank, church committees and outreach programs.

“I like that everything I do is in the context of the church and the sacraments. I like preaching, I like celebrating the Eucharist and important human events like weddings and funerals.

“There is something powerful about being there during all these human interactions,” So says. “I call my job a privilege. I don’t take it lightly.”

–Dotty Doherty

Eric Smith – Retired Cartoonist, Educator, Pathfinder: 65, Annapolis

Eric Sith moved to Annapolis 35 years ago to become the first and only cartoonist for The Capital. He retired in 2007 and soon began his second life as a local college professor. He teaches Ethics at the University of Baltimore and last year began teaching American government at the U.S. Naval Academy.

“I not only need to know the subject I’m teaching, but also how to teach it effectively. I find this engrossing and fun,” Smith says.

He also volunteers as a Pathfinder every week at BWI/Thurgood Marshall Airport, helping travelers navigate their way around the busy airport.

–Steve Carr

Kane Wagner – Cabinet Shop Assistant: 15, Prince Frederick

Kane Wagner’s first job came to him second-hand. It was first offered to his older brother, Justin.

“Justin said no thanks, which worked out really good for me,” Wagner reports. He spent his summer working at Calvert Woodworks, learning new skills and the art of assembling a kitchen — from the ground up. The biggest challenge was decyphering how new kitchen cabinets, in pieces in boxes, are put together. It’s a lot like a puzzle, but Kane caught on.

“I’ve always liked to take apart things that weren’t working, fix them, and put them together again,” he says. He’s decided he likes working with wood and will perhaps pursue a career path that includes woodworking. “I’m thinking I’ll start out in the Army, then go to college,” says the high school freshman.

In the meantime, he continues working at the cabinet shop on his free days, when he’s not attending Calvert High School. He’s still got a few years to put together his future.

–Margaret Tearman

Rand Wentworth – President, Land Trust Alliance: 56, Annapolis

Rand Wentworth grew up in suburban New Jersey, an avid Boy Scout who witnessed unprecedented urban sprawl. The vanishing wilderness troubled him, but not enough to dissuade him from a career in commercial real estate development.

“It was an exciting job,” he says, “but I wasn’t happy.”

Then he had an epiphany. Now he saves land — land that people love, like rivers, mountains, forests and parks — land that will remain untouched for everyone to enjoy.

Wentworth works with Congress to pass tax incentives and funding for land conservation, and he travels around the country to help land trust leaders — “the most fun, inspiring people in America” — accomplish their mission. His greatest reward is knowing that his work will last forever. To date the Land Trust Alliance has protected more than 30 million acres, an area roughly the size of Indiana.

–Jane Elkin

Michael Wholihan – Martial Arts Instructor: 50, Silver Spring

From the age of four, Michael Wholihan snuck out to box at the Lanham Boxing Club. He could not box in the club’s tournaments because a parent’s signature was required, and his mother did not approve. Little did she know that martial arts would become Wholihan’s lifetime career. 

By the age of 14, he was an assistant teacher. At 18, he earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Three years later, he founded the Karate Club of America. As a seventh-degree black belt, Wholihan continues to make a living doing what he loves: instructing others in martial arts.

“I feel like I’m contributing to the lives of students and connecting with people in a good way,” Wholihan says. “We maintain respect and courtesy, and I promote using it outside of the classroom.”

He teaches classes at various community centers and in nine private schools, including St. Mary’s Elementary in Annapolis, where a handful of students aged six to 11 learn martial arts. Classes consist of a combination of traditional and contemporary Tae Kwon Do, kickboxing, nunchuck use and jiu jitsu. 

“With 38 years of staying active in the field, I can’t help but learn different pieces of martial arts,” says Wholihan. “I can design a program to accommodate anyone.”

Wholihan hopes to relocate his summer program to Sheepshead Peninsula on the southwest coast of Ireland, where his family owns land. Until that dream comes true, he’s here teaching all who want to learn.

–Katie Dodd

Delphine Williams – Artist and Author: 66, Huntingtown

“I have been doing art most of my life,” Delphine Williams says. Making art: Her acclaimed Forty Blossoms from the Bouquet: An African-American Tribute, a series of portraits recognizing African American women, was exhibited at the Annapolis State House and Annmarie Garden. And teaching art, as a substitute teacher, home hospital teacher and an art enrichment special projects tutor.

In 2009, Williams added children’s book author to her resume, with Freckles With All the Speckles.

“I want to inspire our children early in life to go to school, get a good education and pursue their aspirations,” she says of her reason for writing her book.

Williams is a graduate of Morgan State University and a lifelong resident of Calvert County.

“I love sharing my art with my community,” Williams says. “I pray that my African American tributes will help to uplift and inspire our future generations.”

–Margaret Tearman