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45 GASPARILLA MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 Thursday, October 26, 1950 was a real eye opener for me. That was the day my mother delivered me into the world and I caught my first glimpse of daylight. Although my parents had raised five other children at Boca Grande in the preceding 24 years, I was actually born in the old Arcadia General Hospital on U.S. 17 in, obviously, Arcadia. My older brother Philip was born in Punta Gorda in 1930, but the other four were born in our home at the port. As I grew older and began to assess my surroundings, I found one of my major attractions to be the chickens and guinea hens we had roaming free in the yard, as well as the hogs and dairy cattle. The house I was raised in is gone now, but just as a point of reference, if you stand on the east apron of the old “Power House” and look toward Charlotte Harbor, you will see a lake. That lake is man-made, and our house was situated in what is now the midpoint of that lake. As for the Power House, my father was chief engineer until around 1953, when the generators were removed and taken to Hamlet, N.C. Florida Power & Light Co. then became the electrical provider for the entire island. My father was promoted to stevedore, a position which he shared with Eugene Bowe until 1966, when he became boat captain for the railroad’s lodge customers, taking them on tarpon fishing excursions that were very popular and no doubt brought a lot of business to the railroad. The cattle disappeared around 1952, but the hogs and chickens remained ... and I was terrified of chickens. We had an old oak table in our living room which, when bumped just right, made a squawking sound much like the clucking of a chicken. I recall several occasions in which someone would say something like, “Go outside and turn off the water hose.” I was always eager to help, and just as I would get ready to head out the door, someone would make the table squawk and I would immediately reverse course and (using my best whine) would say, “I can’t, there’s CHICKENS out there!” That would totally ruin my day for sure. At a very young age I developed a love for music. I recall my first “favorite song” as being “Oh, My Papa” by Eddie Fisher. Some of the others were “Baubles, Bangles and Beads,” “Poor people of Paris” and “C’mon to My House.” As years passed and tastes naturally evolved, music played a MAJOR part in my formative years. I think most people can recall a particular song and when it was done. It delivers a certain image, feeling, emotion or memory that fits the song itself. It is usually a very personal memory suited to one’s own frame of reference. Be it a good or bad memory, it is nevertheless there. And so it remains. It seems to me that the age of the music video stole that liberty from those who are younger than 40. As an example, what mental image do you get when you think of “My Girl” by The Temptations? I can’t answer that question for you, because the answer is indigenous only to your memory. But if I ask what comes to mind when you hear “Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson, I suspect your answer would be the Milton Bell as a young lad. video. I could be wrong, but roll the dice and I’m probably correct in most cases. I mention this because as time goes on, I’ll be drawing parallels between certain pieces of music and MY mental images just to place things in proper context chronologically. Does that make any sense? My parents used to do a lot of fishing on the old phosphate dock. Snook, shrimp and crabs were there for the taking. Until I left home at age 17, I never thought one had to pay for seafood. At around age three I couldn’t be trusted to not take a header off the dock and into the water, so my mother used to


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