People traveling from the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority terminal on May 15 were treated to a familiar sight, the effervescent Bridget Tobin waving to them as she resumed her position of manager of the Oak Bluffs terminal. Tobin officially retired from the Steamship Authority last October after 44 years on the job.
A Falmouth native, she started by booking reservations in the Woods Hole terminal and over the years worked her way up through the ranks to become manager of the Oak Bluffs terminal.
But to many, she was the Steamship Authority. If you ever urgently needed to get your car on the ferry, Tobin was the go-to person, her cheerful smile greeted Vineyarders and visitors alike for four decades.
“I was looking forward to doing some traveling,” Tobin said, “in fact, I was in California last winter visiting my daughter when I got a call from Bob Davis, (Steamship Authority general manager) and he said they hadn’t found a replacement for my old job and would I consider coming back another summer?”
“To be honest,” Tobin said, “I thought about it and after 40 years, I kind of missed the people — I missed helping the people.” She also missed the SSA employees, and she was happy to see many familiar faces when she returned.
Was it hard getting back in the swing of things I asked her?
“Like riding a bike,” she said.
Tobin will stay on as manager of the O.B. terminal until it closes in mid-October. As for coming back again next summer?
“Who knows,” she said, “we’ll leave that door open.”