GEORGETOWN, Maine (AP) — Sarah Crosby is the grande dame of the Reid State Park toll booth.
Crosby has worked the forested entryway to Maine’s oldest state-owned beach since 1972, just 26 years after Georgetown resident Walter E. Reid donated the land to the state.
The 63-year-old retired special education teacher got the state park job, where her primary task is collecting a $6-a-head entry fee from her wooden perch, by walking up to the booth and asking for it when she was 19.
She has held on to the summer job ever since, taking just two summers off — in 1986, when she adopted three children who have long since grown and moved away, and four years ago, when she retired from teaching. Crosby, whose job title is officially listed as “customer representative assistant,” is the most senior of 59 state employees who have that title, state officials said.
The park has been part of her life since her mother was pregnant with her in 1953, Crosby said. She’s been coming back ever since.
“I remember my mother going to the park and getting a season pass for $9,” she said. “Now it’s $70. And I remember when it went up to $10 and everyone complaining.”
Crosby works at the state park— an oasis of sand and surf located about an hour’s drive from Portland — in the high tourist season when thousands come to vacation at Maine’s rocky coasts and beaches. Some of her fondest memories are of answering questions from out-of-towners who aren’t well-versed in the ways of the ocean.
“Are the tides running today? Is your beach near the ocean?” she said. “And people ask me all the time — what ocean is this?”
Crosby’s status as a long-tenured employee has made her beloved among park-goers and the park service at large, said Gary Best, a spokesman for Maine State Parks.
“She’s known to everybody,” Best said. “Certainly in an elite club.”
This year, she’s working on the Fourth of July. And she has no intention to quit.