April 8, 2010

Never Done... (Chapter Three)

Circa, Fall 1968... Shortly before man landed on the moon (the following year)... and yes, I remember watching that, not unlike Tom Hanks' characters family and friends in "Apollo 13". All seated around the closest, largest (25") console color TV, only to see the broadcasts from the lunar surface all in black and white (like the All My Children episodes we watched with Mom)... Anyway, just a 54 year old's recollection of the event, and yet I wander, once again, from my original post's intent...

Welcome to Coral Gables, Florida. 730 South Alhambra Circle was in a "newer" area of the city. The home my parents purchased was built in the 1930's. There were similar homes in the immediate neighborhood, but also homes that were built more recently... Including the home directly across the street, built by Anthony Abraham, a well known auto dealer in south Florida, and later purchased by Ben Novak, owner of the Fountainbleau hotel (later known as the Fountainbleau Hilton) on Miami Beach. My parents were pretty smart to buy this run down home in an upper crust neighborhood, live in it, make the needed improvements on it, and then a year later make a decent profit on it's sale, to propel us to the the next level in the "dream" of the father.

While using Dad's contacts and resources at the job he had landed with an aircraft ground support equipment manufacturer, Mom used her more basic skills and shopped the salvage shops and (literally) the dump, the solid waste disposal place, to decorate and furnish this house, while they continued to search for a sailboat that would accommodate the six of us (and the cat and dog) on an extended voyage...

Side note here... Our cat was Charlie Brown, a seal point Siamese (with crossed eyes and a kinked tail). Charlie Brown took offense to the the Abraham's boxers coming over to our yard across the street, and had, on more than one occasion, jumped one of them (he was 24 lbs in his prime) and literally flipped them over until they yelped their way back across the neighborhood street, to the security of their own home.

While living in the house on South Alhambra, I attended Ponce de Leon Jr. High. I was in the 7th grade when we left California, but since we had taken so much time off (from school) my parents thought it would be best to have me start 7th grade all over... I hated it... Not so much for the academics, as for the phys-ed class. It required me to participate in sports (which I had no understanding of) and then strip and shower with kids my age that had hair (and other things) I didn't have yet. It was very uncomfortable for me, and yet somewhat exhilarating (and embarrassing) as I always got a "little boy" hard-on during this process and was always looking for a way to hide it... Again, I hated it. I felt ashamed and knew there had to be something wrong with me, so I hid it and did my best to fit in...

Before we found "the boat" soon to be known as the John Alden designed Schooner "Firebird" I started the 8th grade at Ponce... I chose to take an additional class, called an "Early Bird". This class started at 7:00am and was with Ms. Bricknell (the history teacher)... If there were ever a person in my young years that impressed or influenced me, it was Ms. Bricknell... I have always loved history since that year, and have even contemplated going back to school to get my teaching credentials, so that I might impress another, like she did me... Where-ever you are Ms. Bricknell... Thank you!

To be continued...

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA, over 40 years later.

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